Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eldercare Question: Dementia or Depression? Alike, Yet Vastly Different

Dementia is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases.  So says Jerry Mixon, MD, and Founder of Longevity Medical Clinic in Seattle.  And Mixon is not alone in thinking so.

If your aging parent begins to forget things or have trouble concentrating, he or she may may not be suffering from dementia.  Instead,  depression might be the culprit.

It's easy to mistake Dementia and Depression.  They have the following symptoms in common: 

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Loss of interest
  • Poor concentration
  • Loss of appetite/weight
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Memory impairment
There are differences, though.  

Depression can cause:
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt/regret
  • Thoughts of suicide
Dementia can cause:
  • Difficulty organizing or losing things
  • Language difficulty
  • Incontinence
If in doubt, take your aging parent to his or her physician.  A correct diagnosis is the first step toward treatment.  

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