Causes and Treatment of Behavioral Changes

Source: Consultant. 28(1): 43-45, 48. January 1988.

Summary: This article describes Alzheimer's disease as an increasingly common management concern for primary care physicians. Although little can be done for the primary symptoms of the dementing process, the secondary behavioral complications of this illness may be amenable to behavioral or pharmacologic manipulation. Agitation may be responsive to environmental or psychosocial intervention. Treatment with low doses of antidepressants can improve depressive symptoms. Mild anxiety is best treated with emotional support from the family and caregiver. Benzodiazepines can be used with caution. Insomnia can be reduced by encouraging a routine that prevents daytime napping and keeping the patient busy during the day. Pharmacotherapy for disturbed sleep often causes more harm than good and should be avoided if possible. 3 references. (AA-M).

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