How do I deal with delusions?
Delusions (firmly held beliefs in things that are not real) may occur in middle- to late-stage Alzheimer’s. Confusion and memory loss — such as the inability to remember certain people or objects — can contribute to these untrue beliefs.
Do not confirm or feed into the delusion by asking questions about it when the person is not in psychosis. For example: NEVER ask, “How’s the CIA today?” when the person is well. Identify what might be the central topic. Identify the main feeling and/or tone of the delusion.
The most common causes of delirium in the elderly are the use of prescription medications (up to 40% of cases) and infection. Other medical causes, as well as alcohol and sedative-hypnotic intoxication and withdrawal, can also result in delirium.
The authors of this review article also note that it’s common for older adults to have vision and hearing problems, both of which can trigger or worsen delusions and hallucinations.
Environmental/psychological. Evidence suggests that delusional disorder can be triggered by stress. Alcohol and drug abuse also might contribute to the condition. People who tend to be isolated, such as immigrants or those with poor sight and hearing, appear to be more vulnerable to developing delusional disorder.
People with Lewy body dementia, in fact, often have hallucinations early and then, as they enter the middle stages, the hallucinations will go away completely as other symptoms, like problems walking, get worse.
When someone afflicted with an untreated mental illness experiences a delusion, they’re by-and-large incapable of recognizing they’re experiencing a delusion. If you encounter someone experiencing a clinical delusion, feeding into their delusion will only give them more reason to think their beliefs are justified.
When speaking to someone who has delusional disorder, be conscious of tone and word choice. Try to come across as non-confrontational and calm, expressing concern as a form of opinion, rather than judgement. It is best to talk to your loved one about your concern when they are not in the midst of their delusion.
Persecutory delusion This is the most common form of delusional disorder. In this form, the affected person fears they are being stalked, spied upon, obstructed, poisoned, conspired against or harassed by other individuals or an organization.
In simple terms, psychosis is when a person misinterprets reality. These types of conditions involve perceptions or interpretations of your environment which are impaired, like false beliefs, disorganized speech, hallucinations, and other irrational behavior.
How to Take Care of Elderly Parents with Mental Illness
The following five tips are more effective ways to manage a person with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia when they are experiencing hallucinations and delusions:
Symptoms of dehydration can include headaches, lethargy and hallucinations. In extreme cases, dehydration may result in death.
If left untreated, delusional disorder may progress to develop life-long illness. Common complications of delusional disorder include depression, violence and legal problems, and isolation.