Depression And Dementia: Similarities And Differences
Diseases often times mimic one another yet have distinct differences as well. This is no different with depression and dementia. Both can display the same symptoms, from lethargy to confusion, yet they have notable differences that define them. One can even mask the other. Add the hospice component to the equation and your loved ones symptoms may be compounded. The good news is that quality of life can be improved with proper treatment. If you are facing the need for hospice in San Francisco for your aging parent of other loved one who suffers from one or both of the above, Pathways Home Health and Hospice is here to help. Here we will discuss the similarities and differences between depression and dementia.
Medical Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia
Even as a sleep-deprived and inexperienced intern, several decades ago, I knew something was wrong when I was asked to evaluate Mrs. M, a woman well into her 90s who was admitted for care of dementia. She was reputed to have been sharp as a tack until the preceding week. Following the operation that repaired her cataracts, which in those days meant a period of patched eyes and bedrest, her behavior changed quickly and dramatically. Her lovely personality became irritable and angry. Her language became abusive. She scratched a caregiver in her nursing home who was trying to help her get dressed.
It seemed very likely to me that Mrs. Ms sudden change in behavior had more to do with her operation than with a progressive neurological condition.
As A Care Worker How Can You Help
There are many conditions and circumstances where you may see signs and symptoms that may be confused with dementia. As a care worker, it is not your responsibility to try to diagnose the condition. However, as you may be the one person who sees the individual on a regular basis, you are well placed to notice any changes. Encouraging an older person to visit their GP on a regular basis can help them to maintain their general health and wellbeing.
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Its Not Necessarily Alzheimers
More than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia, and a small percentage of dementias are reversible. Two common examples are dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency or an underactive thyroid . Getting the right diagnosis is important so that you know what options you have, because symptoms subside when the underlying problem is treated.
Medical Conditions Often Mistaken For Alzheimer’s
Before you assume the worst, take a few minutes to learn about other medical conditions your senior loved ones physician is likely to consider before arriving at a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease.
Common Health Conditions That Mimic Alzheimers Disease
Dementia Delirium And Depression: Similarities Differences And Treatments
Welcome to the educational program Dementia, Delirium, and Depression: Similarities, Differences, and Treatments.;Delirium and depression are commonly seen in those with dementia, but it can be difficult to distinguish the three conditions because they can have similar symptoms. This program will help you understand the similarities and differences between dementia, delirium, and depression, and the major treatments for them.
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This is Lesson 1 of The Alzheimers Caregiver. You may view the topics in order as presented, or click on any topic listed in the main menu to be taken to that section. We hope that you enjoy this program and find it useful in helping both yourself and those you care for.
There are no easy answers when it comes to the care of another, as every situation and person is different. In addition, every caregiver comes with different experiences, skills, and attitudes about caregiving. Our hope is to offer you useful information and guidelines for caring for someone with dementia, but these guidelines will need to be adjusted to suit your own individual needs.
Remember that your life experiences, your compassion, and your inventiveness will go a long way toward enabling you to provide quality care. Lets get started.
Prefer to listen to this lesson? Get started by clicking the Play button below.
Progression Of A Single Disease
In some people, depression and dementia are not cause-and-effect, but may be simply different stages of the same single-disease process.
Depression is not only a risk factor for dementia, it may also be the start of the dementia. Depression may be the early manifestation of an underlying neurodegenerative disease.
For such people, the treatment of depression would be of particular importance. However, in other people, the treatment for depression may paradoxically worsen the symptoms of dementia. Cognitive impairment in depressed elderly can be exacerbated by the use of antidepressants, though with the use of modern SSRI-type antidepressants, this should become less likely.
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What Are Symptoms Of Severe Dementia
These may include increased agitation, depressive symptoms, anxiety, wandering, aggression, or sometimes hallucinations. bladder incontinence is common in the later stages of dementia, and some people will also experience bowel incontinence. appetite and weight loss problems are both common in advanced dementia.
Path To Improved Health
From the outside looking in, it may be difficult to know if your family member is depressed. You can look for some of the typical signs of depression. Your loved one may become angry and agitated or lost and confused. They may refuse help with personal care, such as getting dressed or taking medicines.
Alzheimer dementia and depression have many symptoms that are alike. It can be hard to tell the difference between them. If you think that depression is a problem for your loved one who has Alzheimer dementia, talk to their doctor.
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Problems With Vision And Hearing
Sensory limitations, too, can create a picture like cognitive impairment that worsens as the affected person becomes increasingly isolated as a result of hearing or vision problems. Recent research has emphasized that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the risk for development of cognitive impairment.
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Differences Between Depression And Dementia
- Depression tends to develop much more quickly than most types of dementia over weeks or a few months.
- It is common for people with dementia to have problems with their speech and awareness of where they are and what time it is. This is unusual in depression.
- A person with depression may sometimes say they cant remember something but then remember when they are prompted. However, a person with dementia is likely not to remember recent events. They may also try to cover up their memory loss.
- A person with severe depression may have problems with their reasoning or memory. However, this is likely to be because they have poor concentration. Their problems with reasoning or memory should get better with treatment or when the depression lifts. This does not happen with dementia.
Risk Factors For Dementia Diseases Like Alzheimers Disease
According to the Alzheimer Society of BC some people have increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. There are some risk factors that one cannot control like age, gender and genetics and there are risk factors one does have some control over. In terms of age, In Canada, 1 in 20 people over the age of 65 is affected by Alzheimers Disease. For people over 85 years, the likelyhood of having dementia increases to approximately 1 in 4 people. . Women are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and if it runs in your family you are even more at risk.
There are risk factors that can be controlled and they include having diabetes, heart problems, and brain injuries. Keeping your body as healthy as possible will reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease. If you or your loved one is experiencing some of the above symptoms of either depression or Alzheimers disease, please see your doctor.
Below are some resources for more information.
Mood Disorders Association of BC www.mdabc.net, 604-873-0103, toll-free 1-855-282-7979
BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information, www.heretohelp.bc.ca
Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health www.ccsmh.ca, 416-785-2500 ext. 6331
Crisis Centre Seniors Distress Line 604-872-1234, www.crisiscentre.bc.ca
About the author
Caring For An Older Person With Depression
There are a number of options for treating someone with a diagnosis of depression. The doctor will choose the most suitable one based on the individual circumstances of the person. For older people with depression, there are some treatment options that may be more suitable than others.Older people are more likely to have physical illnesses alongside depression. An important part of tackling the depression will be to treat whatever physical illnesses the person has.
For mild or moderate depression, a doctor may prescribe a psychological therapy. This might be something like cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling, which involve talking through problems with a health professional.
Sometimes a doctor may recommend self-help options to manage depression. This may be in the form of:
- improving sleep routine
- doing more exercise or activity, especially structured group exercise
- eating well and avoiding alcohol
- reading a leaflet or book, or an internet resource
For more serious depression, a doctor might prescribe medicines called antidepressants. However, some older people may not tolerate all antidepressant medicines well.
Arranging care can be a little overwhelming at first. Our helpful, understanding care advisors offer free advice on anything from funding to finding just the right home. Find out more about choosing a care home >
Is It Dementia Or Depression
by Health Professional
One of the most common distinctions that physicians make in seeing patients with complaints of memory trouble is the distinction between dementia and depression. Before I continue, I would once again like to distinguish between the terms dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia is a brain problem that includes impairment of memory and one or more other cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, but not the only, late life cause of dementia. It has certain distinguishing characteristics and our accuracy at diagnosing Alzheimer’s it is usually better than 80 percent. However, only knowledge of actual brain tissue changes allows us to make a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
For today’s discussion, I will contrast depression with dementias in general and at times with Alzheimer’s disease specifically.
Depression and dementia are both relatively common problems. They both may be associated with impairments of thinking in memory. The impairments of thinking and memory from either of these disorders can be disruptive to daily activity performance. At first, we might question how depression and dementia might be confused.
The medical treatments of dementia and depression are clearly different. In a previous blog I have discussed medical treatments in dementia. Medical treatments of depression include a large number of medications from which the physician must choose the medication that is best suited to the individual patient.
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Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do depression and Alzheimer dementia run in families? Am I at risk?
- What types of medicines treat depression and Alzheimer dementia? Are there any side effects?
- Will depression go away?
- Are there any lifestyle changes that help improve the symptoms?
- Can you recommend a support group for people who have these conditions and their caregivers?
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Disorders Of The Heart And Lungs
The heart and lungs provide the brain with oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for proper functioning. Age is often accompanied by vascular disease that interferes with cardiac output or lung disease that interferes with the delivery of oxygen to the brain. These underlying diseases can cause MaND as well as whats commonly known as vascular dementia . They can also affect alertness, memory, and executive function..
Reversible Health Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia
If youve ever forgotten where you parked your car, lost your keys in your own house, or walked into a room and forgot why you went there, you are not alone. We all have days like that. But often as we get older, forgetfulness tends to cause more than just temporary anxiety. We sometimes jump to the conclusion that we are getting dementia or have Alzheimers disease.
Dementia and Alzheimers disease are words that strike fear into many of us. Growing older, losing our ability to remember, think, reason, speak, or care for ourselves is not the way we want to view our own aging or that of our loved ones.
There are many forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers itself does not have a specific test to determine its presence; doctors merely rely on a cluster of symptoms to recognize it. Doctors often diagnose dementia as a generalized disorder that affects the brain causing memory loss, confusion, personality changes, and even physical manifestations.
Other symptoms of dementia of various types include:
short-term memory loss loss of sense of direction difficulty recognizing loved ones and familiar faces difficulties walking or moving around
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Can Dementia Be Seen On An Mri
CT and MRI scans, which reveal the anatomic structure of the brain, are used to rule out such problems as tumor, hemorrhage, stroke, and hydrocephalus, which can masquerade as Alzheimers disease. These scans can also show the loss of brain mass associated with Alzheimers disease and other dementias.
What Are The Symptoms When Your Thyroid Medication Is Too Low
Theres nothing better than feeling like your healthy, usual self after taking medication for your hypothyroidism. However, if you start noticing symptoms like anxiety, fuzzy memory, diarrhea, heart palpitations or excessive sweating, this may be a sign that your underactive thyroid is being overtreated.
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Is Depression The First Sign
Researchers and clinicians have been thinking for a long time about the relationship between depression and dementia. Sometimes, depressive symptoms are the first glimpse of the brain failure that will lead to dementia. Some researchers believe that depression increases inflammation and other chemical changes in the body, actually increasing the risk of later dementia. Everyone agrees that depression and dementia together create more suffering and complications than either condition alone.
Recognizing Depression Or Normal Memory Loss Vs Dementia And How To Tell The Difference
May 23, 2017
As we age, we sometimes get a little more forgetful.
As we age, we sometimes get a little more forgetful. While most people understand that this is just a normal part of getting older, there are some who fear that forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimers disease or some other form of dementia. There has been a lot of research focused around aging and memory loss recently, and researchers have learned a lot about what is normal versus a more serious problem.
Aging is not the only factor that contributes to memory loss, however. Many older adults develop memory problems as a result of health issues that may be treatable. These can include: side effects due to medications, vitamin deficiencies, substance abuse or possibly even reduced organ function due to thyroid, kidney or living disorders. These can be serious medical conditions and should be treated as soon as possible.
In addition to the aforementioned medical issues which can precipitate memory loss or impairment, there is what seems to be the most common reason: depression. Depression in older adults has been as steadily growing problem, and emotional problems such as stress, anxiety or depression can and quite often do lead to forgetfulness, confusion and other symptoms that are similar to those of dementia.
What is Dementia?
How to Tell the Difference
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