Dementia: Symptoms and Treatment

The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

Dementia is a common mental illness that often affects older people. It involves the loss of proper cognitive functioning to the degree that it degrades the person’s everyday life. 

While dementia is most common among older people, it should not be considered as a “normal” part of aging. You may have already heard of Alzheimer’s Disease, which is one particular form of dementia. 

As we all need to pay more attention to mental health—for example, how technology can affect it—it is helpful to learn about particular mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or dementia. This is especially true if you happen to have an older relative or are responsible for the care of an older person. 

So, read on to learn more about dementia, including its most common symptoms and what treatment options there are. 

What Leads to Dementia? 

Dementia, unfortunately, still remains a largely mysterious disease. The causes can vary widely depending on the type of changes in the brain that are occurring. 

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In any case, research has shown that living a healthier lifestyle may help prevent mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising, and refraining from tobacco and alcohol. 

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If you need more guidance on dementia, you can also consider the helpful resources available through BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/dementia/

Dementia Signs and Symptoms

Dementia is not simply about memory loss, as we often think of it and as it is often represented in the media and film. 

In general, however, dementia is brought about by the degradation of brain cells. This leads to various signs and symptoms that can help diagnose dementia. 

Here are some of the more common signs and symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty with verbal expression and comprehension
  • The inability to recognize familiar places
  • Trouble with finances and calculations
  • Repeating the same questions and statements
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • A lack of empathy
  • Balance and movement issues
  •  Losing interest in normal activities
  • Taking longer to complete normal activities 

As you can see, there are many possible signs and symptoms for dementia. Paying close attention to them can help with the diagnosis of dementia by a professional. 

Treatment for Dementia 

Dementia may be treatable if there is some underlying condition that is causing it. This condition must be identifiable and treatable itself, however. For example, if a brain tumor is causing the issue, then doctors would attempt to treat the brain tumor. If done so successfully, it may help diminish the dementia and/or prevent it from worsening. 

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Generally speaking, doctors will conduct various tests in order to try to pinpoint the precise origin of the dementia, if possible. This may include cognitive tests, neurological tests, brain scans, psychiatric evaluations, blood tests, and genetic tests. 

While some symptoms of dementia may be treatable, there is not yet a cure for dementia or diseases related to it such as Alzheimer’s, though scientists are actively working on finding one. 

Conclusion

Dementia can be a heartbreaking illness to witness. This makes it vitally important that there’s a better understanding of the illness among the general population. By being able to recognize signs and symptoms, we will be better positioned to help people who may have dementia get help sooner rather than later. Time, as with most if not all illnesses, is of the essence. 

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