National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month: Facts to know when Alzheimer’s and depression occur together

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month: Facts to know when Alzheimer’s and depression occur together

When we talk about Alzheimer’s disease, depression can be a natural part of it. It has been found that having depression is quite common in cases of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early and middle stages. As the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and depression are similar, distinguishing the two can be difficult even for a doctor. When both diseases are present, a patient may find it easier to cope with Alzheimer’s symptoms when they are less depressed.

The “National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month” is observed every year in November to raise awareness among the people about the disease. However, it is also important to know that depression can frequently accompany Alzheimer’s, making life difficult. This article discusses different aspects of both the problems and possible cures.

Symptoms of depression and Alzheimer’s

Both Alzheimer’s and depression have the following common symptoms:

  • Lack of interest in once-enjoyable activities and hobbies
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Memory problems
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns, too much or too little sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating

To find out whether a person with Alzheimer’s has depression, the following first two symptoms should be prevalent along with any two others within a two-week period.

  • Highly depressed mood – sadness, hopelessness, discouragement
  • Reduced enjoyment in or response to social contacts and general activities
  • Isolation or withdrawal from social functions
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Sleeping  too long or too little
  • Agitation or lethargy
  • Irritability

Depression in Alzheimer’s disease can be different too

People with Alzheimer’s and depression can experience depression differently from those who don’t have both conditions. For example, people who have Alzheimer’s disease may:

  • Have less severe depression symptoms
  • Sometimes experience depression episodes that last for a shorter period   or recur frequently
  • Be less likely speak of suicide or attempt suicide

Scientists have not been able to find the exact relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and depression. The biological changes that are brought about by Alzheimer’s may increase the manifestation of depression symptoms. Inversely, depression can increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

However, it is proven that depression affects the quality of life of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Depression can result in loss of some cognitive skills, increased disability pertaining to daily living skills and enhanced dependence on caregivers and supporters

Treatment for depression in Alzheimer’s

The general treatment for depression in Alzheimer’s encompasses a combination of medicine, counseling and a gradual return to a social life. Depression is vastly different from just a sad mood and requires therapy and medication as a part of treatment. There are some non-medication approaches to treat depression, but to apply them, the depressed person needs a lot of support and external help. Exercising regularly, enjoying pleasurable activities, doing meditation or yoga are some of the non-drug approaches that can be applied.

Several types of antidepressants are also available to treat depression. The Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressants, such as citalopram (Celexa) and sertraline (Zoloft) are commonly used for people with Alzheimer’s and depression as these medications have a lower risk of having interactions with other medications offered for Alzheimer’s. These may have limited effects and other antidepressants, such as venlafaxine (Effexor XR) or bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin, others) may also be used.

As with any other medication, it is important to make sure to be aware of the risks and benefits, as well as what type of monitoring and follow-up will be needed. These issues should be discussed with a physician to find a mutually agreeable option for treating depression along with Alzheimer’s.

Treatment for depression is must

When depression is present with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to treat both conditions. Professional services, such as those offered by depression rehab centers in Arizona may be helpful.

To get the best treatment for depression in Arizona, you can chat online with the representatives at the Arizona Depression Helpline. They can guide you to proper diagnosis and screening of the disorder along with customized depression treatment programs in Arizona. You may also call the 24/7 helpline number (866)-233-3895 to get quickest possible help in Arizona.