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Does Dementia Cause Mood Swings

Managing Changes In Sexual Behaviours And Intimacy

Dementia: Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis â Psychiatry | Lecturio

If sexual demands change, the carer may have to keep safely out of the way until there is a mood change. Some partners complain of feeling like an object. Once the person with dementia has had sex or sexual contact, they may immediately forget what has occurred.

On the other hand, carers can feel hurt and bewildered if their partner loses interest in intimacy.

To manage changes in sexual behaviours try to:

  • Consider all the possible reasons for the inappropriate behaviour. These could include needing to go to the toilet, discomfort or boredom.
  • Gently discourage inappropriate behaviour.
  • Remain focused on the person, not the behaviour.
  • Distract the person if possible or redirect them to another activity.
  • Find ways to include different forms of touch in the everyday routine, so that the person gets some physical contact. Massage, holding hands and embracing are ways of continuing to provide loving touch.

Alzheimers Care Challenges: Handling Dementia & Anger

Handling anger is one of the biggest challenges when caring for a person whos suffering from Alzheimers or another form of dementia. While almost everybody shows some form of aggression every now and again, Alzheimers and dementia can make anger issues much worse or develop anger issues in people who previously had none. Studies show that anger issues generally worsen the more severe an Alzheimers or dementia sufferers condition becomes.

Managing anger in dementia sufferers can be difficult. It may often mean reacting against your first instincts, but proper anger and dementia strategies can make care much easier for loved ones and caregivers alike.

Causes Of Mood Swings

A wide range of factors are responsible for worsening the problem of mood swings, this makes it further difficult to understand underlying reasons for frequent transitions in the behavior of a person.

Hormonal Imbalances

Adolescents and women undergo major hormonal changes which impact them physically as well as mentally. The imbalanced release of hormones can cause a significant chemical change in the human brain, leading to extreme mood fluctuations. Women are more prone to mood fluctuations as they experience more hormonal fluctuations as compared to male counterparts.

For example, during the menstrual cycle, within a span of two weeks level of estrogen and progesterone in females changes drastically. This further leads to significant changes in the level of serotonin in females body causing rapid mood fluctuations. Similarly, a low level of progesterone and estrogen during menopause cause a sharp decline in the production of serotonin , which leads to menopause induced depressions in females.

Substance-Induced Mood Disorder

Other Mental Health Problems

Mental health problems are majorly unidentified and left untreated due to lack of understanding. However, poor mental health can lead to a problem of mood disorders, which are extremely difficult to handle. The commonly observed mood disorders that can cause frequent mood swings are:

Poor Diet and Improper Sleep Cycle

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Management Of Aggression In Dementia

  • activity and exercise to help prevent some outbursts
  • approaching the person slowly and in full view
  • explaining what is going to happen in short, clear statements such as Im going to help you take your coat off
  • checking if the aggressive behaviour is about getting what the person wants if so, trying to anticipate their needs may help.

What Is The Treatment For Symptoms And Complications Of Dementia

Can Bright Light Therapy Help Mood &  Agitation in Those ...

Some symptoms and complications of dementia can be relieved by medical treatment, even if no treatment exists for the underlying cause of the dementia.

  • Behavioral disorders may improve with individualized therapy aimed at identifying and changing specific problem behaviors.
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts may be treated with mood-stabilizing drugs.
  • Agitation and psychosis may be treated with antipsychotic medication or, in some cases, anticonvulsants.
  • Seizures usually require anticonvulsant medication.
  • Sleeplessness can be treated by changing certain habits and, in some cases, by taking medication.
  • Bacterial infections require treatment with antibiotics.
  • Dehydration and malnutrition may be treated with rehydration and supplements or with behavioral therapies.
  • Aspiration, pressure sores, and injuries can be prevented with appropriate care.

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Changes In Behaviour Judgement And Moods

Becoming quiet, withdrawn or restless or frustrated or angry can be early signs of dementia. Someone may develop repetitive behaviour for example, they ask the same question over and over again, do the same thing repeatedly or make multiple phone calls to the same person. They may become insecure and anxious or start hiding and losing items. They may withdraw from social activities or give up hobbies and interests they have enjoyed.

They may show poor judgement, for example putting summer clothes on in cold winter months, not knowing when a kettle is full or overfilling cups when making cold and hot drinks, putting a kettle on the hob or leaving a cooker on or tap running. Someone with dementia may become very emotional and experience rapid mood swings or become quieter and less emotional than usual.

Early Symptoms Of Dementia

Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia include:

  • memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
  • increasing confusion
  • apathy and withdrawal or depression
  • loss of ability to do everyday tasks.

Sometimes, people fail to recognise that these symptoms indicate that something is wrong. They may mistakenly assume that such behaviour is a normal part of the ageing process. Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.

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Starting The Conversation When Your Loved One Struggles With Mood Changes

Im excited about the family reunion tomorrow, Mom, instead of The family reunion starts tomorrow, Mom, we need to pick out your dress, do your nails and get your hair done.Would you like oatmeal or cream of wheat today for breakfast?Mom, Im sorry I rushed you during yourRead More

Helping Your Loved One

Behavior and mood symptoms in Lewy body dementia

The mood changes experienced with Alzheimers or another form of dementia can be challenging for caregivers. Rather than taking their moods and related behaviors personally, remember that your loved one is not directing them at you theyre caused by the disease.

Mood and personality changes are just one of seven early signs of Alzheimers disease. Learn about the others, as well as next steps if your loved one is showing these signs, in our helpful tip sheet, 7 Early Signs of Alzheimers Disease.


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Play Music Or Exercise

Sundowning is a term that refers to a sudden change of mood that usually affects a person with mid or late-stage dementia. It usually occurs late in the afternoon or early evening when the sun goes down. The person is tired or feeling restless. They may need to go for a walk to work off any excess energy. See if you can find any activities to distract them. Put on their favourite CD or talk to them about their favourite hobby or subject.

Are Early Signs Of Dementia Obvious

Changes in a person in the early stages of dementia can be so gradual they can often be mistaken for normal ageing. Because dementia affects people in different ways, symptoms may not always be obvious. In fact, failure to recognise early signs often leads to people not being diagnosed for several years.

So what to look for? Perhaps someone you care for is struggling to remember what they did yesterday and forgets the names of friends or everyday objects. They may have difficulty following conversations or TV programmes, repeat things over and over, or have problems thinking or reasoning. They may feel angry, anxious or depressed about memory loss or feel confused even in a familiar environment.

The healthtalk website presents a range of carers experiences of identifying the early signs of dementia. One carer put it this way.

The first stage is not recognisable I think, or certainly wasnt recognisable as far as I was concerned initially . I was certainly not understanding… the fact that my wife was at the beginning of a serious problem, a serious mental health problem. Because I was with my wife continuously, I think I was less likely to recognise some of the changes that were taking place than people who saw her less regularly.

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What To Do Next After Learning What Stage Of Alzheimers Disease Your Loved One Is In

As mentioned, learning about the stage of Alzheimers disease that a loved one is experiencing helps provide perspective and context. This knowledge makes it easier to have conversations with doctors about the patients condition and how to approach future treatment options. Understanding the later stages of the disease also helps when planning for lifestyle changes, new equipment, and other items that may be needed. One of the other major benefits in understanding the overall progression of Alzheimers disease is preparing for future living arrangements, such a memory care community, that could become a preferred option during later stages of the disease. Because the cost of dementia care is high, families should begin planning as soon as possible following a diagnosis.

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What Is The Life Expectancy For A Person With Dementia

What Helps With Dementia Mood Swings?

The outlook for most types of dementia is poor unless the cause is an early recognized reversible condition. Irreversible or untreated dementia usually continues to worsen over time. The condition usually progresses over years until the person’s death. Life expectancy after diagnosis averages about 8-10 years with a range from about 3-20 years.

Making decisions about end-of-life care is important.

  • The earlier in the disease these issues are discussed, the more likely the person with dementia will be able to express his or her wishes about medical care at the end of life.
  • The issues may be presented by your health care professional. If not, ask about them.
  • These issues include use of aggressive interventions and hospital care, artificial feeding, and medical treatment for medical illnesses.
  • These issues should be discussed by family members and decisions made about how to deal with them when the time comes.
  • The decisions should be documented in the person’s medical records.

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When Dementia And Alcoholism Leads To Wernicke

One syndrome of dementia and alcoholism is called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome or WKS. This syndrome is really two disorders that occur both independently and together. The two disorders are Wernickes encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome or Korsakoff psychosis.

Wernickes encephalopathy involves abnormal eye movements, unsteady gait, and confusion. At the same time, alcohol is not a direct cause of this syndrome as much as brain cell damage. Thiamine deficiency or Vitamin B1 deficiency is common with dementia and alcoholism due to a poor diet.

Preventing And Handling Anger In Alzheimers Care

The more you are able to understand your loved ones aggressive triggers, the easier it will become to avoid those triggers and prevent anger outbursts. That said, it isnt always possible to avoid certain triggers. Because of this, it is important that you know how best to handle outbursts of anger, including both verbal and physical aggression.

Here are some guidelines for managing anger outbursts in Alzheimers care recipients:

  • If you can determine the cause of their distress, see if it is possible to alleviate or solve the issue. This can stop an issue from becoming worse, and often helps dispel their anger.
  • Avoid physical contact and NEVER react to violence with force, unless your personal safety or the safety of someone else is threatened. Trying to take physical control of a dementia sufferer often increases their anger and aggression.
  • Use a calm tone of voice and avoid outward displays of distress, upset, anger, or fear. These signs are often detected by the angry person and will likely make their own distress and agitation worse.
  • If possible, remove yourself from the room or situation. Give yourself and the person time to calm down. This will make it easier for you to react and may defuse or dispel their anger.
  • Be kind and reassuring at all times. Do not attempt to argue or reason with the person. Instead, be sympathetic and accepting of their anger and frustration.

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Why Dementia Can Affect Moods And Personality

If you are caring for a person with dementia, you may have noticed they might have become more agitated and frustrated of late. They may be subject to mood swings and may display anger or aggression seemingly for no apparent reason. You may have accepted that this is simply the case and learned to modify your own behaviour around them to create less conflict , but it can be helpful to know why this is happening.

To understand more about the causes behind challenging behaviour, it can be useful to learn a little about the brain and how it functions. The brain is divided into four sections, called lobes:

  • The frontal lobe controls thinking, memory, behaviour and movement.
  • The occipital lobe controls sight and as the condition develops, the person can struggle to recognize subjects and objects .
  • The parietal lobe controls language and touch.
  • The temporal lobe controls hearing, learning and feelings.

Other areas of the brain that are affected by dementia include the hippocampus , and the amygdala .

When you see how the different lobes influence our abilities, and you appreciate how they need to work together to perform complex tasks, you can start to understand why dementia can have such an impact on a persons behaviour and mood.

Things not to do with a person with dementia:

Ultimately, when you understand what is going on in the brain and why its affected by dementia, its easier to manage the symptoms and care for your loved one.

Stages Of Alzheimers Disease

What is dementia?

The following is an excerpt from our upcoming ebook, Living Well with Alzheimers Disease, available for free on our website on November 1, 2013. This chapter outlines the stages of Alzheimers in a couple different ways.

There are several systems by which professionals gauge Alzheimers stages. Because each brain is unique, the progression of the disease varies from person to person which symptoms appear first, the progression of symptoms, and the length of each stage. Because of individual variations in the progression of AD, many professionals use loose terms to define Alzheimers disease stages: mild or early, moderate or middle, severe or late, and end of life. Another system breaks it down further into seven Alzheimers stages based on the amount of cognitive decline. Below is a chart describing how the two systems compare:

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How Can Family Support Someone With Dementia And Alcoholism

No matter what type of alcohol-related dementia your loved one struggles with, family support is crucial in their daily life. Quitting alcohol by yourself is very challenging. With family support, a person is more likely to have a lasting recovery.

Adding the struggles of alcohol-related dementia means family support is even more important. Family members can help in the following ways.

  • Provide them transportation to support groups and therapy for alcoholism

Early And Middle Stages Of Vascular Dementia

Some symptoms may be similar to those of other types of dementia. Memory loss is common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but is not usually the main early symptom of vascular dementia.

The most common cognitive symptoms in the early stages of vascular dementia are:

  • problems with planning or organising, making decisions or solving problems
  • difficulties following a series of steps
  • slower speed of thought
  • problems concentrating, including short periods of sudden confusion.

A person in the early stages of vascular dementia may also have difficulties with:

  • memory – problems recalling recent events
  • language – eg speech may become less fluent
  • visuospatial skills – problems perceiving objects in three dimensions.

As well as these cognitive symptoms, it is common for someone with early vascular dementia to experience mood changes, such as apathy, depression or anxiety. Depression is common, partly because people with vascular dementia may be aware of the difficulties the condition is causing. A person with vascular dementia may also become generally more emotional. They may be prone to rapid mood swings and being unusually tearful or happy.

Need advice on managing behaviour changes?

Read our top tips for managing and reducing out of character behaviour.

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Is There Testing For Alcohol

Several medical exams are performed to diagnose alcohol-related dementia. Some doctors may insist a person stop drinking before doing these exams, but most doctors do not.

Doctors will examine the nervous and muscular systems. They look for abnormal eye movement, increased pulse, and muscle weakness. Blood work is also typically done to check nutrition levels.

Be Understanding Rather Than Confrontational

Helping a Friend or Loved One Suffering from Alzheimer

You may have to call upon deep reserves of patience when caring for someone with Alzheimers. The illness can make people angry and argumentative. If your grandmother seems irritated, dont take it personallyits the disease talking. Instead, acknowledge her frustration and dont try to correct her if she has facts wrong. For example, if shes upset about a relative not coming to visit but the relative died some years ago, simply acknowledge that you know how much she cares for that person. The goal is to support and recognize her reality and emotions, no matter how out of place they may seem.

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Struggling To Adapt To Change

For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience can cause fear. Suddenly, they cant remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They cant remember why they went to the store, and they get lost on the way home.

Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences. Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early dementia.


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