Here you will find articles that can help you understand what to expect when living with Alzheimer’s. Whether you were just diagnosed with the disease or you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, this section will help you gain insight into how to manage a debilitating illness coming away with a sense of hope.
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Alzheimer’s Disease - What Is It?
Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative condition that gradually or rapidly destroys a person’s memory and mental faculties. Alzheimer’s may start with confusions or forgetfulness, but can quickly progress to the point where the individual can’t remember the names of friends or loved ones. Friends and family members will undoubtedly notice as the disease causes changes in the person’s demeanor and behavior. They may have difficulty communicating or remembering the right words for objects. It’s upsetting for loved ones to watch, and even more distressing for the person living with Alzheimer’s.
There are many different causes for Alzheimer’s. It’s a genetic condition, which means if you have a relative who has it, you are also at risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease. However, there are measures you can take to prevent it. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are connected. An individual with Alzheimer’s experiences a decline in cognitive functioning because of changes in the brain. Some of these issues are related to memory loss and mental faculties. Alzheimer’s causes dementia, a significant impairment in daily functioning specifically impacting intellectual abilities.
Medication and Treatment
Some medicines can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. These medications and medical interventions can temporarily relieve some of the symptoms. They can help the sufferer live a better life, but is still a progressive disease and there is no cure. An individual may find they can function on their own, without the assistance of family members or a medical aid for an extended period. Despite the benefits of medications, it is imperative that an individual with Alzheimer’s seek medical care so they can be managed for their condition on a regular basis. There are specialists in the disease that can notice changes in the person’s mental and physical states. They are able to help the individual stay as healthy as possible despite living with this chronic and sometimes debilitating condition.
Memory Loss Symptoms
There are several early symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as confusion or memory problems. As the disease progresses, you will start to notice it impact different areas of a person’s life. Here are some memory issues that a person may experience:
- Asking the same questions over and over without recognition of the behavior
- Not recalling important dates, appointments, or obligations
- Forgetting friends and loved ones names
- Misplacing objects often
- Getting lost in places the person has visited many times
- Forgetting the words for common everyday objects
The memory loss symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be troubling for the sufferer and the family members. The person may become frustrated that they can’t remember the names for things, and experience anxiety or depression as a result.
Mental Health Issues from Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s impacts all parts of an individual’s life, including their mental health. When a person forgets their family and friends, it can be devastating. When an individual is desperately trying to find an object and walking in circles for hours, it can make them feel exasperated. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s sometimes can’t be controlled, and that is upsetting to the person afflicted with the condition. Here are some mental health issues that come along with Alzheimer’s.
- Low mood or depression
- Social isolation
- Erratic mood shifts or mood swings
- Paranoia or lack of trust in others
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping patterns change
- Inappropriate public behavior
People who have an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can experience a variety of emotions and might benefit from counseling or therapy. They could feel depressed, anxious, or socially isolated. Talking with a counselor can help them work through these feelings. Online counseling is a great option for these individuals. If the person is struggling with memory loss, they might not be able to remember the physical location of a therapist’s office. They can speak to a counselor in the privacy of their home without the fear of traveling.
When you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or you are a caregiver for someone with the condition, it can be taxing on your mind. You might not have anyone to talk to about your experiences. Online counseling is an excellent place to discuss your emotions and challenges with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
If you want to talk more about Alzheimer’s, whether you have it or have a loved one with the disease, there is an online counselor who will listen. You don’t have to suffer alone. Check out our list of online counselors who want to help you navigate through this severe illness. You are not alone. The counselors at BetterHelp are available to support you.