Defining Dementia

In: Psychology

Submitted By blaine
Words 2560
Pages 11
Dementia is progressive deterioration in intellectual function and other cognitive skills, leading to a decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living. Diagnosis is by history and physical examination. Potentially reversible causes of cognitive impairment (e.g., drugs, delirium, and depression) should be excluded. Treatment is with general measures and usually a cholinesterase inhibitor, memantine, or both (Lichtenberg, et al., 2003).

The term 'dementia' is used to describe the symptoms of cognitive decline and normal sensorium that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, stroke and many other rarer conditions. Dementia is not a disease itself but rather a group of symptoms that may accompany certain diseases or conditions. At this time, dementia is irreversible when caused by disease or injury but may be reversible when caused by drugs, alcohol, hormone or vitamin imbalances, or depression. The symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion, and problems with speech and understanding. There is also the loss of intellectual functions (such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning) of sufficient severity to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. Symptoms may also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior. Dementia is also progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse. Each person is unique and will experience dementia in their own way, including how fast their dementia progresses. According to Lichtenberg, et al. (2003) the symptoms of dementia include:
• Loss of memory - for example, forgetting the way home from shops, or being unable to remember names and places.
• Mood changes - particularly as parts of the brain that control emotion are affected by disease. People with dementia may also feel sad, frightened, or angry about what is…...

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