Exploring the Link Between Alzheimer's Disease and Mental Health Issues

Memory Care Houston

People with Alzheimer’s disease and their families face many serious challenges, which may sometimes include mental health issues. As Alzheimer’s disease becomes progressively more severe, the individual may begin to exhibit unusual changes in personality and behavior, including anxiety, agitation, and perhaps psychosis. It is never easy to see a loved one struggle, but with the mental health care services available at a memory care location, individuals can preserve their quality of life.

Depressive Disorders

Depression affects up to 40% of all individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Depression is particularly common among people in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s. People with depressive disorders may exhibit social withdrawal, apathy, and a lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. In clinical terms, depression may be diagnosed in a person with Alzheimer’s if that person displays a depressed mood or the lack of interest in usual activities for two weeks or longer. Additionally, the person must exhibit two or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Appetite loss or gain
  • Social isolation

Drug-free approaches and medications can both be helpful for improving quality of life in people with depression.

Anxiety Disorders
Memory care providers often work with individuals who develop anxiety disorders. They may become unusually restless, agitated, or upset. In some cases, anxiety may be the result of medication interactions. In others, anxiety is considered to be a complication of Alzheimer’s that is caused by impairment of the ability to process information and stimuli.

Psychosis can be particularly troubling for family caregivers to witness. People with Alzheimer’s may experience hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Hallucinations are false perceptions that are usually visual or auditory in nature, whereas delusions are firm beliefs that are not rooted in reality. When a person in a memory care location displays signs of psychosis, caregivers may consider whether other underlying problems could be causing them. Hallucinations, for example, may be caused by medications, dehydration, or even kidney infections.

The Alzheimer’s support professionals at Avalon Memory Care understand the unique needs of individuals with dementia. We provide compassionate mental health care for people with Alzheimer’s in Dallas, Houston, and Arlington. Contact us at (214) 752-7050 for more information.