Is it depression or dementia?

 

I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and along with that I am experiencing many symptoms that led me to believe I was in the early stage of dementia, like my Mom (who is now in the late stage).  They were so disturbing to me that I asked my doctor for a referral to the Geriatrician who diagnosed my Mom with Lewy Body Dementia.  The doctor asked me a lot of questions and gave me the test that is used to make a diagnosis.  Thankfully, she assured me that I do not have dementia.  She also said that it is not unusual for family and caregivers of those with dementia to be on high alert for signs of the disease in themselves.  She believes that my symptoms of forgetfulness, lack of concentration and focus,  inability to make decisions or multi task, etc are most likely due to my depression & anxiety (and possibly a side effect of some of the medications I am taking as well, for other conditions).  Read this article from Very Well for more information about the cognitive symptoms that can affect someone with depression.  Bottom Line as I understand it – if you know you are forgetting; it’s likely not dementia.  Those with dementia do not have the brain chemical to know they have forgotten.  Of course, having said all of this, I am not suggesting that it is always the case for every person with depression and can’t or won’t be dementia – only a trained physician can make that call.  But I am saying that there is hope. Depression is said to be treatable.  I fear having dementia more than any other disease because I see what my Mom’s life has been reduced to by this terminal disease.  I feel helpless.  The only thing I can do for her now is to give her love and affection.  She may not know who I am but she knows that I love her.  (I can tell by the smiles and hugs in return)

Very Well.com is an excellent resource for articles about dementia, such as Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer’s.   Take some time to visit verywell.com.  I think you will find some interesting and informative articles there – not only on dementia, they have lots of topics under the categories of Conditions, Living Well, Family and Health Care.  It appears that they take the time to update articles too as new information becomes available.  I hope to read one day about the cure that has been discovered for dementia!

Alzheimers: Strategies to Head Off or Deal With Behavior Problems

http://tinyurl.com/cng63v6

Alzheimers: Strategies to Head Off or Deal With Behavior Problems

by Dementia and Hallucinations, dementiatoday.com February 29th 2012

Pay attention to what the individual with dementia is saying—both verbally and non-verbally.

Caregivers also should be aware of their communication techniques, including providing one-step instructions and speaking in a reassuring tone.

Think ahead and plan for situations that could result in problem behaviors. Understand that trying to argue with someone who has dementia only results in frustration for both them and the caregiver.

Distract and divert attention whenever possible.

Hold to the same routine.
Keep things simple to avoid frustration.

Promote a sense of security and comfort. Use positive reinforcements, such as smiles, a gentle touch, personal attention and praise.

Allow the individual to have some sense of control. Being able to “save face” is important to someone who is very confused.

Maintain a calm manner even when the individual becomes aggressive or agitated. This can defuse a tense situation and help reduce a person’s fears.

Assess the situation to protect yourself. Should an individual’s aggression become violent, be mindful of your own safety first.

Caregivers should practice ways to reduce stress when they become angry or frustrated, since anger and frustration could aggravate a behavior problem. Remember that behavior problems result from the disease. Do not take things that the person says and does personally; it is the disease speaking.

Be creative and use common sense. Try to keep a sense of humor even in the most difficult situations.