Dementia: It’s Brain Injury Not Mental Illness

One of the biggest problems with dementia is that it is often treated under the umbrella of Mental Health.  In my view this is a serious mistake as dementia is not a mental health issue it is the result of brain damage.   The dangers of this misplacement are that dementia is then caught up in the medical model which is totally inappropriate for the condition. Once again I will use the experience of M to make my point.

I have already alluded to issues around diagnosis opinions differ on whether M has vascular dementia or mixed dementia.  On the one hand it matters little and diagnosis is not simple as even an autopsy is not definitive.  With vascular there is no treatment with mixed there is.  Reports on the efficacy of treatment are unhelpful and side effects are an issue.  Currently we are in the camp where medication for the condition has no approval from NICE but dangers lurk from the association with Mental Health.

We have already had the ‘Thought Police’ from the Memory service grill M about ‘mood’.  The problem here that the T P are working with an outdated model.  They appear to be stuck in a time warp of ‘chemical imbalance’ impacting on mood.  For some reason they have failed to grasp that NICE have changed their guidelines on the treatment of mild to moderate depression because they have accepted that chemical imbalance cannot explain mild forms of mental illness.

The irony for me in all this: the research that disproved chemical imbalance took place at Hull University.  I know that the toll on the Humber Bridge is expensive and Irving Kirsch is now at Harvard.  But for goodness sake my friends in NAVIGO the Libraries are still open and it’s all on the Net and YouTube.

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