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| What's Happening in the Brain

Memory loss from the dementia illness causes the person not to remember that they have already asked that question or told that story. Physical changes to the brain, which are caused by dementia, may have damaged that part of the brain which enables the person to change to a new activity - the person appears to be stuck' on one activity, repeating it over and over again. The activity in this case is "shadowing".

The inability to judge time may cause the person to think the caregiver has been away for a long time. Also, misunderstanding of what is actually happening causes the person to constantly ask questions and shadow the caregiver.
Alzheimer's disease upsets the delicate balance of brain chemicals that allows us to cope. This is not always bad; some people with Alzheimer's disease find that they worry less, and can in this way feel better for it. Sometimes, drugs used to relieve anxiety, such as drugs like Valium or Xanax can make other symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worse. For this reason, treating symptoms of anxiety and worry in Alzheimer's disease must be done very cautiously. Sometimes too, the drugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease can improve anxiety.

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Last updated December 4, 2018
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