Most Dementia Patients Prescribed Multiple Psychotropic Drugs


A study of 34,553 patients with dementia by the Danish Dementia Research Centre finds that more than 75% of patients with dementia who are treated with an antipsychotic medications are also given at least one other psychotropic drug. Patients who were younger, female, resided in nursing homes, took other medications, and had a prior psychiatric diagnosis were more likely to be treated with more than one psychotropic. The researchers concluded “The potential consequences for patients’ safety calls for further investigations.”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. “The potential consequences for patients’ safety calls for further investigation” is definately true. Especially since combining an antipsychotic with either a benzo or an antidepressant causes anticholinergic toxidrome. But, since the symptoms are similar to the major “mental illnesses,” the doctors call these iatrogenic poisonings either “bipolar” or “schizophrenia,” and probably also “dementia.”

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  2. Like they can not use physical violence on children to get them to behave as those in authority want, they can not use physical violence on the Dementia Patient (prisoner) , so they use drugs/chemicals that affect the brain of the “patient”.
    As it is very difficult to prove any damage ( or discomfort) occurring to the “patient” , this drugging is not going to end any time soon.

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    • Boy have you got that right!!!

      I was a chaplain in a nursing home, supposedly one of the best in the state where I live, but the drugging of people with dementia and people who wouldn’t cooperate and be compliant was absolutely phenomenal. Older people are at the mercy of staff. If family members catch on and are not happy with what’s happening to their loved one they’re simply told to go and find another nursing home if they don’t like the so-called “treatment”.

      And, I suspect that the neuroleptics that are given to dementia patients hastens the process of the person losing touch with who they once were. This is devastating not only to the individual that it’s happening to, but it affects the family members too. All of this is done to keep the person quiet and compliant and easy to control and deal with.

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