Dementia is a debilitating illness that predominately occurs in the elderly. It is a mental illness that starts off gradually with increased forgetfulness, or limited social interactions and can progress into more severe issues, such as wandering off or the ability to care for oneself. The John Hopkins Medical University reports that it is a very common illness among the elderly, with over three million reported cases each year. Dementia requires a medical diagnosis and it should also be mentioned that to have Dementia is not a singular issue, but a collection of impairments.
For example, Dementia can be the cause of other medical issues, such as microscopic bleeding in the brain, blockage of blood traveling in the brain, or thyroid issues. Some of these aspects of Dementia can be treated and even reversed with aggressive medical treatment from doctors and psychiatrists via medication. A vitamin deficiency may also cause symptoms of dementia, which is usually reversible. Other serious medical conditions may present falsely as Dementia, so it is important that if you notice a change in yourself or your loved one to seek help, the sooner the better.
Treatment for Dementia varies, as it depends on the severity or type of Dementia, such as Alzheimers. Dementia does not cause death, but it has been found to be a contributing factor due to the lack of blood flow in the brain. For the loved ones of those that suffer from Dementia, it can be extremely difficult to deal with as they watch their loved one seemingly fade away. The stress that the family members experience can be overwhelming, and some may benefit from speaking with a mental healthcare professional for emotional support.
Watching a loved one suffer from Dementia can feel like an overwhelming and terrifying experience, as well as experiencing symptoms of Dementia. If you find yourself on either side of the fence of this tragic illness, please do not hesitate to contact my office. You do not have to face this alone, and I would love to help guide you through these difficult days.