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Is it dementia or Mental Health?

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Caregivers often find ourselves on the end of trying to explain behaviors and abstract actions, not so much because we don’t know what we see or how a scene plays out; more because we do not want the medical professional to jump in there and try to muddy the waters with a mental health diagnosis. The truth is America has played a long game of hiding mental illness, to the point that now we look the other way, hope to side with a negative behavior which can be controlled with behavior modification. The truth is we need to take a long look at mental health and begin to sort out the illness from the behaviors. We need to do this to break down the costs and get the help that is so needed.

A world wide problem which we need to sort through and fix before we are the patients in need of the care. The projections are there and the need is great. The elderly suffering from a dementia can many times be helped with a change in the atmosphere, setting and techniques used in their care. While the elderly who have suffered from some unusual behaviors and perhaps some bizarre beliefs and actions for a good part of their life are more likely suffering from a mental illness. The treatment for either is hinged on the person’s chronic physical health. Medication is only as good as the way it metabolizes in the person’s system. If the person’s weight goes up and down or the person is really good at ‘palming’ the drug (so that they are only getting a dose of medication now and them) will not fare well in this treatment. At the same time if this is a dementia which is being treated with medications commonly used to treat mental health disorders, will not fare well as the wrong part of the brain is being treated with something to suppress a part of the brain, which may or may not be impaired. www.radiologytechnicianschools.net

Our family members and we deserve to be correctly diagnosed for the symptom. The diagnosis should not be pinned on a matter of making life easier for the caregiver or institutional staff. Dementias can be dealt with very well with the modification in the surroundings if there is appropriate staffing levels and a correct diagnosis. We do not want our family or ourselves treated as though we have a mental health disorder; when in truth we have a dementia, some of which can be corrected by proper hydration, correct dosage of medications frequently used to treat the elderly (B-12 or Synthroid, to name a couple) or due to a UTI or an early pneumonia. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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