Dementia or Mental Illness?

Dementia or Mental Illness?

As people live longer, mental illnesses such as dementia and other cognitive disorders are being seen more. Correspondingly, detecting and understanding these disorders is becoming more important to better help patients deal with the sometimes devastating effects on their health and lives.

Cognitive decline is frightening because, unlike purely physical aliments, mental disorders can cause a person to change who they are and how they act. Even basic, core personality sometimes will alter in dramatic ways; for no reason other than the change in how the person’s brain works. While losing memory or the normal everyday skills we need to function as a member of society can be frightening, for some it is equally, or more, terrifying to face a reality where your loved ones no longer see you as who you once were. Worse, when you yourself can’t see the changes, or recognize that you’re no longer the same person.

Complicating these conditions is how they often lack any physical markers doctors can test for, or see. Many illnesses of the mind are nebulous when it comes to a conclusive physically based diagnosis. Some cognitive disorders can present as others, delaying both a proper diagnosis and any possible treatment that might improve the patient’s condition. Regular mental health evaluations by trained professionals is the only possible source of help, and should not be ignored as a person ages.

Key Points:

  • 1It is estimated that only about 10% of individuals who have a bipolar disorder will have an onset after age 50.
  • 2Bipolar disorder in seniors is treated much like it is in adults, however, some mood stabilizers like lithium must be used cautiously as senior kidneys cannot clear the drug efficiently.
  • 3Therapy needs in the geriatric age group differ from those who are younger adults it is important to take life changes into consideration.

It took a few months, but gradually her outbursts calmed and our evenings became peaceful again

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Do you need help in the area of Dementia Care?  Check out this available resource:  Fit Minds Family Caregiver Program


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