How I can help a family with a neurodegenerative disease?

Written by: Dr. Augusto Zafra Villena
Edited by: Top Doctors®

It is estimated that in 2017, the number of people affected by neurodegenerative diseases will increase by 10%.. His detection is a difficult news to assume for both the patient and his family. Knowing how to cope with this situation is essential in the development of this type of dementias. Next, Dr. Augusto Zafra explains what role families should take.


Know how to deal with neurodegenerative diseases

When a person is diagnosed with a serious mental disorder or a degenerative cerebral pathology, it is necessary to make a change and an adequate adaptation to the new situation. Not only from the medical point of view, which supposes to accompany in the visits or to supervise the treatment and that in certain way supposes to integrate to the professionals within the daily routine, but also it must maintain the serenity that supposes the functional repercussions or of loss abilities that Sometimes it happens, giving an adequate affective and emotional support.


Role of the family

The family must avoid falling into paternalistic behaviors or attitudes , overprotection or high emotional expressiveness. It is also not advisable to enter a role of police and hyper-control of the patient's life. Therefore, the attitude that gives better results in the long term is support in all dimensions of the patient, making an approach from the trust and accompaniment being silent supervisors and the eyes of the professional at home who is the one who advises and sets the objectives therapeutic



The role of the psychiatrist is very broad. From the clinical point of view must know how to evaluate and diagnose the pathology in the sick person. After that, the most suitable therapeutic alternatives with proven efficacy are considered; always with the aim of reducing the burden of the disease and maintaining maximum patient functionality in terms of autonomy and independence.

All this medical process requires a communication with the patient, caregiver and close relatives in terms of truthfulness, clarity and transparency. The information must be provided progressively, according to the wishes of the patient and their relatives and with an understandable and clear vocabulary, avoiding unnecessary technicalities and exaggerated catastrophisms. For this, it is essential to perform a job of prior trust and develop an adequate doctor-patient relationship.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Augusto Zafra Villena

Dr. Zafra is a renowned specialist in psychiatry. He is administrator of IVANE Salud in the Mental Health Unit | Hospital Psychiatry at the Vithas Nisa Valencia Valencia Hospital and the Detoxification Clinic | Dual pathology at the Vithas Nisa Aguas Vivas Hospital.

Throughout his career, Dr. Zafra has obtained numerous specializations in the field of Psychiatry in various institutions of national prestige. In this sense, he is an expert in: Legal and forensic psychiatry; Psychogeriatrics; Addictions and Dual Pathology.

Augusto Zafra performs private activity and collaborates as a professional with the Ilmo. COMV in the PAIME program. On the other hand, he is a member of the Spanish Society of Legal Psychiatry, the Spanish Society of Dual Pathology, the Spanish Association of Private Psychiatry and the Society of Psychiatry of the Valencian Community.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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