Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic brain disease and most common form of dementia that gradually wipes off an individual’s memory, intellectual abilities and personality. A cognitive disorder that is caused by a reduction in the amount of acetylcholine, which helps the brain with memory.
When Alzheimer sets in, it brings about problems in learning new things. This graduates to the impairment of the ability to think, or to perform normal basic routine.
Several Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) such as the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are now being recognized as core features of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which normally occur in middle to old age adults.
Several research carried out on people with Alzheimer’s diseases have led to the discovery of good number of symptoms such as:
- Apathy, characterized by motivational deficits such as loss of goal-directed cognition and emotion.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Loss of independence.
- Appetite disturbance.
Dr Peter Passmore, a senior lecturer at the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast; said symptoms associated with Alzheimer can be placed into two broad categories i.e.
- Cognitive symptoms, such as defects in memory and understanding.
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- Behavioral and psychological symptoms, such as agitation, aggression, wandering and hallucinating.
How does Alzheimer’s happen?
Alzheimer’s disease begins by altering communications among the never cells in the brain that are responsible for learning. It changes the tissue of the brain and kills the nerve cells. Thus, the brain shrinks, and the damage spreads (NIH Senior Health, 2012).
Study found out that the time between diagnosis and death ranges from seven to 10 years. And thus, early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is imperative as its helps in preventing further distressing symptoms.
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According to the study conducted at University of Eastern Finland by Psychologist Ilona Hallikainen and Professor, Psychologist Tuomo Hänninen; ‘persons diagnosed at the very start of the Alzheimer’s disease and underwent therapy are better able to manage their everyday activities than persons diagnosed at a more advanced phase of the disease’
Encyclopedia of Psychology: 8 Volume Set. Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief.
Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms in Alzheimer’s Disease: Xiao-Ling Li BioMed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 927804
The Journal of Quality Research in Dementia, Issue 1. Dr Peter Passmore.