When Alzheimer’s Patients See Things That Aren’t There
As if an Alzheimer’s diagnosis isn’t awful enough, a certain percentage of patients experience hallucinations in the later stages of the disease, making it vital for caregivers to understand the situation and how to handle it.
Continue reading for important information on what’s happening to your loved one and how you can help them through what can be a very difficult and reoccurring experience.
WHY HALLUCINATIONS HAPPEN
According to Alzheimer’s Association, “Hallucinations are false perceptions of objects or events involving the senses. These false perceptions are caused by changes within the brain that result from Alzheimer’s…” So it is the very underpinnings of the disease, mainly memory and cognitive function loss, that are to blame for the hallucinations — in most cases. There are other possible culprits that are worth investigation with your loved one’s primary care physician. Those include:
- Eyesight or hearing problems
- Medication side effects
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Physical issues, including kidney or bladder infections, dehydration, and intense pain
No matter the suspected cause, it is necessary to schedule an appointment with the patient’s physician immediately after the onset of hallucinations. While non-drug approaches are always the preferred method of treatment, it may be necessary to pursue a course of medication, in order to keep the patient calm during this potentially traumatic experience.