Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. In most people with the disease – those with the late-onset type- symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Younger-onset (also known as early-onset) Alzheimer's affects people younger than age 65. Up to 5 percent of the more than million with Alzheimer’s have younger-onset.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease wherein its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late–stage Alzheimer’s individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.
On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s, though initials symptoms may vary from person to person. People with Alzheimer’s disease have trouble everyday things like driving a car, cooking meals, or paying bills. They may ask the same question constantly, can lose easily, they can lose things or put them in odd places, and find even simple things confusing. As the disease progresses, some people become worried, angry, and violent.
Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments such as hypnotherapy for Alzheimer’s, are available and research continues. Although treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
When a person has Alzheimer’s, they can become anxious and depressed, which further depletes their mental ability. First, hypnosis reduces the worry and sadness of life, which makes the persons life easier. Second, hypnosis helps to expand the use of the part of the brain that is active, by tapping into the subconscious mind.
A dementia study was published in the journal Alzheimer's Care Today in 2007 called: Alternative Approaches to Supporting Individuals with Dementia. The study illustrates the positive effects that hypnosis has on the quality of life of patients with dementia. The study is the work of Senior Dementia Specialist, Dr Daniel Nightingale and clinical and forensic psychologist Dr Simon Duff (University of Nottingham).
In the study three groups: a "Discussion Group", a "Treatment as Usual group", and a "Hypnosis group" - all Alzheimer's patients showed improvements overall in their quality of life and seven other areas:
Each session lasted approximately 1 hour. Thus, over the 9-month period, each participant received a total of 36 hours of hypnosis in 36 sessions. Participants were introduced to the process of progressive muscle relaxation. Participants were induced into hypnosis in 3 phases:
The groups had one session per week for 9 months, then nothing for the next year. And they showed amazing results!
Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing. We are hoping that science may soon find the ability to cure this disease. However, knowing that hypnosis can improve the quality of life is a small victory.