Young-onset dementia

5. Treatment

Dementia cannot be cured but there are treatments and support that can help someone live well with the condition. This involves drug and non-drug treatment, support, activities, information and advice.

Common drug treatments help with symptoms of dementia, such as donepezil for Alzheimer’s disease or certain antidepressants for frontotemporal dementia. For vascular dementia, drugs will be offered to help to treat the underlying conditions.

Non-drug treatments are also available, usually through the GP. Counselling may help the person adjust to the diagnosis or with relationship issues. Talking therapies may help if the person (or anyone supporting them) becomes depressed or anxious. For more information see factsheets 444, Depression and anxiety, and 445, Talking therapies (including counselling, psychotherapy and CBT).

Ask a professional about sessions of cognitive stimulation or life story work because these can also help. Non-drug approaches should also be tried first for behavioural changes (see factsheet 525, Changes in behaviour).

Dementia progresses more quickly if someone is physically unwell, so it is important that the person looks after themselves. This includes regular physical exercise, not smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation, eating a healthy diet and keeping to a healthy weight.