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Depression in Dementia

Depression in dementia

Dementia is  characterised by the degradation of memory, thinking, behavior and ability to perform daily activities. Everyone experiences extreme emotional suffering from time to time; it might be a one-time incident or even depression, which is a strong predictor of dementia. In general, depression is a chronic illness that might last for weeks or months. When a person is depressed, they may experience negative emotions, including sadness, despair, and a loss of interest in previously appreciated activities. 

It is estimated that about 10% of people aged 65 and over suffer from dementia.

How to know someone is depressed? Overall, the symptoms of depression in a healthy person are similar to those of a person suffering from dementia, although there are some minor but significant distinctions. The likelihood of developing dementia increases with age: among people in the age group of 65 to 74 years, about 5% of people suffer from dementia, and among people aged 85 years and older, about 30% of people suffer from dementia. Very rarely, dementia is found in people under 60 years of age.

As previously noted, depression is widespread in dementia patients, particularly in the early and middle stages. According to medical research, around 40% of people with this syndrome suffer from depression. In this article, Lone Star Neurology will discuss the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and therapy of depression in dementia.

 

How to Determine Depression in Dementia

Depression may impact people in various ways. There are four main stages of depression: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, and eventually acceptance. Common symptoms include feeling depressed, hopeless, or irritated over long periods. A person may lose interest or pleasure in previously favourite activities, feel worthless, guilty, or lack self-confidence.

 

There are many forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, accounting for 60-70% of all cases. Other common forms include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia (abnormal protein inclusions that form inside nerve cells), and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia (degeneration of the frontal lobe of the brain). 

According to one study, people who developed depression later in life had a 70% greater chance of dementia, while those who had been depressed since middle age had an 80% increased risk. Researchers have connected depression and dementia for a long time. 

 

Common Symptoms of Depression and Dementia

The following symptoms are common in both depression and dementia. They mainly include isolation, memory and attention problems:

  • Apathy
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Isolation
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of energy
  • Poor sleep
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Being unusually emotional, crying, angry, or agitated

symptoms of depression

Now, let’s consider these symptoms in more detail:

  • Apathy

An apathetic person suffering from depression and dementia will be less prone to engage in activities. They may also lack the energy and enthusiasm to do routine or everyday duties and rely on other people to plan and organize activities. They are not concerned about their issues or react emotionally to news or events.

  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies

Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and hobbies is a significant symptom of depression. As a result, you appear to be disconnecting from reality into a more passive period of life.

  • Isolation

Some people separate themselves from society, avoiding their friends, family, and formerly favourite pastime. According to research, the more people you communicate with, the slower the emergence of cognitive problems you have in this syndrome.

  • Trouble concentrating

A person with dementia who is depressed may have poor health as well as problems with their thinking and memory. It will be more difficult for a person to focus on completing a basic regular activity.

  • Lack of energy

Some people get tired a lot faster when they are depressed. They may say that they don’t have any energy. Depressed persons with dementia have agitation and restlessness feelings. Complaints and worries about a variety of physical conditions might be indicators of depression.

  • Poor sleep

Excessive sleep and difficulties falling or staying asleep can be symptoms of depression in dementia. The individual will sleep badly and will not get enough sleep.

  • Loss of appetite and weight

Depression with dementia might present itself in the patient’s eating habits. They tell that nothing tastes delicious now. A reduction in appetite can be caused by other medical illnesses, so mention this symptom to your doctor.

  • Being unusually emotional, crying, angry, or agitated

 

Significant distinctions between the symptoms of depression and dementia

However, there are significant distinctions between the symptoms of depression and dementia.

  • Depression progresses faster than other kinds of dementia. Dementia patients frequently experience difficulties with their speech and understanding of where they are and what time it is. This is rare in the case of depression. 
  • A depressed individual may pretend they can’t recall something but then recollect it when questioned. A person suffering from depression and dementia is unlikely to recall recent events and may attempt to conceal their memory loss
  • A person suffering from severe depression may experience difficulties with logic or remembering. However, this is most likely due to their lack of concentration. Their thinking and memory impairments should be improved with a special therapy

 

Causes of Depression in Dementia

If a person has already experienced depression, they are more likely to experience it again if they get dementia. Depression frequently has several causes, which vary greatly from person to person, including: 

 

  • Various health disorders or impairments (heart problems, breathing difficulties, chronic pain) and a history of traumatic or other diseases; 
  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Arterial thrombosis;
  • Severe atherosclerotic lesions of the neck and brain vessels;
  • Pharmaceutical side effects;
  • Social isolation or a lack of social support, or getting enough good-quality sleep; 
  • Consuming too much alcohol without worrying about money, relationships, or the future.

causes of depression

Take into account the answer to the question Can depression cause dementia?” Everyone experiences extreme emotional suffering from time to time; it might be a one-time incident or even depression, which is a strong predictor of dementia. Several studies have suggested that a very stressful incident may increase the risk of dementia.  

Additionally, vascular disease,  glucocorticoid hormone abnormalities, hippocampus shrinkage,  amyloid plaques increased accumulation, inflammatory changes, and nerve growth factor abnormalities are among the possible molecular processes connecting depression to dementia. 

 

Depression with Dementia Diagnosis

 A thorough examination by a medical professional is essential for diagnosis. There is no one-size-fits-all questionnaire for the diagnosis of depression in dementia.

diagnosing depression with dementia

  • However, there is the Cornell Screen for Depression in Dementia. It includes a series of questions that a person must respond to. It has questions about their appetite, weight loss, emotions, sleep, medical ailments, and behavior. A score of 18 or even above suggests severe depression, whereas a score of 10 or higher implies likely depression.

It is important to visit a senior psychiatrist who identifies and treats depression in older people. A medical history review, cognitive and emotional assessment, and conversations with family members who know the client well are all part of a depression evaluation.

 

How to Treat Depression in Dementia Patients

Although there is no actual way to avoid dementia as well as there is no depression in dementia treatment, patients may be able to minimize their risk by not just mild to moderate depression, but also by engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors like exercising, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining their minds busy with social events and games. Understanding they are at high risk for dementia might also help you and your family plan for it, making it less of a surprise later on.

how to treat depression in dementia

It is rarely beneficial to induce a person with this syndrome, telling them to “cheer up,” “snap out of it,” or “try harder.” Depressed people are rarely able to recover on their own, or without a lot of support, encouragement, and expert care.

If they are suffering from moderate depression, they may be provided with a support group or self-help activities and approaches. If a patient’s depression is severe or chronic, their doctor may prescribe an antidepressant in addition to sending them to talk therapy.

 

Bottom Line 

Most people experience attacks of sadness from time to time. When a person is depressed, however, a variety of bad sensations can take over their life, including melancholy, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities they used to love. Depression with dementia in patients has additional considerations, which Lone Star Neurology has discussed in this article.

 

FAQs 

  • How does depression affect a person with dementia?

Although depression affects mood, it can also cause impaired memory, poor concentration, and trouble making decisions, organizing, and beginning tasks. Depression not only impacts a person with dementia’s mood, but it may also increase their dementia symptoms.

  • Is depression common in dementia patients?

Dementia patients frequently experience depression. Depressive symptoms are thought to affect roughly 20-30% of persons with dementia. People in long-term residential care tend to be more vulnerable to depression.

  • What is the difference between dementia delirium and depression?

Delirium strikes suddenly (over a few hours or days), and the symptoms change throughout the day. Depression is defined as a negative change in mood that has lasted at least two weeks, whereas dementia develops gradually and insidiously.

  • Can dementia be caused by emotional trauma?

Several studies have suggested that a very stressful incident may increase the risk of dementia.  

  • Does depression occur in the early stages of dementia?

Depression is frequently recognized in the early stages of dementia. It can develop at any point. 

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Lone Star Neurology
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Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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