Finding reason in delusion

George Hunka
EurekAlert

Tel Aviv University research advocates behavior-based treatment as an option for dementia patients.

Dementia — an acute loss of cognitive ability — can be marked by memory loss, decreased attention span, and disorientation. It occurs in severe disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the fact that the condition is common, especially among older persons, there is still a lack of effective treatment.

According to Prof. Jiska Cohen-Mansfield of Tel Aviv University’s Herczeg Institute on Aging and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, dementia sufferers are often prescribed psychotropic drugs to mitigate symptoms such as delusions. But this tactic can cause more harm than good, she says. Many of the delusions experienced by dementia patients may have a rational basis and could be more effectively treated through behavioral therapy than by medications, suggests Prof.Cohen-Mansfield. A better understanding of delusions has direct implications for the care and perception of those who suffer from dementia.

The study, done in collaboration with Prof. Hava Golander of the Department of Nursing and Drs. Joshua Ben-Israel and Doron Garfinkel of the Shoham Medical Center, was published in the journal Psychiatry Research.

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