Lewy Body Dementia Crying: The Emotional Side of the Disease
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Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a type of dementia that causes functioning, reasoning, and cognitive declines. Many people with LBD also experience changes in mood and behavior, which can include crying episodes. Lewy Body Dementia crying is frustrating and heartbreaking for the caregiver. The crying and weeping can last for hours or even days.
The person with LBD may be expressing emotions that are difficult to control. They may cry for no apparent reason or in response to certain triggers. White the exact cause of crying in Lewy Body Dementia is not fully understood, it is thought to be related to changes in the brain that lead to problems with emotional regulation.
Examples of Lewy Body Dementia Crying
Let’s take a look at some examples of Lewy Body Dementia crying that might resonate with you as a caregiver. You will see that sometimes it makes sense and sometimes seems to be blown completely out of proportion.
- Stressed over an upcoming doctor’s appointment
- A repairman is coming to fix something at home
- A television show or commercial that seems real to them
- A delusion that their spouse is cheating
- Talking about something they enjoyed doing
- Thinking they are going to die
- Feeling not useful
- Capgras syndrome and not knowing where the real person is
- Hallucinating that people are torturing them
- Thinking a loved one has died
Crying and sobbing are common behaviors in people with dementia, especially Lewy Body Dementia. While these behaviors can be upsetting for caregivers, there are ways to help calm the person with dementia. First, it is important to try to understand why the person is crying or sobbing. Is it due to pain, fear, or sadness?
They may not be able to explain the cause and they may not even know the cause — only that they are feeling incredibly sad. If the cause can be determined, you can take steps to address the issue. For example, if the person is in pain, medication (one that has been approved by their doctor) may help. If they are fearful or sad, try to comfort them and distract them with a favorite activity. Whatever the case, try to communicate with him or her in a calm tone of voice.
Things to do to Help Calm a Person with Dementia who is Crying and Sobbing
- Provide physical comforts, such as a hug or massage.
- Play music from their youth.
- If able, take a walk with them.
- Take a long bath or shower.
- Cover up mirrors.
- Quiet the environment.
- Touch them softly, hold their hand or rub their back.
- Get a snack for them.
- Dance. Even if they can’t get up and physically dance, you can hold their hand and move with the music.
- Sing a favorite song.
- Have their pet give them comfort, even a stuffed animal can work.
- Give them something to do like putting socks together, folding laundry, or using a fidget blanket.
Things to Check for when Crying Can’t be Stopped
Crying is a common symptom of Lewy Body Dementia, but it can also be a sign of other health conditions. If your loved one is crying and you can’t stop the tears, it’s important to check for underlying causes. One possibility is a urinary tract infection (UTI). This type of infection can cause pain and discomfort, which may lead to crying. Other potential causes of tears include low sodium levels, dehydration, and low or high blood pressure.
One of my husband’s biggest downturns was from low sodium. He was hospitalized and it took months to stabilize. Check with your doctor though before increasing (or lowering) sodium.Author
If you’re not sure what’s causing your loved one’s tears, it’s best to consult with a doctor. They can perform an evaluation and rule out any potential medical problems. Make sure any underlying issues are addressed.
Sundowning and Crying — they often go Together with People that have Lewy Body Dementia
As the day comes to an end, those with Lewy Body Dementia may become more agitated, confused, and even cry. This is known as “sundowning.”
While the exact cause of sundowning is unknown, it is believed to be caused by a combination of physical (e.g. fatigue, hunger, pain), environmental (e.g. low lighting, noise), and cognitive factors (e.g. impaired ability to process information). Crying is not unusual during sundowning times.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing sundowning, try our tips above that may help to reduce the intensity of symptoms and improve the quality of life for both the individual and their caregivers.
Can Medications cause Lewy Body Dementia Crying?
Medications may play a role in causing this symptom. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and sedatives have all been linked to crying in people with Lewy Body Dementia. Medication side effects can cause extreme crying. Not just prescription medications. It could be from over-the-counter meds or supplements. Review all medications with your pharmacist or doctor.
Medications to Help Stop the Crying
If non-drug methods aren’t working and these episodes of crying or screaming are continuing and making them miserable (and you as the caregiver), it may be time to contact their physician to take some time to experiment with behavioral medications. When used appropriately, behavioral medicines may help lessen intensive outbursts and improve the quality of life for your loved one.
In conclusion, Lewy Body Dementia can be difficult to manage, but you are not alone. There are things that can be done to help lessen the crying spells. If your loved one is suffering from LBD crying, try some of the things listed above.
Have you experienced unstoppable crying with your loved one? What helped or what did you do? Let us know in the comment section below.