Non-pharmacological Interventions for the Anxiety in Patients With Dementia. a Cross-over Randomised Controlled Trial


Behavioural Brain Research




BACKGROUND: Behavioural and Psychiatric Symptoms in dementia (BPSD) tend to be a crucial and big problem in dementia. Anxiety several times remains under-diagnosed because it is often considered to be a psychological response to cognitive decline. As only the 10 % of patients were correctly treated, the pharmacological treatment should be well- considered. The aim of this study was to evaluate three non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of anxiety in dementia. METHODS: A cross-over randomised controlled trial with 60 participants (different types and stages of dementia) conducted in Greece. The sample was randomly assigned to 6 different groups of 10 participants each. The non-pharmacological interventions that have been evaluated are: a) Music Therapy b) Exercise and c) Aromatherapy & Massage. The measurements that were used are: MMSE, ACE-R, GDS, FRSSD and NPI questionnaire. The interventions lasted 5 days and there was two days off as a wash-out period. There was no drop-out rate. RESULTS: The study showed that the most effective intervention is Music therapy. The second most effective intervention is Exercise and the third one is Aromatherapy and Massage. In the parenthesis p results indicate that Music Therapy's p is less than 0.05 in comparison with Exercise and Aromatherapy and Massage and therefore the sequence of the interventions does not interfere with the results. (p = <0.05, p = 0.55, accordingly). Caregivers' burden also reduced with MT. In the parenthesis p results indicate Music Therapy's p is less than 0.05 in comparison with the two other interventions and therefore the sequence of the interventions does not interfere with the results, as well (p = <0.05, p = 0.19). CONCLUSIONS: Our results are in accordance with the current literature. Music Therapy is a promising alternative intervention for the treatment of anxiety in PwD. Music Therapy is an effective non-pharmacological treatment for the reduction of the caregivers' burden, because of the anxiety symptoms in PwD, such as lack of sleep, lack of personal time, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of solutions on what to do with their patients etc. The type of music, the duration of the intervention and the long-term benefits remain unclear. There is a big need of further research with stronger possible evaluation methods.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Anxiety; Burnout; Caregiver Burnout; Mental Health; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Physical Exercise; Psychological Outcomes; Questionnaires; Symptom Management

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Anxiety; Anxiety Disorders; Aromatherapy; Caregiver Burden; Cross-Over Studies; Dementia; Exercise Therapy; Massage; Outcome Assessment, Health Care; Anxiety; Bpsd; Dementia; Non-pharmacological interventions; Randomised controlled trial

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

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