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Cognitive and behavioral therapy for memory loss

There are several reasons behind losing memory. While it comes naturally with age, others might incur loss of memory due to brain injury, stroke, side effect of cancer treatment, etc. Memory loss is essentially a crucial symptom of Alzheimer’s disease as well.

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Thus, when a person forgets what he is supposed to remember then he/she needs support. One of the approaches to cope with memory loss is cognitive and behavioral therapy.

Cognitive and behavioral therapy for memory loss- How does it work?

Cognitive therapy is psychotherapeutic approach wherein therapists focus on improving the thinking process of the patient by putting forth a systematic approach. Once the patient gains control over the mind, he or she will be guided through upgrading behavior with several strategies designed exclusively for memory loss.

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Step 1: Addressing the problem and medical evaluation

Doctors evaluate the medical history of the patient to unearth the reason behind memory loss. The severity and type of memory loss is evaluated, based on which restorative memory program will be implemented.

Some common challenges faced by individuals are: problem in concentration, inability to remember, problems in solving problems or multitasking, mental confusion and alteration in behavior and emotions.

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Step 2: Cognitive remediation therapy

Once the therapist is accustomed with the medical background of the patient, he/she can implement a plan for cognitive restoration. This technique is also known as cognitive remediation wherein the prime focus is to improve or restore the skills of the patient which have been falling behind.

It’s a practical approach and the patient needs to attend the sessions as scheduled by the doctor.

For better understanding, we have cited some examples of cognitive remediation therapy for memory loss.

  • Patients are taught several ways to improve their cognitive skills- like thinking, learning, processing, speech, communication, etc. This in turn acts like memory booster.
  • Patients are encouraged to practice their cognitive skills by systematic application of tools like pens, paper, web based programs, etc.
  • Remedial solutions are offered on how to remember things on day to day basis. A worksheet/ to-do list may be given to keep an account of their activities.

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Step 3: Solving behavioral irregularity

Patients with challenged memory often exhibit negative behavioral traits as they are unable to lead a normal life. For example: anxiety, stress, low self confidence and self esteem, unruly behavior, aggression and frustration are very common. In such circumstances, patients need utmost support and guidance to re-establish normalcy in behavior.

The techniques applied for behavioral management are:

  • Change in ambiance around the patient. Therapists encourage creating positive vibes and vibrancy at home with colors, lights and other attractive features in order to alter the emotional state of the patient.
  • Patients are allowed to express their emotions to therapists. It’s a conversation based approach which serves as an outlet for negative emotions.
  • Patients are exposed to calming techniques, they are given practical lessons on mind training and overcoming negative thoughts.
  • Mediation, exercise and yoga are also a part of behavioral rehabilitation program.

Points to remember:

Cognitive behavioral therapy is not a cure to memory loss. It works well on people who have mild form of cognitive impairment that is reversible in nature. The techniques certainly help to remember things better and improve lifestyle; nevertheless patients must continue with their regular treatment with medicines for best results.

Written by: www.healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: February 22, 2016