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Can activity-based therapies reduce the need for antipsychotics?

Can activity-based therapies reduce the need for antipsychotics?
13th March 2012

Therapy and care that utilise activities to stimulate a patient's cognitive function have been found to reduce the need for antipsychotic drugs in dementia patients.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina investigated agitation, apathy levels, physical and cognitive function, and leisure interests in 107 people with dementia.

Participants were engaged in activity-based therapies over a two week period to mediate agitation or alert those with apathy at the time of day they were most prone to those symptoms that require the use of antipsychotics.

It was found that those who had limited participation in activities were more likely to exhibit apathy and agitation.

A spokesperson from the Alzheimer's Society stated: "This research highlights the importance of good quality care for people with dementia as well as engaging them in stimulating activities."

What's more, the study highlights that non-medicinal treatment can be used to great effect to help reduce the symptoms of dementia.

The research follows the release of evidence showing that antipsychotic drugs increase the risk of mortality in patients.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.