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Last Updated December 20, 2013

Alzheimer’s has long been the most common form of dementia, worsening as it progresses. Affecting six million Americans and those more frequently over the age of 65, Alzheimer’s disease requires patience and a long-term care plan both from friends as well as health care practitioners caring for the affected. Recently, the link between those suffering from Alzheimer’s and depression has gained tremendous backing from research, since those suffering from depression are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s or Alzheimer-related diseases. Oftentimes, it is difficult to diagnose those with Alzheimer’s as having depression, and doctors usually rely heavily on nonverbal cues and symptoms that are common to both, such as social withdrawal, a loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed, impaired concentration and memory, and abnormal or deficient sleeping patterns. It is important to note that treatment must begin immediately and typically for the long-run. Antidepressants, support groups, physical exercise, and electroconvulsion therapy are all treatment options available which help ease the cognitive debilitating symptoms of those with depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, there is no known cure or reversal process for those with Alzheimer’s disease, and as previously mentioned, long-term care is most often necessary for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and depression. Reconnecting those affected with activities and people who once brought happiness is vital; celebrate small successes, nurture and reassure, establish a daily routine, and don’t forget to acknowledge your affected loved one and the obstacles they must overcome. Rest assured that the right diagnosis and treatment options are out there.

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