Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Understanding and Managing Mood Swings in People with Alzheimer's (part 1 of 2)

Alzheimer's is a dreaded disease, primarily because it is irreversible and tends to progress gradually.  Although it is more common among people in their senior years, it can also affect people in their 40s and 50s.  There are even some patients who are still in their 30s.  Alzheimer's is a problematic disease because it is characterized by a decline in perception, language skills, memory and physical functions.  It can also lead to mood swings, something that does not only affect the individual himself but also the people around them.

Growing older
Contrary to what some people believe, Alzheimer's Disease is not really the result of aging.  However, people who age are at a higher risk of developing it.  Already, around 10% of the people over 65 living in the U.S. have Alzheimer's and half of those who are 85 years old and older may already have the disease.

Mood swings in Alzheimer's
Patients with Alzheimer's disease experience some very difficult mental, emotional and even physical challenges.  Although gradual, the onset of the disease may appear as memory loss and a decline in certain cognitive abilities.  In its early stages, the symptoms could appear mild.  However, over time the disease progresses and patients may begin suffering more intense and more prolonged bouts in mood swings.

The reason behind this can be attributed to the feelings of frustration and agitation that patients with Alzheimer's experience as a result of the symptoms they begin to suffer from.  For example, a patient trying to remember a simple thing – someone's name, his home address, a task that used to be automatic – can cause him to feel anger and annoyance.

As the disease progresses, so will the incidences and the severity of the symptoms.  The result: mood swings.

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