Behavioral symptoms of dementia
The condition we refer to as "dementia" is more accurately described as a group of symptoms, rather than one particular condition. Dementia affects a number of brain functions, including problem solving, emotional control, personality and more. Often, patients with dementia suffer periodic outbreaks and mood swings that can be very radical and completely different from their normal behavior.
Dementia affects not only the sufferers, but their families as well. It can be difficult to care for people with dementia, as their behavior is often unpredictable and can be hostile. The disease is progressive, so there may come a time when professional help is necessary to help care for a person in the advanced stages of dementia.
There are many different kinds of dementia, such as Alzheimer's or sundowner's syndrome. An especially mysterious form of dementia, sundowner's symptoms occur primarily in the late afternoon or evening. Because of the different conditions, symptoms will vary, but common symptoms of dementia include confusion, forgetfulness and misplacing things; mood swings, personality changes, irritability and even violent outbursts; language difficulties; restlessness; and depression.
Symptoms will also vary from person to person. Some may experience rapid and severe symptom development, while for others the disease moves much more slowly. There is no way to predict how fast symptoms will progress, but early recognition of the symptoms can help in successful treatment.
There is no cure for dementia at present, nor is there any way to stop the disease's progression or reverse the damage it has caused. The only treatment available is that which can help slow down the effects of dementia and manage its symptoms.
Along with medications, various therapies can be beneficial in treating dementia, especially if diagnosis is made in the early stages. Patients can benefit from cognitive exercises and learning to use particular memory tricks such as mnemonics, note-taking and recording.
Treatment will also involve learning to cope with the behavioral symptoms of dementia. Often, encouraging and rewarding positive behavior can be beneficial, while simply ignoring negative behaviors can help the bouts pass faster and recur less frequently.