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.
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.
Efficacy Trials And Nonpharmacological Approaches To Nps Management
There is a long history of treatment for NPS in neurological conditions, starting with penicillin for encephalitis and culminating in the more recent atypical antipsychotic drugs. Many different treatments have been tested in dementia. Recent antipsychotic trials in dementia have followed a similar model, evaluating from 6 to 12 weeks of treatment with a placebo arm for comparison. They have all ended similarly, with, at best, a small improvement over placebo. Risperidone, for example, shows an improvement in psychosis in the Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimers Disease Rating Scale , but only slightly more so than placebo. Other antipsychotics have similar outcomes or are negative. The National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention EffectivenessAlzheimers Disease study demonstrated that these drugs have little effect overall versus placebo. In fact, they are equally likely to harm people with dementia as to help them. The dementia antipsychotic withdrawal trial found no significant efficacy for drug versus placebo, thereby suggesting that people do not need to be maintained on antipsychotics .
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Brain Samples From A Large Cohort
For their study, Dr. Grinberg and colleagues used brain tissue samples from the BBAS. The BBAS is a large and unique bank that stores the brain tissue that scientists retrieve during postmortems in São Paulo, where an autopsy follows every death.
This allowed them to study autopsied brain tissue from 1,092 adults aged over 50 who died between 2004 and 2014 and who were representative of São Paulos general population.
In addition, the BBAS records included data from postmortem interviews with reliable informants on the psychiatric symptoms and mental capacity of the deceased.
The team excluded 637 brain samples that showed abnormalities that were not related to Alzheimers disease. This left 455 samples from people who either had signs of Alzheimers disease, such as beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, or no signs of neurodegeneration.
To assess the amount of Alzheimer-related neurodegeneration, researchers evaluated each sample using a method called Braak staging to measure tau tangle burden, and a CERAD neuropathology score, to measure beta-amyloid burden.
The investigators evaluated psychiatric symptoms using a 12-item neuropsychiatric inventory and cognitive status using a tool called the CDR-SOB score.
They then analyzed the psychiatric and cognitive evaluations against the measures of Alzheimer-related neurodegeneration for all of the 455 brains.
Psychiatric Symptoms And Diagnostic Considerations
The clinical history is the linchpin of the diagnostic examination of patients presenting with cognitive or behavioral symptoms, and interviewing a source who has an intimate knowledge of the patient is imperative. The goal of taking the patients clinical history is to capture all symptoms, describe how the syndrome has developed over time, and make contrasts between the current state and the patients lifelong cognitive capacity, temperament, conduct, and habits.
The following are key elements of the clinical history:
Interviewing the source privately facilitates candor and disclosure. This author typically asks the patients permission to speak with their source.
Developing the chronology of symptoms defines the syndrome and the place of psychiatric symptoms within the context of the disease.
Cataloging the symptoms and their severity defines the degree of disability and distress.
Identifying preceding or concurrent psychiatric states helps clarify whether the patient has a primary psychiatric disorder.
Describing the context in which current psychiatric states emerged may point to modifiable environmental, behavioral, or social factors.
Interrogating other physiologic systems allows detection of systemic derangements that may mimic psychiatric disorders.
Documenting disabilities is vital for planning treatments and rehabilitation and for securing public assistance, disability benefits, and other resources.
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Common Mental Illnesses In The Elderly
If a senior is displaying signs of mental illness, its important to recognize the symptoms and seek treatment as soon as possible. Some of the common mental illnesses the elderly experience are:
- Depression. Depression is considered the most common mental disorder among seniors. Social isolation plays a major role in emotional wellness, so when a senior spends long periods alone because they are unable to drive or live far away from friends and family, depression can easily set in. It is also a symptom of dementia and tends to get overlooked as a treatable ailment.
- Late onset bipolar. Most bipolar patients are diagnosed in early adulthood. Late onset bipolar can be difficult to diagnose because of its similarities to dementia symptoms like agitation, manic behavior and delusions.
- Late onset schizophrenia. This disorder also presents a challenge to diagnose. It can manifest in adults after age 45 and appears as the patient ages. Symptoms are similar to dementia, once again, with hallucinations and paranoia the most common, but these symptoms are milder than when this illness appears in younger adults.
Mental illnesses are treatable, but the trick is a correct diagnosis. Even if a senior had good mental health throughout their entire life, the risk of mental illness in later years is still there. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible if there are any noticeable changes beginning to occur.
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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Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented
As the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear, there’s no known way to prevent the condition.
But there are things you can do that may reduce your risk or delay the onset of dementia, such as:
- staying physically fit and mentally active
These measures have other health benefits, such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and improving your overall mental health.
Read more about preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Symptoms For Dementia Sufferers
Alzheimers may also co-exist with psychotic conditions. Older adults who have schizophrenia are just as likely to develop AD as those who have no severe mental illness. They are also at a higher risk for depression, translating to a possible trifecta of co-occurring mental disorders. Symptoms of these disorders include:
- Extreme sadness
- Disinterest in people and previously-enjoyed activities
- Anxiety about change, going out of the house, strangers, etc.
- Feelings of suspicion or paranoia
- Sleep disturbances
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Mental Illness And Dementia: Similarities And Differences
In many ways, mental illness can manifest the same symptoms of dementia, and vice versa. While there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are also some pretty critical differences. If you have a loved one in hospice in San Francisco and elsewhere who is suffering from one of the two, youll want to read on. To recognize Mental Illness Awareness Week , we will use this blog to explain the similarities and differences between mental illness and dementia.
Each year, millions of Americans live with a mental health condition, but its important to remember that mental illness affects everyone either in a direct or indirect way through friends, family or coworkers, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness . Despite the reach and prevalence of mental illness, though, stigma and misunderstanding are still widespread. Couple that misunderstanding with the fact that mental illness can imitate the symptoms of dementia, and vice versa, and you have a serious, pervasive problem in this country.
What Is The Main Cause Of Dementia
Alzheimers disease is the biggest cause of cases of dementia, along with vascular dementia, but there are also a large number of dementia cases caused by Dementia with Lewy bodies. In younger patients, inherited Alzheimers disease accounts for a large number of cases, but Huntington and Frontotemporal lobar degeneration is another cause.
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Whats The Difference Between Dementia And Mental Illness
Common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, forgetfulness, difficulty in understanding language, and impaired judgment.
On the other hand, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can cause hallucinations and delusions, which are not present with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Dementia is also characterized by a gradual decline, while mental illness usually presents itself in episodic phases that eventually end.
The key to understanding the difference between mental illness and dementia is recognizing two different illnesses with some similar and some unique symptoms. Dementia usually progresses slowly over time it also causes memory, language skills, judgment, or dispositions. Mental illnesses like anxiety disorders , bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can sometimes mimic the early stages of dementia because they cause difficulties in thinking for other reasons besides Alzheimer’s disease.
Professionals categorize cognition symptoms as mild or major, according to how severe they are. The most recognizable symptoms are challenges with planning, making decisions, staying focused, remembering things, and maintaining appropriate behavior around others.
As you might imagine, anyone wondering “Is Dementia A Mental Illness?” has more important questions that need to be answered and quickly.
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.
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How Long Can A Person Live With Alzheimers Disease
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.
Impacts Of Psychiatric Disorders On Dementia
Psychiatric disorders are frequently the main clinical focus because they bring about distress directly and can exacerbate other morbidity. These states increase the demands placed on relatives and other caregivers and, thus, the levels of caregiver stress, and they also result in higher rates of resource utilization. Psychiatric symptoms in dementia have also been linked to more severe cognitive and functional disabilities and faster progression to severe dementia and death. It has been estimated, for example, that nearly one-third of all dementia treatment costs are accounted for by psychiatric symptoms. These symptoms also shape the quality of life for many individuals with dementia. They are also major drivers of transfers to residential care, where they cause higher morbidity and strain on caregivers.
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The Clinical Features Of Dementia Include:
The symptoms of dementia may present as cognitive or psychological, and the range of symptoms and the potential severity of impact to the individual is far-reaching.
Overall, the clinical features of dementia include:
- Disintegration of memory memories, people, places, knowledge
- Language and verbal problems understanding, perception, reasoning, and expression
- Problems with attention, concentration, losing things
- Problems with decision making, using logic, good judgment, planning
- Less efficiency with activities of daily living, work duties, and motor skills
- Behavioral and psychological symptoms aggression, wandering, depression, anxiety, apathy, low initiative, inappropriate behavior, frequent mood changes
- Personality and intellectual disintegration
- Delusions and/or hallucinations, paranoia
Progression of Dementia
The progression seen with dementia is not linear, and the rate of cognitive malfunction, or the severity of the symptoms, may not map to a commonly understood course. Some patients switch between the different stages. Sometimes a behavior like walking off on ones own may appear in an early stage and later stop or reverse, but something like the impact to ones memory will likely only worsen.
In loose terms, dementia is a general term for a mild, moderate, or severe decline in cognitive function because of abnormal changes to the brain.
EARLY OR MILD DEMENTIA
MILD OR MODERATE DEMENTIA
LATE OR SEVERE DEMENTIA
Other symptoms of this phase include:
What Types Of Tests Can Be Expected
At the initial diagnostic appointment, the doctor will examine the patient physically and ask questions about medical history and symptoms related to memory loss. Its helpful to bring a family member to answer some of these questions during this first appointment. During this visit, cognitive tests will typically be conducted to measure focus, memory, and decision-making skills. This appointment doesnt have to be difficult, as most physicians are empathetic and kind when discussing concerns with a patient and their family.
If the doctor feels that more exploration of possible brain health issues is required, his team will schedule brain scans, blood tests, and a psychiatric evaluation.
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What Is Mixed Dementia
It is common for people with dementia to have more than one form of dementia. For example, many people with dementia have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Researchers who have conducted autopsy studies have looked at the brains of people who had dementia, and have suggested that most people age 80 and older probably have mixed dementia caused by a combination of brain changes related to Alzheimer’s disease,vascular disease-related processes, or another condition that involves the loss of nerve cell function or structure and nerve cell death .
Scientists are investigating how the underlying disease processes in mixed dementia start and influence each other. Further knowledge gains in this area will help researchers better understand these conditions and develop more personalized prevention and treatment strategies.
Other conditions that cause dementia-like symptoms can be halted or even reversed with treatment. For example, normal pressure hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, often resolves with treatment.
Researchers have also identified many other conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms. These conditions include:
In Addition To The Aforementioned Causes Of Reversible Or Pseudo
- Older age more so for many people above the age of 65. Even still, dementia is not considered normal at any age, and it can present in people well before they hit 65.
- A family history of dementia It doesnt automatically mean someone will get it. In contrast, there are people who develop dementia when there is no family history of the condition.
- Downs syndrome aging combined with the syndrome often results in many developing a form of dementia that is, or is like, Alzheimers by middle age.
- Heavy alcohol use defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse as consuming 4 or more drinks per day for men, and 3 or more per day for women.
- Cardiovascular issues including high cholesterol and blood pressure. These risks can often be reduced with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Untreated depression risk can be reduced by working with a mental health professional to treat the depression.
- Obstructive sleep apnea a treatable condition.
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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