Application of Psychology
Psychology is the study of human behavior. There are many psychological conditions that determine the behavior of the people suffering from them. Dementia is one such condition. In our daily life we come across many people suffering from this psychological condition. It affects the behavior of the person suffering from this psychological disease immensely. Dementia generally attacks people of old age. A person suffering from it has a habit of forgetting things. It is very difficult to find out whether an elderly person is really suffering from this disease as forgetting things is a common symptom of old age. However dementia is quite different from normal forgetting that accompanies old age. According to Cardwell “a disorder that is characterized by a serious decline in mental faculties, particularly in the loss of memory, as well as impairment of at least one other cognitive function. This group of disorders may impair what we know or even who we are.” (2003, p.71)
Since people forget even their own identity their behavior naturally is not normal. Only the psychologists can intervene and understand their condition by studying their behavior in detail. The behavior of dementia patients towards others becomes very aggressive. There is a major change in their emotional stability and personality. Since they don’t know who they are they behave very irrationally with themselves too and even stop taking self-care.
Psychologists use humanistic person centered approach to bring a positive change in the behavior of dementia patients. Through this approach they feel at ease within. If the person is at ease then naturally he will be more co operative and rational in communicating with others. Though this approach is time taking, it certainly results in behavioral improvements. At this stage and phase of their lives, more than professional help dementia people need a good interpersonal relationship. Since these people suffer more extensive memory loss, they are very disorganised, anxious, confused, aimless and incongruent with their past experiences, self concept and present state. A psychosocial intervention in the form of humanistic approach proves to be helpful. There are many therapies like music therapy, reminiscence therapy etc. that help these people. As the name signifies behavior therapy, particularly helps in behavior correction of such people.
Some demented patient’s get very aggressive and keep on making continuous noises like passing comments, whistling etc. Some start wandering or inappropriately voiding. This abnormal behaviour is the major reason why they are shifted from their home environment to a hospital. It becomes difficult for their family members to keep a watch on them. For all this an intervention called behaviour therapy proves very helpful. In this therapy certain behaviour correction techniques are used to keep the patient in control. This therapy believes in patiently curing the causes of the demented person’s aggression instead of segregating him from others in fear of eruption of a bad behaviour from his side. It is advisable to use this therapy because it helps in bringing back the self esteem of the dementia person and also makes him more co- operative with the carer and acceptable to his immediate social environment. Thus to bring a change in their challenging behavior dementia people need lots of emotional support and empathy. If high quality interpersonal interaction with the client is built then their behavior can change for the better.
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Cardwell, M. Complete A-Z Psychology Handbook. (3rd Ed.). Great Britain: Hodder &
Alzheimer’s Society Information Sheet, 2003. Complementary therapies and dementia.
21 Apr. 2007 ;http://www. alzheimers.org.uk/After_diagnosis/Treatment/info_
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