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Painful Reality or Pleasant Delusion? Alzheimer Treatment Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:31:59 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
The author of this blog post brings up an important point in general; however, it is the specific application to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease I am most interested in. Alzheimer's is a horrifying disease, my mother died of it which may be why I have more than just a common curiosity about it.

Not all Alzheimer's patients have pleasant delusions, I am in fact rather dubious of this characterization, particularly during the early stages of the disease when one is fully aware that the "I" of mind is slowly disappearing.

I favor the pleasant delusion as described in the article, although if it were currently an option in the U.S., specifically within the V.A. health system, my advanced directive would include criteria for termination.

Although the blogger presents this as a philosophical question I feel it is a relevant cultural issue as, at least in first world countries, the population of the elderly is markedly increasing.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019 5:50:01 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,591
Neurons: 30,181
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Just for the record, here is a link to what I assume is the blog post referenced above:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/cyphers-choice-painful-reality-or-pleasant-delusion/#googDisableSync

Alzheimer's syndrome is not the only cause of dissociative mental function in the elderly, or even the young. Chronic liver or kidney disease can also severely impair brain function.

Every one discovers their own boundaries when dealing with this. So far, I have chosen to "play along" for the most part, even with the depressing illusions, just to avoid a full-on confrontation except when that delusion puts someone at permanent physical risk. I rationalize this by noticing that delusions are fleeting, but death is permanent; open conflict prevents reconciliation and has the result of more shame and guilt for all involved.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2019 4:00:45 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
Thanks very much Leon, I failed to notice I hadn't linked "this blog post". I wondered why no one had picked up on this topic.

I agree with you that a confrontational approach seems wrong.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2019 12:01:22 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,224
Neurons: 60,665
I tend to agree with leon's approach. And an advanced directive may be a good idea, but then the question becomes how advanced should it be?

If one makes such a directive in youth or middle age, a change of mind could easily take place in later years. So it would seem that making it at the initial stage of diagnosis would be the best idea.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
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