What Depression Looks Like to Those with Alzheimer’s Disease

elderly man depressedPeople living with Alzheimer’s disease don’t just experience difficulty in remembering things. It is also common for patients, especially those in the early and middle stage of the illness, to experience depression. This only makes it important to provide the right care, treatment, and assistance that can help improve the way they live.

Studies suggest that about 40% of people living with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from significant depression. Feelings of depression usually come in when patients experience trouble in remembering things or forget how to function on their own. Depression only intensifies the problem, as it can make it difficult for patients to enjoy life.

Symptoms of Depression in Those with Alzheimer’s

Senior Helpers and other Alzheimer’s care centers note that the symptoms of depression in those with the said illness are different from those without memory problems. There are cases that the symptoms may come and go, and those with Alzheimer’s are less likely to think or talk about suicide.

The symptoms of depression to those with serious memory issues include:

  • Isolation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Impaired thinking
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Apathy
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Sleep disruption

Treatment for Depression

It is seldom helpful to simply tell those suffering from Alzheimer’s and depression to snap out or it to cheer up. The same is also true for those with depression without serious memory problems. Aside from support and reassurance, professional help is also essential. Common treatments for depression in Alzheimer’s may include a combination of counseling and medication.

Here are a few other recommendations that could help:

  • Regular exercise. If possible, it is important to encourage patients to engage in a regular physical activity, especially in the morning. This can help them stay fit, as well as relieve some symptoms of depression.
  • Participation in hobbies and activities. Active participation in social activities and other hobbies can help reduce loneliness and social isolation.
  • Antidepressants. A loved one’s healthcare provider may prescribe antidepressants, but do note that this is only for treating depression and not dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

If a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and depression, it is only important to learn more about care options and treatment available. Contacting an Alzheimer’s care center or expert is also advisable, especially for families who need a helping hand in taking care of a loved one.