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Psychiatric Medications, Dementia Risk, and Autism Specific Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Some psychiatric medications which block acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain, that are used to treat depression and anxiety, such as paroxetine and amitriptyline, are associated with an increased risk of dementia according to a published study, (Kathryn Richardson, Chris Fox, Ian Maidment, Nicholas Steel, Yoon K. Loke, Antony Arthur and Phyo K Myint, et al., "Anticholinergic Drugs and Risk of Dementia: Case-Control Study," BMJ 361, (April 2018): doi:10.1136/bmj.k1315). 40,770 patients with a diagnosis of dementia were compared to 283,933 controls, all aged between 65-99. Antidepressants, antiparkinson medications, and medications used for urinary incontinence were linked to an increased risk.

Another recent controlled study showed how cognitive behavior therapy, CBT adapted to individuals with autism, using visuals for example, can help with their emotional regulation and psychopathology, including symptoms of depression and anxiety, (Johnathan A. Weiss, Kendra Thomson, Priscilla Burnham Riosa, Carly Albaum, Victoria chan, Andrea Maughan, Paula Tablon, et al., ""A Randomized Waitlist-Controlled Trial of Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Improve Emotion Regulation in Children with Autism," Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (April 2018): doi:10.1111/jcpp.12915). CBT unlike medications, has no side effects. Unfortunately, also unlike medications, CBT is not often available.

There is a lot of political and professional talk on how care needs to be "person centered" and "patient centered" but unfortunately US education and healthcare are really cutting services centered, profit centered and pharmaceutical centered.