A Collaborative Approach to Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease from a Psychological Perspective

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Anna Maria Jadwiga Wegierek
Katarzyna Lesniak
Shan Patel
Yuliya Bogdanovskaya

ABSTRACT


After the age of 60, earlier in many cases, patients who experience perseverations, forgetfulness, and difficulties with daily living are often referred by their physicians for a neuropsychological evaluation. A neuropsychological evaluation consists of a variety of tests that illustrate a patient’s cognitive functioning that include attention, concentration, verbal memory, visual memory, problem-solving, and cognitive flexibility. It further clarifies a range of diagnostic criteria that distinguish Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from other mental health-related disorders. Depression presents in a very similar pattern to early stages of AD. Therefore, the neuropsychological evaluation will rule in or out diagnostic criteria and pinpoint which medication should be recommended. A collaborative approach between psychologists, physicians, and caretakers is crucial in obtaining an accurate diagnosis to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Results from the neuropsychological assessment provide physicians with information to develop a medication regimen that helps treat a patient’s cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Additionally, this information provides caretakers with psychoeducation to help understand the current functioning of their loved ones. The neuropsychological test findings coupled with a medical intervention is imperative to help patients and their families to develop adaptive methods that may help minimize the difficulties of daily living.

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Section
Chapter 15