Friday, December 2, 2022
HomeHealthCan A Psychologist Diagnose Dementia

Can A Psychologist Diagnose Dementia

What Are The Different Types Of Dementia

How is dementia diagnosed?

Various disorders and factors contribute to the development of dementia. Neurodegenerative disorders result in a progressive and irreversible loss of neurons and brain functioning. Currently, there are no cures for these diseases.

The five most common forms of dementia are:

  • Alzheimers disease, the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles.
  • Frontotemporal dementia, a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins tau and TDP-43.
  • Lewy body dementia, a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
  • Vascular dementia, a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
  • Mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types of dementia.

How Do Ct Scans Show Dementia

The most common types of brain scan you might encounter are magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomographic scans.

Doctors regularly recommend MRIs and CT scans when they examine someone they suspect has dementia.

CT scans detect brain structures through X-rays and the procedure can reveal evidence of ischemia, brain atrophy, and strokes.

The procedure also picks up on PROBLEMS like subdural hematomas, hydrocephalus, and changes that affect the blood vessels.

As implied, MRIs make use of focused radio waves and magnetic fields to detect the presence of hydrogen atoms within the bodys tissues.

MRIs ARE BETTER at diagnosing brain atrophy and the damage that subtle ischemia or incidents of small strokes cause to the brain.

Thus, MRI is normally the first test a person undergoes and CT second.

Who Gives The Diagnosis

The GP will, in most cases, tell a patient about a diagnosis of dementia. If the person has been referred to a specialist for further tests or brain scans, reports of those will be sent to the GP. In some cases, a doctor may decide a diagnosis is too much for the person to cope with and may initially inform a partner or close relative.

Recommended Reading: Difference Between Dementia And Senility

Living Well With Dementia: How Psychologists Can Help

Categories

Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is a syndrome caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities.1;Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases, and nearly one in every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimers or another dementia.2

New research suggests that people are often correct when they think their memory is declining. Individuals may pick up on subtle signs before they are obvious to others. Normal memory problems do not affect everyday life. ;If someone forgets where they put their keys, it may be because that individual is not well organized. However, if someone forgets what keys are used for or how to unlock doors, it may be a more serious matter.3

A diagnosis of dementia can be emotionally overwhelming for the individual as well as the family. Individuals with dementia require more intensive care and assistance as the dementia worsens. Though there may not be a way to completely alleviate symptoms of dementia, maintaining sleep patterns, a healthy diet, regular exercise, cognitive stimulation and socialization can help people with dementia maintain a normal level of functioning for as long as possible.

Dementia Patients Demonstrate How Life Can Be Meaningful Even With A Diagnosis

How Can A Psychologist Help A Person With Dementia?

They possess a positive outlook and zest for life.

An ultramarathoner and adventure racer, Mark Macy competed in the Worlds Toughest Race Eco-Challenge in Fiji last year and, more recently, the Leadville 100,000 FT Elevation Gain Challenge this summer.

A retired chief operating officer of a long-term care facility, Geri Taylor and her husband, Jim Taylor, are frequent public speakers at national and global conferences and strong advocates for clinical trials.

In their own ways, Mark and Geri live life to the fullest as individuals and with their families. A retired attorney, Mark has been married to his high school sweetheart, Pam Macy, for 43 years, and they have three kids, while Geri and her husband, married for 26 years, share four children.

Not only are Mark, 67, and Geri, 77, living in the moment; they are also living with Alzheimers Disease.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan* designated November as National Alzheimers Disease Awareness Month. Thirty-seven years later, awareness is more crucial than ever. More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimers in the United States today, and by 2050, that number will skyrocket to 14 million.

To bring awareness, people are encouraged to keep the dialogue ongoing, seek out information, and break down the stigma associated with dementia.

Living a Purposeful, Productive Life

The reality? The life expectancy of someone diagnosed with Alzheimers varies between three to 11 years depending on the stage of the disease.

Recommended Reading: Does Alzheimer’s Run In Families

Can Dementia Be Diagnosed During A Single Visit

So can dementia be diagnosed during a single visit? As you can see from above, it depends on how much information is easily available at that visit. It also depends on the symptoms and circumstances of the older adult being evaluated.

Memory clinics are more likely to provide a diagnosis during the visit, or shortly afterwards. Thats because they usually request a lot of relevant medical information ahead of time, send the patient for tests if needed, and interview the patient and informers extensively during the visit.

But in the primary care setting, and in my own geriatric consultations, I find that clinicians need more;than one visit to diagnose dementia or probable dementia. Thats because we usually need to order tests, request past medical records for review, and gather more information from the people who know the senior being evaluated. Its a bit like a detectives investigation!

What A Doctor May Check And Ask

Most people with suspected dementia will go to a doctors surgery to see their GP. Some doctors, however, will prefer to make a home visit to observe and assess someones behaviour in their own environment. A GP will check a persons blood pressure, temperature and pulse, listen to their heart and lungs and collect blood and urine samples for further tests to be carried out. The doctor will ask what potential signs of dementia have been noticed and when they began, how often they occur and whether they are getting worse.

The GP may ask a series of questions designed to test the persons memory and reasoning skills. The doctor is also likely to carry out a detailed review of any medication taken and ask about personal and family medical history, diet, smoking, intake of alcohol and exercise. The doctor will welcome notes perhaps kept by the patient, a partner, close family member or a care worker that outline when any symptoms or changes first happened. The GP may feel able to make a diagnosis at the conclusion of the assessment or may refer the person to a memory clinic or specialist.

Cultural diversity is an important consideration in the assessment process. Dementia assessments need to be culturally appropriate and recognise the impact of culture on individual behaviour. An interpreter may be vital for a proper assessment.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

Neuropsychologists Work Closely With Other Doctors As Neurologists

If a neurologist cant identify the cause of a condition, a neuropsychologist can contribute to determining a diagnosis. If a diagnosis is already known, an assessment by a neuropsychologist can still be helpful because a neuropsychologist can help determine what impairments a patient might have and how severe they are.

Why Eating And Drinking Deteriorate In Dementia

Aggressive Behavior in People with Dementia | Linda Ercoli, PhD | UCLAMDChat

The couple is fervent about what they do and has shared their story with others nationally and globally; their story and advocacy work was even featured in The New York Times. They also recently won the 2020 Perennial Hero Award by the Alliance for Aging Research.

Additionally, the Taylors are trying to start a pilot trial in New York City that will assist newly diagnosed patients in improving their quality of life in the first year and helping navigate them to find research.

The Macys

While navigation, numbers, and reading are now challenging for Mark Macy, he maintains a can-do attitude and continues his active lifestyle with the support of his family. Together with his son, Travis Macy, and two teammates, they competed as Team Endure on the Eco-Challenge, a 417-mile, 11-day, multi-sport race.

When we learned about the diagnosis, it was obviously not good news, said Travis. But we said, lets keep making the most of things, lets keep on living fully, and the Eco-Challenge was a big piece of that.

An athlete who has dabbled in just about every sport from a young age, Mark has checked off a long list of endurance races, including the Badwater Ultramarathon and 100-mile snowshoe Idaitarod trail races. So it was no surprise that it was his idea to do the Eco-Challenge. Its what Ive been doing forever, said Mark, who has done every other Eco-Challenge. Thats just what I do; I do that stuff all my life, and its normal to me.

Coping With Alzheimers

References

Don’t Miss: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

This New Ai Tool Can Diagnose Dementia In Just A Day

Worldwide, nearly 50 million people are dementia patients with many types and forms. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia contributing to 60-70% of the total cases. The number of dementia patients is constantly rising with a social, economic and psychological impact on patients and their families, careers etc. Still, this disease is not properly comprehended; therefore, most cases lack a definitive cause, and the diagnosis can be difficult.

However, this might get better, especially with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence in the medical world. Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a machine-learning algorithm that can diagnose dementia in a day. Pre-clinical tests have been able to diagnose dementia years before symptoms develop, even when there are no obvious signs of damage on the brain scan.

Traditionally, when we look at patient scans, we are looking for patterns to be able to help us exclude things like strokes and brain tumors, explained trial lead Timothy Rittman. The computer can do this much more comprehensively than any human.

Currently, scientists are running trials to check the efficacy of the system. About ;80 patients have contributed to the study carried out at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, England. If the trials are a success, the algorithm could be introduced to patients across the UK, servicing up to half a billion pounds over the course of five years.

fantastic development, Rittman told the BBC.

Can A Neuropsychologist Diagnose Dementia

Yes, a neuropsychologist can diagnose dementia. A neuropsychologist is a specialist qualified in brain disease evaluation, detection, and treatment. The neuropsychological evaluations are essentials to known if exists nervous system disorders in patients

Neuropsychology is defined as a scientific discipline that is dedicated to understand how the brain works and the relationship between the thoughts and behaviors in patients with acquired brain damage, neurodegenerative, or neurodevelopmental disorders.

Neuropsychologists have a doctorate degree in psychology and training in neuropsychology. They regularly work in research or clinical settings.

There are many mental disorders that dont show deformity or other types of obvious brain disorders so, if other doctors cant identify the cause of these symptoms, a neuropsychologist can help determine an exact diagnosis.

However, many mental disorders can and do originate with brain damage or other neurological disorders, If this is suspected, a neuropsychologist will perform tests to determine what the problem may be.;

With neuropsychological evaluation, we can determine if nervous system disorder is for loss of capacities associated with healthy aging, or in contrast if its a cognitive deterioration.

Also Check: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

Key Symptoms Of Dementia

Dr. Kernisan describes the 5 issues that people with dementia typically experience:

  • Difficulty with one or more types of mental function, like learning, memory, language, judgement
  • Problems that are a change compared to the persons usual abilities
  • Problems that make it difficult for them to manage everyday life responsibilities, like work or family
  • Problems that arent caused by another mental disorder, like depression

Tip : Pursue Activities That Bring You Meaning And Joy

Dementia: A Virtual Game Can Speed Up Diagnosis ...

Having Alzheimers or another dementia doesnt mean your life has to stop moving forward. By pursuing meaningful activities and relationships, you can continue to nourish your spirit and find pleasure and purpose in life.

Even when symptoms advance and certain activities become difficult, you can still find other ways to nurture and enrich your spirit. If you can no longer paint, for example, you may still be able to visit museums and appreciate the art of others. Or if you can no longer cook, you may still be able to devise the menu and help shop for ingredients.

While we all have different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, you may want to:

Pursue your favorite hobbies and interests. Engaging in activities that are important to you can help maintain your identity as well as enrich your life. Try taking a class or joining a club to keep your interest growing or to explore new activities.

Build your legacy. In the early stages of dementia, many people are mindful of how they want to be remembered. Maybe you want to pass on your skills and knowledge to others, or leave a record of your life for your grandchildren to enjoy. You might want to create photo albums, write your memoirs or a how-to book, share your favorite recipes, make a record of family traditions, or research your family history. Or perhaps you simply want to spend time with your closest loved ones to create new memories.

You May Like: Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care For Dementia

How Psychologists Can Help

Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is a syndrome caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities.1 Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases, and nearly one in every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimers or another dementia.2

New research suggests that people are often correct when they think their memory is declining. Individuals may pick up on subtle signs before they are obvious to others. Normal memory problems do not affect everyday life. If someone forgets where they put their keys, it may be because that individual is not well organized. However, if someone forgets what keys are used for or how to unlock doors, it may be a more serious matter.3

A diagnosis of dementia can be emotionally overwhelming for the individual as well as the family. Individuals with dementia require more intensive care and assistance as the dementia worsens. Though there may not be a way to completely alleviate symptoms of dementia, maintaining sleep patterns, a healthy diet, regular exercise, cognitive stimulation and socialization can help people with dementia maintain a normal level of functioning for as long as possible.

Who Is This Dementia Quiz For

Below is a list of 10 questions designed for people who are concerned about memory loss. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with dementia, a neurocognitive disorder, and are based on criteria in the DSM-5 .

Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.

Don’t Miss: What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Senility

What Do Neurophysiologists Do

Neuropsychology is a specialty in charge of evaluating and treating people with different types of nervous system disorders.;

Symptoms that may call for a neuropsychologist can include; nervous system dysfunction, learning difficulties, mood disturbances, involuntary movements, and memory difficulties.

Neuropsychological evaluations are realized to support understanding how the different areas and systems of the brain are working in a patient.;

Neuropsychological tests evaluate attention, executive functions , IQ, speech , perception, reading, writing, memory, sensorimotor functions, reasoning, motivation, mood state and emotion, quality of life, and personality styles.

Neuropsychologists evaluations often include a review of the patients medical history, an interview with the patient as well as a family member, close friend, or caregiver, and tests that measure the patients abilities and mood.

Developing A Treatment Plan

What is Dementia?||Alzheimer|| Dementia |causes|Symptoms |Diagnosis|treatment| Psychologist Dr.

Psychologists may work with individuals with dementia and their families independently through a private practice or as part of a health care team. Psychologists will work with the individual and family to develop strategies to improve quality of life and manage emotions related to the dementia diagnosis.

In working with a psychologist, an individual with dementia and those who provide care for them may discuss what is already being done well to manage the dementia and which behaviors may be improved. The psychologist may ask the individual or caregiver to do homework like practicing memory tools. Memory tools can help individuals become more organized to better manage their symptoms of memory loss. These tools might include:

  • Using an alarm as a reminder to take medicine
  • Using a calendar, to-do list, and journal combo as a memory substitute
  • Establishing routines to identify, plan, and carry out pleasant activities that are within the capacity of the care recipient

Read Also: Senility Vs Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s

So Which One Should You See

Making an appointment with either a psychiatrist or neurologist would ultimately lead to a correct diagnosis, even if they end up referring you to the other specialty for a more specific evaluation.

If a dementia patient is hallucinating or becoming aggressive, for example, you may want to discuss the problem with a psychiatrist who specializes in geriatrics; they may be more comfortable prescribing antipsychotic medications, which are typically used to treat these symptoms. A neurologist may be a better option if other neurological symptoms beyond changes in memory, mood and behavior emerge . But the bottom line is that either will be able to provide a preliminary diagnosis of dementia, and guide you in the best direction.

0643

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular