What Are the Dementia Treatment Options?
Medication: If you receive a diagnosis of dementia, your clinician may recommend that you meet a psychiatrist if they think that it would be helpful to start taking medication.
As leaders in this field, our memory loss consultants stay very much up to date on the latest pharmaceutical developments. This means that they may be able to prescribe new drugs – or combinations of drugs – before they become commonly available on the NHS.
Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors such as Donepezil (Aricept), Rivastigmine (Exelon) and Galantamine (Reminyl) are used to stop the degeneration of a chemical called acetylcholine. People with certain kinds of dementia have low levels of acetylcholine which is used to send messages to nerve cells.
These drugs are often prescribed during the first stages of dementia and up to 70% of people experience decreased symptoms. There are some side effects such as nausea, dizziness and headaches; your prescribing clinician may choose to change the drugs you are prescribed if these side effects are bad.
Memantine (also known as Ebixa) can be prescribed to those in middle to later stages of dementia and is used to protect the brain cells from the effects of a chemical called glutamate which causes cell damage.
There are some side effects to memantine, but normally less that for Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors.
You may also be prescribed antidepressants or antipsychotic medications depending on your symptoms.
Psychosocial and Psychological:A combination of therapies will help the individual cope better with their dementia and enjoy a better quality of life.
- Cognitive stimulation involves taking part in activities and exercises that are designed to improve your memory, problem-solving skills and language ability.
- Reality orientation therapy is a type of therapy that reduces feelings of mental disorientation, memory loss and confusion, while improving feelings of self-esteem.
- Behavioural therapy is used to help treat many of the behavioural problems that are associated with dementia, such as depression, aggression and delusional thinking.
- Behavioural therapy uses a problem-solving approach where possible motivations and reasons for troublesome behaviour are identified. Different strategies are then adopted to try to change that behaviour. Behavioural therapy is usually provided by a carer, who can be a trained friend, relative or an employed carer, supervised by a health professional.
Other beneficial therapies for dementia treatment include physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.
Please call 0203 326 9160 to speak to one of our trained advisors about our dementia help and support.