Alternative Therapy For Dementia
Dementia typically occurs in the elderly and is commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease or a vascular trauma such as a stroke. Treating dementia involves trying to reverse or lessen the symptoms usually through drugs and psychiatric/behavioural therapy. However, many healthcare professionals are looking toward alternative therapy as a way to help treat the symptoms of dementia.
Dementia is characterised as a mental disorder that causes impaired memory and associated symptoms such as language difficulty, loss of recognition, personality changes, difficulty with walking or balance, sleep loss, depression and anxiety. Nearly 70% of dementia cases are due to Alzheimer’s disease but vascular disease, tumours, Parkinson’s, vitamin B deficiency and substance abuse are also contributory factors. Medications are commonly prescribed to dementia sufferers however they can have negative side-effects and also need constant evaluation as the elderly in particular can be sensitive to drugs.
Alternative therapy can provide a non-invasive way of helping to treat dementia without the negative pharmaceutical side-effects.
Helping symptoms of dementia with alternative therapy
A recent research project by a Dutch team using an alternative light therapy has highlighted our natural internal body clock as a way to significantly slow down the onset of dementia. The body’s natural cycle of sleep and wakefulness (known as the circadian rhythm) is disrupted in dementia sufferers and is one of the most difficult aspects of dementia that carers have to cope with. The alternative therapy used a brighter level of daytime lighting in a care home alongside melatonin (a naturally occurring hormone that regulates biological function).
The research team discovered their alternative therapy showed an improvement in patient’s sleep and mood and a decrease in aggressive behaviour. The results have shown a 5% reduction in deterioration. In real terms this can be an extra six months over the course of Alzheimer’s using a non-invasive alternative therapy to traditional treatments such as Aricept (a medicine prescribed to affect the brain’s neurotransmitters). The reduction means patients could spend more time at home rather than be placed in care.
Alternative therapy using nutrition and supplements may slow the progression dementia. Phosphatidylserine supplements can increase levels of memory brain chemicals and antioxidants found in vitamins E and C may protect against the development of dementia. Dietary changes that introduce more essential fatty acids (found in oily fish) may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Alternative therapy that utilises herbs has long been used to boost the body’s systems and can be taken as teas, tinctures or capsules. Ginkgo has shown evidence for treating dementia and research has shown that Lemon balm helped to improve the cognitive function of people with mild Alzheimer’s.
Alternative therapies helping dementia and Alzheimers
Another alternative therapy that uses remedies for treating dementia is homeopathy. Remedies containing alumina, argentum nitricum and silica have helped to improve dementia symptoms of vagueness, irritability and mental deterioration.
Alternative therapy can provide an effective method to help treat the symptoms of dementia alongside conventional practices and continuing care from health professionals and family. Alternative therapy practitioners focus on treating the mind and body to provide a holistic approach that can result in better overall health and well-being and ease the symptoms of dementia.
Article Submitted By
Daniel Alexander, GoToSee Journalist