For people with dementia and Alzheimer's, sundowning syndrome is a common change…
On the surface, Ian* looks like a regular guy: he’s charming, sweet, and what his family would call a “ladies’ man.” But deep down, Ian can’t stop reliving his military days. A Korean War veteran, Ian’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has prevented him from moving on from the horrific events he’s experienced.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a severe anxiety problem that stems from an extremely traumatic event such as a serious accident, sexual assault, or combat. Intrusive thoughts about the event may be triggered by environmental cues, making it difficult to move past the tragedy. Some people even go out of their way to avoid specific settings and people that might surface bad memories to the point where it interferes with normal life.
However, one of the most common symptoms of PTSD is experiencing more negative emotions than before the event occurred. People with PTSD will often feel numb and angry or lose interest in things that made them happy. Often, they turn to alcohol or drugs to suppress these negative memories and emotions. They struggle with attention and concentration, and their brains have trouble storing new memories.
Memory Disorders and Susceptibility to Triggers
For Ian, his PTSD is more rooted in sadness than in anger. He tearfully recalls brutal incidents from wartime, and it interferes with daily life. He has also been diagnosed with a mild memory disorder, which causes him to distort older memories and forget more recent events. With the increased amount of stress stemming from both disorders, it makes Ian even more susceptible to triggers.
How the Mind & Memory Program Can Help
At the Mind & Memory Program at Mission Hospital, Ian can find ways to help de-stress, cope, and prevent future episodes from occurring. With a healthcare program personally tailored for him, he can participate in group therapy and anger management in a supportive environment.
The first of its kind in the nation, the Mind & Memory Program is an intensive outpatient program (IOP) uniquely designed to be an innovative option for early-stage memory loss patients and their families coping with cognitive and mental disorders. By creating the Mind & Memory Program, Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) hopes to provide a resource for early intervention and add to the continuum of care for patients and families affected by memory loss and psychiatric conditions.
For more information or to schedule a pre-screening appointment, please call (949) 364-4203.
*All identifying information has been changed