Currently, there is no cure for any type of dementia and treatment centers on symptom management. FTD causes cell shrinkage in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, which control certain kinds of movement, emotions, judgment, speaking and understanding speech. Because Frontotemporal Dementia affects a person’s behavior and speech primarily, managing these changes is the first step. Research is being conducted into the specific protein abnormalities associated with FTD. The findings could provide insights into the causes and prevention of FTD.
Medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, are used in the treatment of the behavioral symptoms of FTD. Despite this treatment, like most people suffering from dementia, those that suffer from FTD tend to get worse over the course of several years. Eventually, many of these people end up bedridden and mute because of the effects FTD has on speech and movement. This disease does shorten the patient’s lifespan, and studies have shown that most people with FTD live for about six to eight years with the disease, but shorter and longer time spans are possible.
The following are a few of the organizations that provide information, help, and support for those suffering from FTD and their caregivers:
- The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD)
- This association is a nonprofit organization that provides support, help, and information to those suffering from FTD and their caregivers. Their phone number is: 866-507-7222.
- The Alzheimer’s Association
- This organization is the perfect place to go if you are looking for information on other types of dementia as well as support from local people and organizations. Their website is www.alz.org and their helpline, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is: 800-272-3900.
- Social Security Administration
- The SSA offers a “compassionate allowance program” for those suffering from Pick’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) or PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia). This allows workers diagnosed with one of these three diseases to receive social security benefits. Their phone number is: 800-722-1213.
As a caregiver, it can be sad, bewildering, and frustrating to lose communication with your loved one. The better you understand the information available on FTD and stay in tune with new research, the easier it may be to accept the changes and adapt new ways to communicate.