What is Dementia?

Dementia is a condition that takes into account several symptoms and is a general term that can be applied to different circumstances.

Risk of dementia increase with ages. In order for a condition to be classified as dementia, there must be at least two or more symptoms from the list below and it must be serious enough that it affects one’s daily quality of life.

Dementia can be degenerative (meaning that it is due to death of brain cells and not reversible) or non-degenerative (meaning that it is a side effect of an injury, medication, or a deficiency in vitamins.

What are the Symptoms of Dementia?

Dementia symptoms may be noticed by the person who has dementia or they may only be noticed by caregivers.

Symptoms include

  • Short term memory loss (for example, asking the same questions over and over again)
  • Language difficulties; being unable to come up with the right words or using incorrect words to communicate.
  • Losing things
  • Getting lost in familiar areas
  • Forgetting how to do things like making coffee or tying shoes
  • Problems with abstract thinking (like simple math)
  • Sudden or severe changes in mood
  • Sudden or sever personality changes
  • Lack of initiative to do things like going out or eating

How is Dementia Treated?

The type of treatment recommended by a doctor will depend on whether dementia is degenerative or non-degenerative. If dementia is degenerative there is no cure so treatment will focus on care and minimizing the side effects.

Non- degenerative dementia can sometimes be treated with medications like Donepezil, Alantamine, Rivastigmine, or Tacrine. Other drugs that may be used include memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors.

Last Reviewed:
October 05, 2016
Last Updated:
September 06, 2017