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Alzheimer's and anti-depressant research
trwebster posted:
I'm a care-giver for a moderate to severe Alzheimer's client who lives with her daughter. Since I started working with her, I've been reading what I can find about this disease in order to learn as much as I can. Lately, I have been wondering about the tendency for doctors to prescribe anti-depressants for those with Alzheimer's Disease: anti-depressants are designed to work on healthy brains, so-to-speak and Alzheimer's are not that. Does anyone have any information as to where I could find research on this subject?
Judith L London, PhD responded:
Many people with Alzheimer's are depressed, and in my experience, anti-depressants are an effective treatment. After all, people with Alzheimer's have feelings, and the emotional center of the brain is generally not affected by the disease.

If there is aggressive behavior, the first step in dealing with this is to change the environment to accommodate the person with Alzheimer's. My book, Connecting the Dots... gives simple ways to do this.

If that is ineffective, anti-depressants can be effective in reducing symptoms - especially since depression sometimes has an angry component. Although I am not a physician, research show that anti-psychotics are to be prescribed only if other methods have failed to produce results.

The Alzheimer's Assn. is a good resource for any issues that arise. All 800-272-3900 or go to

Hope this clarifies it a bit,

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