Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Dementia isn’t a or disease, but a conglomeration of symptoms. You might associate dementia with memory loss. That is one of the signs; however, there are many other symptoms of dementia. It impacts how a person functions on a daily basis and severely affects their cognitive functioning. Dementia can impact a person’s executive functioning skills, motor function, and cause the person to have personality shifts. A person suffering from dementia may be moody and engage in unpredictable behavior. They might display strange thinking or act erratically.
Memory loss or impairment is one of the most commons symptoms of dementia. A person who has the condition will struggle to remember common words for objects or the names of people they love. It can be disturbing to the individuals loved ones to see them struggle to recognize those who are close to them. Here are some of the other symptoms that a person with dementia may experience.
Some of the psychological symptoms of dementia can be disturbing to the person experiencing them and their loved ones. Watching a loved one struggle with dementia can be heartbreaking. They might not remember who you are or the memories you’ve shared. Remember that dementia is a condition that affects many people in their later years, and just because your loved one doesn’t remember something significant, it doesn’t mean they don’t value it. You can still treasure the memories you have together.
Dementia and traumatic brain injury are linked. Head injuries can contribute to or cause dementia in people. Extensive research has been conducted on the link between dementia and TBI, and there is a correlation between the two conditions. People who have had a traumatic brain injury are at severe risk for developing Alzheimer's disease or another condition that has dementia as a symptom.
One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. In people over 65 Alzheimer’s is the most likely cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s doesn’t have a cure, but there are some things can slow down the progression of the illness.
Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of the condition. It occurs when blood vessels in the brain become damaged. It occurs most frequently in elderly populations. However, it can happen to younger people as well. Strokes can sometimes cause vascular dementia.
Immune Disorders and Infections
Fevers and immune disorders can cause dementia-like signs. When your body is trying to fight disease, it might react by creating these symptoms. Multiple Sclerosis is an illness where the body's immune system attacks nerve cells. People with MS sometimes experience symptoms that resemble dementia.
Metabolic Issues and Endocrine Problems
Individuals who have thyroid problems, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and those people who have too much sodium or calcium can experience dementia-like signs. People who have difficulty with vitamin B-12 absorption may develop symptoms that resemble dementia. They may also undergo severe personality changes.
Nutritional deficiencies are another cause of Dementia. People who don’t drink enough water and become dehydrated can experience symptoms that are similar to dementia. When an individual doesn’t get enough thiamine (vitamin B-1), they can have dementia-like symptoms. People who are alcoholics are commonly deficient in B-1. When you don’t get enough vitamins B-6 and B-12 from food or supplements, this can cause dementia-like symptoms.
Whether you are someone who is experiencing dementia or a person whose loved one has the condition, talking to an experienced licensed counselor can help. It’s important to express your feelings and get support dealing with a situation that can feel hopeless. Online counseling is an excellent option to explore. It’s convenient, and many providers specialize in dementia and related conditions. Treating a loved one with dementia can be complicated. Talking to an online counselor can teach you ways to communicate with them. Patience is critical, and remember to engage in self-care. You can’t support your loved one if you don’t help yourself first. You can learn ways to help treat the loved one’s dementia in counseling. While there is no cure, there are ways to slow it down so you can spend more time with the person you love who is living with dementia.