Dementia is becoming a serious problem as in the future more and more people will get this syndrome. As a psychologist I work a lot on the Psycho geriatric departments in my hospital and I know what Dementia can do to the person itself but also to his family and friends. The most striking difficulties people have with Dementia are the Dementia hallucinations and delusions. For most people the difference between hallucinations and delusions is not always clear. A hallucination is when someone sees or hears things, like persons or animals, that are not there. They actually see people walking like their past away mother or a strange scary man. A delusion is when someone says his mother is still alive when they are actually dead but is not seeing her.
Dementia comes with hallucinations and delusions. The delusions are seen frequently when people are getting more cognitive impaired. Hallucinations are not that frequently seen in Dementia but sometimes they are. Dealing with them is very hard for the person but also for the family and friends of the demented person.
As stated, hallucinations are not frequently seen in most types of Dementia. Sometimes it is seen in the latter stages of Alzheimer disease but it is seen most in Lewy body Dementia. Almost 10% of all demented people have lewy body Dementia. With this disease, there are strange cells forming in the brain area and these cells or bodies are called Lewy bodies. These cells will interfere with the normal functioning of the brain which results into a variety of symptoms like tremor, slow thinking and visual hallucinations. At first these people are sometimes misdiagnosed with Parkinson disease as these diseases look alike. The striking thing about Lewy body is that he person his intellect stays intact. You can recognize a demented person with lewy body because he looks lost and is agitated. He is walking a lot and trying to tell stories that he can not remember. He is highly distracted and sees dementia hallucinations very often.
You can not suppress these hallucinations completely, but some medications will give good results. Haldol will most of the times give good results on hallucinations in Alzheimer disease. Haldol is not appropriate in Lewy body because it has the opposite effect. In lewy body Seroquel and Sinemet (Parkinson medication) have showed good results. Lewy body is not the only type of dementia where hallucinations are seen. As stated before in this article, they are also seen in Alzheimer disease only a little bit different. Where in Lewy body people can see other person’s walking around that are not there, people with Alzheimers see smaller things like bugs crawling on their self. This is one of the reasons why they are picking at themselves, they are often remove little bugs. Strangely enough they are not threatening to the person.
In this article I tried to explain what Dementia hallucinations and what the difference is between hallucinations and delusions. These two symptoms are maybe the hardest to deal with for the demented person and his family.