Alternative Therapy for Reducing Agitation in Dementia

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Alternative Therapy for Reducing Agitation in Dementia

Agitation is one of the most distressing and misunderstood symptoms of dementia. It causes considerable distress for patients, caregivers and medical professionals alike. In some cases, antipsychotic medications may be prescribed; however these drugs often come with serious side effects which many families are not aware of.

Fortunately, non-drug options can help reduce agitation in people with dementia. These include altering the environment, adding physical activity into daily life, including music into your routine and offering massage and touch therapy as a comfort measure.

The initial step to relieving agitation is recognizing and managing behavior triggers. This requires getting to know your loved one better and understanding their preferred methods of expression. Additionally, they may need occasional breaks or changes of scenery for mental wellbeing.

Another step is to assemble a multidisciplinary team of experts who can offer guidance in developing and practicing non-drug approaches. This might include a psychiatrist who weighs the risks and benefits of drugs, a geriatrician to optimize your loved one’s care, or an occupational therapist who could modify living environments or daily activities.

Other non-drug therapies for treating agitation include herbal medicine, aromatherapy and exercise. Some herbs have been known to soothe agitation or irritability while others help reduce depression or anxiety levels.

Studies have demonstrated that acupuncture may help people with dementia manage their anxiety and stress more effectively. Some even report feeling calming, possibly leading to better sleep quality.

Medical plant extracts have long been studied for their potential to relieve anxiety and memory loss. Huperzine A, for instance, was demonstrated to improve memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Alternative therapy is becoming an increasingly important area of research and treatment for dementia. Unfortunately, despite the growing list of potential treatments, scientific evidence on many of them remains weak.

Some of the most popular alternative treatments for agitation and aggression in dementia include acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, exercise and meditation. Many of these methods can be learned at home and may be more successful when used early on.

Acupuncture is a centuries-old Chinese medicinal practice that has been used for centuries to treat various illnesses. Not only does it improve agitation and promote relaxation, but studies have also demonstrated its ability to relieve pain, elevate moods and reduce stress levels.

Massage is an ancient healing art that utilizes touch to relax the body and promote mental wellbeing. A trained professional applies pressure to stimulate nerves and muscles with their hands, creating a calming effect on both body and mind.

Yoga is another relaxing form of exercise. In yoga, a person moves slowly from pose to pose while focusing on breathing and feeling the movements in their body. Through this type of activity, people tend to pay more attention to their environment and engage socially with others.

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