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How Lewy Body Dementia Increases the Risk of Depression

By Beth Brown, 9:00 am on

Lewy body dementia causes several symptoms such as hallucinations, memory loss, delusions, rigid muscles, and hunched posture. Seniors with Lewy body dementia are often prescribed antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. An early diagnosis is imperative, as it can curb some of the behavioral issues associated with the disease, such as depression.

Causes of Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia is caused when the protein alpha-synuclein folds into neurons incorrectly. These misshapen protein deposits are known as “Lewy bodies,” and little is known about why and how these deposits develop. When there are too many Lewy bodies in the brain, the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and acetylcholine is reduced. When levels of key neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are low, it leads to symptoms like memory loss, impulsivity, mood swings, insomnia, and sadness.

Seniors can reduce depression and other symptoms of dementia through regular socialization and mental stimulation. For families living in Palm Beach, FL, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Connections Between Lewy Body Dementia and Depression

Lewy body dementia has several psychological effects on seniors, causing symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and depression. It can be difficult to treat these conditions, as the drugs used to treat some of the symptoms of the disease can exacerbate other symptoms. For example, antipsychotic drugs can alleviate the psychological effects of Lewy body dementia, but they may also exacerbate muscle rigidity.

Treatment Options for Lewy Body Dementia

People with Lewy body dementia are often prescribed anti-cholinesterase drugs, which can increase the levels of chemical messengers in the brain and minimize the hallucinations. Parkinson’s disease medications such as carbidopa-levodopa may also be prescribed, as they help seniors control their movements. Antidepressants are a popular treatment for seniors experiencing depression, withdrawal, or negative thought patterns. 

Caring for loved one with Lewy body dementia or another form of cognitive decline can be challenging for family members. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Palm Beach, FL, in-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Difficulty of Prescribing Medications

Because of the many facets of Lewy body dementia, it is difficult to find prescriptions that help individuals affected by this disease. Researchers at the University of Exeter have studied the effects of inappropriate medications on people with Lewy body dementia, and they have found that antipsychotic drugs can be particularly detrimental to people with the condition. While these drugs can successfully treat people with other forms of dementia, they can increase the risk of death for people with Lewy body dementia. Seniors with Lewy body dementia should find a doctor who understands the difficulty of treating this disease, and they should try to get diagnosed as early as possible.

Dementia is one of the many health conditions that can make it difficult for seniors to age in the comfort of home. Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Palm Beach, Florida, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. To create a customized at-home care plan for your elderly loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 561.429.8292 today.