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Is Alzheimer’s A Mental Illness

Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Family says woman killed in deputy-involved shooting suffered from dementia and mental illness

Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimers. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment . With MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives. Movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have also been linked to MCI. Older people with MCI are at greater risk for developing Alzheimers, but not all of them do so. Some may even revert to normal cognition.

The first symptoms of Alzheimers vary from person to person. For many, decline in nonmemory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment may signal the very early stages of the disease. Researchers are studying biomarkers to detect early changes in the brains of people with MCI and in cognitively normal people who may be at greater risk for Alzheimers. More research is needed before these techniques can be used broadly and routinely to diagnose Alzheimers in a health care providers office.

Mental Illness With Ad

Its common for mental illness, particularly depression, to happen in the early stages of Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia. But accurate diagnosis and treatment has been known to improve cognitive function, according to Todays Geriatric Medicine. Its difficult enough living with AD, but the symptoms are compounded when it occurs in conjunction with other mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.

In fact, the CDC says that serious symptoms of depression occur in up to 50 percent of older adults with Alzheimers, and major depression occurs in about 25 percent of cases. Depression is often intermingled with the belief that this is simply an older adults reaction and awareness of progressive decline. But there is more to it than that, with some research suggesting there is a biological connection between AD and depression.

Anxiety disorders are also common, happening in about 30 percent of adults who have AD. Anxiety can include anything from generalized nervousness and fear of leaving home to agitation regarding changes of routine and feelings of suspicion or paranoia. Anxiety can also be psychologically and physically linked to AD.

Managing Depression In Dementia

  • Try to keep a daily routine for the person with dementia.
  • Incorporate daily exercise, because this has been proven to have a positive impact on symptoms of depression.
  • Limit the amount of noise and activity in the environment if this causes a problem. This will help avoid overstimulation.
  • Large group situations can make some people feel worse, while others may benefit from the stimulation of a busy, active gathering. It is important to know what the person has enjoyed in the past, because it is likely that similar activities will still appeal.
  • Have a realistic expectation of what the person can do. Expecting too much can make both the person with dementia and the carer feel frustrated and upset.
  • Be aware of when the person is usually least tired and do any important tasks at that time.
  • Be positive. Frequent praise will help both the person with dementia and the carer feel better.
  • Include the person in conversation to the extent that they feel comfortable.

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Improved Diagnosis Of Alzheimers

The results showed significant links between psychiatric and cognitive measures and patterns of tau tangle burden, but no links to beta-amyloid burden.

Symptoms of anxiety, agitation, depression, sleep disruption, and appetite changes, for example, had links to early-stage Alzheimers in which tau tangles appear in the brain stem. The link was present even though the individuals concerned had shown no noticeable changes in memory capacity before they died.

As Alzheimers progresses, tau tangles start to build up in the outer cortex of the brain. Samples from individuals in which there were signs that this process had begun had links to a higher risk of agitation.

Also, samples from individuals in which tau tangles had already progressed to the outer cortex, were linked to dementia symptoms that are typical of Alzheimers disease, such as a decline in memory and thinking ability and delusions.

The team suggests that the findings could impact trials for drugs that target early Alzheimers disease in which there is a need for measurable outcomes in addition to cognitive decline.

The results could also be added to screening alongside brain scans and blood tests for improving the diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimers.

If we could use this new knowledge to find a way to reduce the burden of these conditions in aging adults, it would be absolutely huge.

Dr. Lea T. Grinberg

Differentiating Dementia From Mental Illness

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    The American population continues to become older and older.; On average, as the baby boomer generation enters retirement, the age of Americans is projected to continue to increase.; With an aging population comes a focus on the health and health conditions that can affect seniors.; Alzheimers, cognitive impairment, and dementia are all high on that list.; But its not always clear to seniors or their loved ones or caregivers what the differences may be between dementia and mental illness.; A lot of the symptoms can overlap, and they require significantly different treatment.

    In this article, well highlight the differences between dementia and mental illness.; Well also take a look at the different treatments available for each.; Further, well explain how individuals can better assess whether or not their loved one is suffering from a cognitive impairment like dementia, or something more easily dealt with like a mental health issue.

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    How Alzheimer’s Disease Is Treated

    There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but medicines are available that can help relieve some of the symptoms.

    Various other types of support are also available to help people with Alzheimer’s live as independently as possible, such as making changes to your home environment so it’s easier to move around and remember daily tasks.

    Psychological treatments such as cognitive stimulation therapy may also be offered to help support your memory, problem solving skills and language ability.

    Read more about treating Alzheimer’s disease.

    Risk Factors And Prevention

    Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Further, dementia does not exclusively affect older people young onset dementia accounts for up to 9% of cases. Studies show that people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additional risk factors include depression, low educational attainment, social isolation, and cognitive inactivity.

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    Patterns Of Regional White Matter Deficits In Ad Mci And Sz

    Five samples were analyzed to test the above hypothesesthe ADNI samples for AD and MCI and 3 SZ samplesa discovery sample from Baltimore, MD; a replication sample from Beijing, China; and a replication sample from the worldwide meta-sample from ENIGMA, which is the largest white matter imaging sample in SZ. Each sample had its own healthy controls. Details on sample size, demographic , and imaging information are in the Methods section and supplementary information. White matter microstructures were measured by FA of DTI. The ranks of regional FA effect sizes between patients and controls for each cohort are shown in and supplementary table S4. In AD, the largest effect sizes were in the fornix followed by the splenium of the corpus callosum . In MCI, the largest effect sizes were in the SCC and FX . In the 3 SZ cohorts, patients showed the largest effect sizes in the anterior corona radiata , anterior limb of the internal capsule , FX, and body of the corpus callosum . The regional patient-control effect sizes in the discovery and replication cohorts were significantly correlated with those reported by ENIGMA .

    What Is Alzheimers Disease

    Diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s | Mental health | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

    Alzheimers disease is a progressive and irreversible brain condition. The two most common symptoms of the condition are confusion and memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease slowly causes thinking and memory to deteriorate to the point that even simple tasks become difficult or impossible.;

    Alzheimers disease can eventually cause a person to lose their ability to respond to their environment, including becoming unable to carry out a conversation.

    It is also the most common cause of dementia in older adults. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests that somewhere between 60% and 80% of dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death for adults over the age of 65.

    While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments available that can help slow the disease’s progression. Behavioral and medication treatments can also help people cope with the symptoms of the disease.

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    Proper Diagnosis Is Key

    The best way to ensure a proper diagnosis of dementia or a mental illness is to take into consideration all of the life changes and health effects of aging on a senior.; Cognitive decline is a real possibility, but so is mental illness.; The loss of loved ones, less time with friends and family, natural changes to the brain as we age, retirement, a sense of lack of purpose, and so on can all contribute to the mental state of a senior.; Knowing how to deal with those changes, and separate normal feelings, moods, and so on from genuine mental illness or dementia can be a challenge.; Experts who are trained in these fields are known as geropsychologists, and they are often the best choice for proper diagnosis.

    Theres a natural stigma in seniors about mental health and seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist.; This stems from the general social stigma around mental illness that was prevalent during the majority of seniors lives.; However, by seeing a specialist in geropsychology, and working with friends and family to provide a history and other health information, seniors are more likely to get an accurate diagnosis.; The role of psychology and therapy doesnt need to be something that is kept secret and not talked about.; Its quite beneficial, and can solve these kinds of mental health problem.; After all, its a lot easier to deal with a mental illness and get better than a degenerative condition like dementia.

    Where To Get Help

    • Your local community health centre
    • National Dementia Helpline Alzheimers Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
    • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
    • My aged care 1800 200 422Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
    • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
    • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Tel 1800 052 222
    • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers

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    Depression And Alzheimer’s Disease

    Depression is a mental disorder characterized by the presence of a number of symptoms including: a depressed mood, a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, changes in appetite and in sleep patterns, and alterations in psychomotor activities such as difficulty in thinking, concentrating or making decisions . Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.). This disorder is commonly associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality, an increased utilization of health services, and a reduced response to therapeutic regimens. There is also an increased risk of suicide , .

    There is an increased rate of depression within developed countries when compared to countries of low to middle income , , adulthood is still related to the onset of symptoms, and women have twice the risk of developing depression over a lifetime when compared to men of the same age , . In addition, a population-based study has assessed the prevalence of depression in the Brazilian population, finding a greater rate of depressive symptoms in individuals over the age of 60 .

    Globally, the prevalence of depressive disorders in the elderly population is between 10% and 20%, depending on their cultural situations, indicating that it is the most common psychological disorder in the senescence population . The features attributed to the onset of a major depressive disorder in later life, are also associated with a higher frequency in the development of cognitive impairment , .

    How Long Can A Person Live With Alzheimers Disease

    Dealing with Dementia & Mental Illness on Alzheimer

    The time from diagnosis to death varies as little as three;or four;years if the person is older than 80 when diagnosed, to as long as 10 or more years if the person is younger.

    Alzheimers disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.

    Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimers disease, though there has been significant progress in recent years in developing and testing new treatments. Several medicines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration;to treat people with Alzheimers.

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    How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect The Brain

    Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in Alzheimers disease. Changes in the brain may begin a decade or more before symptoms appear. During this very early stage of Alzheimers, toxic changes are taking place in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Previously healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimers as well.

    The damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, which are parts of the brain that are essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink. By the final stage of Alzheimers, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.

    Social And Economic Impact

    Dementia has significant social and economic implications in terms of direct medical and social care costs, and the costs of informal care. In 2015, the total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be US$ 818 billion, equivalent to 1.1% of global gross domestic product . The total cost as a proportion of GDP varied from 0.2% in low- and middle-income countries to 1.4% in high-income countries.

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    Dementia Is A Psychological Disorder

    Print version: page 52

    Monitor on Psychology48

    With improvements in neuroimaging, researchers are learning much more about the underlying processes that cause Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. While increased neuroscientific knowledge is always welcome, there’s some concern that the medical community might discount the role that psychologists can play in characterizing, diagnosing and treating the disease.

    Recently, the World Health Organization proposed re-classifying diagnoses for dementia as “Diseases of the Nervous System,” rather than “Mental or Behavioural Disorders,” as they are now classified. APA is concerned that this change could preclude some health-care professionals from providing diagnostic assessment and intervention, reducing access to and quality of care for people with dementia.

    In February, APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD, and Interim Chief Executive Officer Cynthia D. Belar, PhD, issued a letter to the WHO arguing that this reclassification is ill-advised. As the letter states, “the science and practice of psychology are integral to efforts to assess, diagnose, treat, and support individuals with dementia, and to lighten the burden of the families and institutions that provide their care.” Kirsten Weir

    Replication Of Elevated White Matter Rvi

    Is Dementia Mental Illness?

    The ENIGMA SZ pattern of regional white matter deficits was significantly correlated with the pattern for white matter deficits in AD . The RVI-AD and RVI-SZ in SZ patients were highly correlated . Therefore, despite the very different age ranges, etiologies, and neuropathologies, the white matter deficit patterns in SZ patients showed significantly elevated similarity to white matter deficit patterns observed in AD patients across the samples.

    On white matter tract level : A. Significant correlation of regional deficit patterns across the 22 major white matter tracts for Alzheimers disease and schizophrenia . B. No such correlation was observed between MCI and SZ. Similarly, on individual SZ patient level : C. regional vulnerability index for AD and RVI for SZ showed a robust correlation in SZ patients ; D: correlation between RVI for MCI and RVI for SZ in SZ patients. Note: MCI, mild cognitive impairment.

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    Medications To Maintain Mental Function In Alzheimer’s Disease

    Several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of Alzheimers. Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimers. Donepezil, memantine, the rivastigmine patch, and a combination medication of memantine and donepezil are used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimers symptoms. All of these drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They may help reduce symptoms and help with certain behavioral problems. However, these drugs dont change the underlying disease process. They are effective for some but not all people and may help only for a limited time.

    Are The Symptoms Of Dementia The Same As Diseases Such As Schizophrenia

    Although dementia can also cause symptoms such as delusional behavior and hallucinations that are very similar to illnesses such as schizophrenia and the manic stage of bi-polar disorder, particularly in the latter stages of a dementia-type illness, because dementia is not a specific disease, it cannot be classed as a mental illness.

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