Alzheimer's Disease Research Paper

Submitted By londonngirl94
Words: 2342
Pages: 10

The chosen mental health condition to be discussed in this essay is Alzheimer's Disease, this is a disease which is highly relevant in society today. This essay will begin with a brief definition of the condition including signs and symptoms sufferers will endure , it will then follow on to identify how this condition can effect caregivers and families of sufferers also. It will also look at key issues concerning the condition such as key policies involved, treatment/ prevention plans and the epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of Dementia a term which is used to describe cognitive and intellectual deterioration (Gelder, et al, 2012, pg333-337); it has been chosen for this essay specifically as it is the most common type of Dementia which service users suffer from (Blennow, 2006). Alzheimer’s is a physical disease affecting the brain which over time alters a person’s memory, thinking and behaviour severely causing difficulties with everyday living (NICE) causing them to . It is a disease which continues to damage different areas of the brain causing symptoms to become more aware and serious to an individual’s everyday living as suffers may begin to develop different behaviour manifestation such as aphasia, sleeping difficulties and wandering. It was first described by the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer in 1950 (Khachaturian, 2007). Alzheimer’s cannot be definitely confirmed in a service user until an autopsy is carried out after their death there are a number of signs and symptoms which may lead to a person being diagnosed with the disease. Alzheimer not only effects the individual but also their family and care givers.

When a service user suffers from Alzheimer’s disease there are several signs and symptom which may begin to present themselves, these include cognitive and functional impairments (Gelder, et al, 2012), neuropsychiatric symptoms and other behavioural manifestations. It is important to remember that rates of which symptoms get worse can differ between different people. Although the signs can be broken down into 7 stages it also possible to assess the severity of an individual's Alzheimer's by categorising symptoms into mild, moderate and severe stages according to The Alzheimer’s Society(2013. Stages can vary from mild, moderate and severe. The three stages of the Alzheimer's disease model are known as Mild/Early , Moderate/Middle and Severe/Late. The severity of these signs and symptom can differ between individuals and can also develop at different levels as the disease progresses. (Reitz, 2011). This can make it difficult to notice early on. According to Gelder, et al , (2012) the most common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can be categorised into two, cognitive and behavioural. The cognitive symptoms can include impaired thinking and memory, disorientation and confusion, as well as problems with reasoning and thinking. Behavioural signs and symptoms can include difficulties with performing basic everyday tasks, agitation, delusions, depression, hallucinations, changes in sleeping patterns and wandering.

In earlier stages of the condition sufferers may begin to have minor memory loss , at the middle stage, sufferers can begin to have difficulties carrying out everyday tasks and become very forgetful at this stage symptoms become more obvious( Gelder, et al , 2012). . At the severe stage individuals do not have the ability to carry out simple everyday tasks as well as being dependant on others for this. The individual will be unable to speak logically and can begin to suffer from malnutrition and dehydration as a lack of an ability to feed them self or to even remember to eat and drink. Individuals at this stage can become incontinent and will need help with going to the toilet and general movement(Burns & Lliffe ,2009). . At this stage death can occur as individuals may forget how to swallow and tend to personal hygiene which may lead to