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Psychiatr Danub. 2011 Mar;23(1):125-8.

Art therapy may be benefitial for reducing stress--related behaviours in people with dementia--case report.

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University Department, Vrapče Psychiatric Hospital, Bolnička cesta 32, 10090 Zagreb, Croatia.


Communication with person with dementia (PWD) is becoming worse and worse during the course of illness, and at the end may be totally lost. Non-pharmacological interventions may be beneficial in increasing the behavioural disturbances which appears frequently during the progression of dementia, and combination of non-pharmacological techniques and drugs is usually more efficacy than psychopharmacs alone. Mr. Zvonko, the PWD diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease of moderate stage, is presented in this case report. Although Mr. Zvonko was treated with antidementia drugs, the behavioural disturbances were present. The introduction of low doses of conventional antipsychotic was accompanied with extrapiramidal side-effects, and atypical antipsychotics were not used due to the FDA warning and non-willingness of caregiver and family to take that risk. After his individual and family status was evaluated, he was advised to attend the daily care centre and to start with art therapy. Despite he was never drawing pictures before developing AD, everybody, including his wife who is also a caregiver, was surprised with his talent and creativity. While drawing the pictures he was calm and satisfied and his behaviour in the daily care centre, but also at home, became much more adequate. There was no need to add psychopharmacs for behavioural disturbances. In this case the art therapy was shown to be an excellent add-on non-pharmacological intervention, beneficial for reducing stress-related behaviours in PWD taking antidementia drugs.

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