Treatment

The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms of dementia. Treatment depends on the condition causing the dementia. Treatment option may include:

  • Some people may need to stay in the hospital for a short time.
  • Stopping or changing medications that make confusion worse may improve brain function.
  • There is growing evidence that some kinds of mental exercises can help dementia.

Treating conditions that can lead to confusion often greatly improve mental functioning. Such conditions include:

  • Anemia
  • Decreased oxygen (hypoxia)
  • Depression
  • Heart failure
  • Infections
  • Nutritional disorders
  • Thyroid disorders

Medications may be needed to control behavior problems caused by a loss of judgment, increased impulsivity and confusion. Possible medications include:

  • Antipsychotics (haloperidol, risperdal, olanzapine)
  • Mood stabilizers (fluoxetine, imipramine, citalopram)
  • Serotonin-affecting drugs (trazodone, buspirone)
  • Stimulants (methylphenidate)

Certain drugs may be used to slow the rate at which symptoms worsen. The benefit from these drugs is often small, and patients and their families may not always notice much of a change.

  • Donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), galantamine (Razadyne, formerly called Reminyl)
  • Memantine (Namenda)

A person's eyes and ears should be checked regularly. Hearing aids, glasses, or cataract surgery may be needed.

Psychotherapy or group therapy usually does not help because it may cause more confusion.
 

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