Depression is a mood disorder that can affect a person’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. In some cases, depression may be linked to dementia, which refers to a set of symptoms that impact a person’s memory, thinking, and social abilities.
For those who are coping with depression and dementia or know someone who is, it is important to be able to identify symptoms and understand the impact of both conditions. It can be dangerous to leave one or both of these conditions undiagnosed, and it is essential and to seek proper support and treatment.
Is Depression Common in Dementia Patients?
Depression has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common causes of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease causes progressive deterioration of brain cells, resulting in continuous cognitive decline and hampering a person’s ability to think independently. It also contributes to memory impairment and makes it difficult for an individual to make judgments and decisions, as well as perform everyday tasks like cooking and getting dressed.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease sometimes mirror those associated with depression. Common symptoms of depression and dementia include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, difficulty sleeping, agitation, fatigue, and experiencing repeated thoughts of death or suicide.
People dealing with Alzheimer’s disease may be more prone than others to withdraw from social activities, much in the same way that individuals coping with depression isolate from others. Additionally, Alzheimer’s disease patients may cry more frequently.
Dementia can affect areas of the brain that control emotions, and if an Alzheimer’s disease patient feels sad, sick, or worried, he or she may be more susceptible to crying. Moreover, if an Alzheimer’s disease patient cries constantly, he or she may be dealing with depression and should review depression treatment options accordingly. However, before an individual can receive treatment for dementia, depression, or both conditions, proper diagnosis is necessary.
How Is Dementia Diagnosed and Treated?
At the first sign of memory problems or other indications of dementia, an individual should consult with a doctor. With proper testing, one can find out if he or she is dealing with dementia or if different symptoms are associated with an underlying medical condition.
Various medical disorders have been linked to dementia, according to Mayo Clinic. These disorders include Huntington’s disease, traumatic brain injury, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Different forms of dementia and dementia-like symptoms are reversible; these include infections, medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, brain tumors, and subdural hematomas.
To provide a dementia diagnosis, a doctor performs different assessments, including cognitive and neuropsychological, neurological, laboratory, and psychiatric evaluations and brain scans. These assessments help a doctor identify a pattern of skills and function loss in a patient, and determine what he or she is able to do independently. A doctor also reviews a patient’s medical history and symptoms and conducts a physical examination of a patient.
If a patient is diagnosed with dementia, initial treatments may include occupational therapy, along with environmental modifications to help a patient minimize the risk of confusion. Lifestyle changes may also be beneficial to a dementia patient, and they may include engaging in activities like painting or gardening, developing and maintaining a calendar, and establishing a bedtime ritual. Although a dementia patient may receive comprehensive care and support, he or she may still experience depression symptoms. At this point, different treatments may be considered to help a dementia patient cope with his or her depression symptoms.
How Is Depression Treated in Dementia Patients?
Antidepressant medications may be prescribed to dementia patients dealing with depression. But these medications deliver varying results. In certain instances, antidepressants help dementia patients manage their depression symptoms. At other times, they cause dizziness, confusion, and other intolerable side effects.
Outside of medication, a doctor may recommend exercise, support groups, and counseling, or some combination of these options to help a dementia patient cope with depression symptoms. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy from Achieve TMS may also help dementia patients manage severe depression.
What Is TMS Therapy for Depression?
TMS therapy is a revolutionary drug-free treatment for severe depression. It is an FDA-approved treatment for depression and involves the use of magnetic pulses that stimulate neurons in the brain to help patients alleviate depression symptoms.
Each TMS treatment session requires approximately 20 minutes to complete. During this time, a patient receives treatment from a certified technician, under the supervision of a licensed mental healthcare provider. Furthermore, no electrical shocks or anesthesia are required during a TMS treatment session, and a patient can resume his or her normal activities immediately following the session.
Recent studies show that 70% of depression patients who received TMS therapy experienced a significant reduction in their depression symptoms. At the time their TMS treatment was completed, 49% of those patients reported no further depression symptoms at all. Functional dementia patients coping with depression may benefit from TMS therapy used on its own or in conjunction with other therapies to help manage their depression symptoms.
Schedule a TMS Therapy Consultation with Achieve TMS
For functional dementia patients or any others coping with severe depression, TMS therapy may provide depression symptom relief. To learn more or to schedule a TMS therapy consultation with Achieve TMS, please contact us online or call us today at 877-285-0822.