Common Psychological Conditions
Apathy, depression and anxiety are common conditions experienced by people with dementia. They are known as psychological conditions because they can affect a person’s emotional and mental health.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal feeling that everyone experiences now and again. In
some people, however, these feelings can be very strong and persistent.
This can interfere with a person’s everyday life. Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, such as
anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias and obsessive
Who gets Anxiety or One of the Related Disorders?
About one in 10 people will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in
their lives and many people will have more than one form. Anxiety is substantially more
common in people with dementia than those without.
Why do those with Dementia get Anxiety?
In the early stages of dementia, anxiety may be linked directly to a person’s
worries about their memory and about the future. Changes to the brain, caused by the
dementia, may also lead to anxiety. Anxiety in people living alone has been linked to unmet needs,
including a lack of daytime activities and a lack of company. As dementia
progresses, people become more disorientated and confused, more forgetful and worse
at thinking things through and planning. This constant struggle to make sense of the
world around them can therefore be an underlying cause of anxiety.
How to Manage Anxiety?
People with Dementia and Anxiety benefit from being listened to and reassured. Living in an environment where someone is always available if needed to reassure a person and to make them feel safe is crucial to minimizing feelings of anxiety. Other ways of helping include creating the right environment, so that their living environment is calmer and safer, and they have an improved structure to everyday life. Social Engagement is very important in soothing anxiety. Providing the right activities and encouragement for those with dementia and anxiety has been shown to be very effective. Productive activities include exercise and activities which have meaning for the person.