Stay calm and don’t argue or try to convince using logic In fact, knowing that you don’t believe them might make them even more upset and agitated. If they’re calm enough to explain, it may also help to understand what they’re seeing. Listen carefully and try to pick up clues to what they’re seeing.
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.
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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.
Generally speaking, the primary treatment for psychosis in the elderly is antipsychotic medications, which can help manage hallucinations and agitation. It’s also often important to supplement medications with environmental support, including both behavioral and social interventions.
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In general, medications are prescribed for specific target symptoms, started at low doses, and titrated gradually. Although buspirone, trazodone, valproic acid, and carbamazepine have been used with some success, antipsychotic medications have been the primary treatment of psychosis in the elderly.
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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.
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.
Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for delusional disorder. It provides a safe environment for patients to discuss their symptoms while encouraging healthier and more functional attitudes and behaviors.
Delusional disorder does not usually lead to severe impairment or change in personality, but delusional concerns may gradually progress.
Hallucinations and delusions are symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
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Psychotic symptoms are common in dementia but usually fade within 6–12 months. Doses of psychiatric medications should therefore be lowered every 3 months to check that continued treatment is necessary.
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: