Anxiety Medications Used in the Elderly With Dementia

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Anxiety Medications Used in the Elderly With Dementia
Medications offer help for elderly people suffering anxiety and dementia (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of lost in translation) (Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic)

Dementia in the elderly is often accompanied by other conditions, including anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Dementia and anxiety may be due to Alzheimer's disease, other disorders or medication side effects.

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Facts

Whether caused by Alzheimer's or another condition, anxiety in elderly people with dementia can be frightening for the patient and difficult for family and caregivers to understand and deal with.

Treatment

Anxiolytics are a class of anti-anxiety medications used to treat anxiety in the elderly with dementia. Anxiolytics work by calming and relaxing the patient, and may be prescribed in conjunction with other medications to relieve anxiety symptoms or slow the progression of dementia.

Medications

Dementia Care Central, a website that provides information for caregivers of people with dementia, lists the following anti-anxiety anxiolytic medications used in the elderly with dementia: lorazepam, buspirone, clonazepam, oxazepam, diazepam and alprazolam.

Side Effects

Anxiolytics can produce side effects such as sleepiness, fainting, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion and difficulty balancing. High doses or interactions with alcohol or other drugs that depress brain function can cause a person to stop breathing.

Warning

According to AARP, there are over 50 conditions that may be confused with dementia or may cause dementia. Before treating any symptoms such as anxiety, it is important to know the cause of the dementia.

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