Sundowners Syndrome: What You Need to Know
Sundowners Syndrome is a type of dementia that affects people as the sun sets. It is characterized by confusion, disorientation, restlessness and agitation. It is more commonly seen in elderly people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. While it is not fully understood, there are certain things that can be done to help manage the symptoms.
What Causes Sundowner’s Syndrome?
The exact cause of Sundowner’s Syndrome is not known. It is believed to be related to the body’s circadian rhythm, which controls sleep-wake cycles and other daily activities. As the sun sets and darkness falls, it may lead to confusion and agitation in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Sundowner’s Syndrome?
The most common symptom of Sundowner’s Syndrome is confusion and disorientation. Other symptoms include restlessness, agitation, irritability, pacing, difficulty sleeping, wandering, hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms can become worse in the evening hours.
How Is Sundowner’s Syndrome Diagnosed?
If you suspect your loved one may have Sundowner’s Syndrome, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask questions about your loved one’s symptoms. They may also order blood tests or imaging studies to rule out other possible causes.
How Is Sundowner’s Syndrome Treated?
There is no cure for Sundowner’s Syndrome but there are ways to manage its symptoms. Treatment usually involves a combination of medications, lifestyle changes and supportive care. Medications such as antipsychotics and antidepressants may be prescribed to help reduce confusion and agitation. Other treatments such as light therapy and melatonin supplements may also be helpful in managing symptoms.
Sundowner’s Syndrome can be a difficult condition to manage, but with the right treatment plan it is possible to help reduce its severity. If you suspect that your loved one has Sundowner’s Syndrome, speak with your doctor right away to find out what treatment options are available.