Lewy body dementia causes several symptoms, such as hallucinations, memory loss, delusions, rigid muscles, and hunched posture. Seniors with Lewy body dementia are often prescribed antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. An early diagnosis is imperative, as it can curb some of the behavioral issues associated with the disease, such as depression.
Causes of Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia is caused when the protein alpha-synuclein folds into neurons incorrectly. These misshapen protein deposits are known as Lewy bodies, and little is known about why and how these deposits develop. When there are too many Lewy bodies in the brain, the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and acetylcholine is reduced. When levels of key neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine are low, it leads to symptoms such as memory loss, impulsivity, mood swings, insomnia, and sadness.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Clearwater Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Connections between Lewy Body Dementia & Depression
Lewy body dementia has several psychological effects on seniors, causing symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and depression. It can be difficult to treat these conditions, as the drugs used to treat some of the symptoms of the disease can exacerbate other symptoms. For example, antipsychotic drugs can alleviate the psychological effects of Lewy body dementia, but they may also worsen muscle rigidity.
Treatment Options for Lewy Body Dementia
People with Lewy body dementia are often prescribed anti-cholinesterase drugs, which can increase the levels of chemical messengers in the brain and minimize hallucinations. Parkinson’s disease medications such as carbidopa-levodopa may also be prescribed, as they help seniors control their movements. Antidepressants are a popular treatment for seniors experiencing depression, withdrawal, or negative thought patterns.
Caring for a loved one with Lewy body dementia or another form of cognitive decline can be challenging for family members. Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Difficulty of Prescribing Medications
Because of the many facets of Lewy body dementia, it’s difficult to find prescriptions that help individuals affected by this disease. Researchers at the University of Exeter have studied the effects of inappropriate medications on people with Lewy body dementia, and they’ve found that antipsychotic drugs can be particularly detrimental to people with the condition. While these drugs can successfully treat people with other forms of dementia, they can increase the risk of death for people with Lewy body dementia. Seniors with Lewy body dementia should find doctors who understand the difficulty of treating this disease, and they should try to get diagnosed as early as possible.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Clearwater families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.