Dementia & Mental Health Awareness
I’ve made a commitment this month to share knowledge about Mental Health and how it may impact those we love. It’s week 4, and I want to discuss Dementia.
Many of the mental health topics I’ve covered focus on our children and younger generations. But dementia is something that many of us associate with the people who shaped our lives - our parents, grandparents, and beyond. For better or worse, as time progresses our bodies bear the wear and tear of our everyday lives. Dementia is helpful for us to understand, not just for those older than us, but also for each and every one of us as we care for our bodies day-to-day.
Here comes some knowledge for your brain!
What is Dementia?
“Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological conditions affecting the brain that get worse over time. It is the loss of the ability to think, remember, and reason to levels that affect daily life and activities.” (Article 1.)
This can shape the way that they show up emotionally and whether they can regulate themselves with other people. Many notice a change in the personalities of their loved ones when they have dementia.
There are five core types of dementia:
Lewy body dementia (LBD)
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
“Together, the conditions are often referred to as Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias because they share many features and may commonly occur together.” (Article 1.)
What are some of the symptoms of Dementia?
Information referenced from Alzheimers.gov (Article 1.)
Loss of memory
Confusion & individual may struggle to make rational choices
Wandering and getting lost in a familiar neighborhood
Repeating questions more than normal
Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
Not caring about other people’s feelings
Problems with balance and movement
Important to note:
If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, please consult with your doctor.
What can cause Dementia?
Information referenced from Alzheimers.gov (Article 1.)
Side effects of certain medicines
Extensive emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety, or depression
Certain vitamin deficiencies
Drinking too much alcohol
Blood clots, tumors, or infections in the brain
Head injury, such as a concussion from a fall or accident
Thyroid, kidney, or liver problems
Normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain
Why is it important to understand more about Dementia?
I think that there are two important pieces of awareness with dementia. You want to know the symptoms and signs for anyone in your life, especially parents and older loved ones. This way you know what is happening, and you can provide support. But also, this awareness can help you care for your body and brain to prevent lifestyle choices that may cause dementia in the future.
Knowing how to spot these symptoms can help you support those who may be experiencing fear and uncertainty in dementia.
How does light therapy help with Dementia?
Here are two core things that happen during a Low-Level Light Therapy session that help with Dementia:
Light therapy helps your body increase your body's circulation - and specifically it supports healthy blood flow to areas of your brain to ensure that your brain gets what it needs and that it clears out any waste that may exist in the blood-brain barrier. This increased circulation allows the brain to regulate itself better and have clearer focus.
Light therapy helps to soothe and calm the mind down while regulating mood. During a light therapy session your body interacts with the different wavelengths of light and devotes its energy to circulation, ATP production, and cellular healing. It helps regulate blood flow to areas of the brain like the hypothalamus which regulates your hormones, and the amygdala which is considered part of your “emotional brain.”
Now, what does science say…
A study in 2017 tested a near-infrared headset in five people with dementia. Following the study, the participants reported increased cognitive function, better sleep, fewer angry bursts, less anxiety and less wandering. (Article 2.)
The research exploring light therapy with red and infrared light wavelengths is promising and suggests that light therapy and photobiomodulation could benefit people with dementia and its symptoms. More research and studies are being completed even now!
Exploring how we can care for our bodies is one of the best things we can do to shape our future. See how light therapy can help your body & mind!
No matter what it is that you are looking for, I know that we'll find a way to help you heal with light therapy!
If you want to learn more about Light Therapy & my Light Therapy work, you can follow me with the links below, or email me at Lisa@lightmattersinfo.com - thank you for reading!
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If you liked this article you can also read:
Here are the articles I've referenced above:
Article 1. https://www.alzheimers.gov/alzheimers-dementias/what-is-dementia
Image 1. https://www.agespace.org/dementia/difference-between-dementia-alzheimers
Article 2. https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/treatments/alternative-therapies/light-therapy-and-dementia
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