A. The development of multiple cognitive deficits manifested by both
(1) memory impairment (impaired ability to learn new information or to recall previously learned information)
(2) one (or more) of the following cognitive disturbances:
B. The cognitive deficits in Criteria A1 and A2 each cause significant impairment in social or occupational functioning and represent a significant decline from a previous level of functioning.
C. The course is characterized by gradual onset and continuing cognitive decline.
D. The cognitive deficits in Criteria A1 and A2 are not due to any of the following:
(1) other central nervous system conditions that cause progressive deficits in memory and cognition (e.g., cerebrovascular disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, subdural hematoma, normal-pressure hydrocephalus, brain tumor)
(2) systemic conditions that are known to cause dementia (e.g., hypothyroidism, vitamin B or folic acid deficiency, niacin deficiency, hypercalcemia, neurosyphilis, HIV infection)
(3) substance-induced conditions
E. The deficits do not occur exclusively during the course of a delirium.
F. The disturbance is not better accounted for by another Axis I disorder (e.g., Major Depressive Episode, Schizophrenia).
With Early Onset: if onset is at age 65 years or below
With Late Onset: if onset is after age 65 years
Someone suffering from dementia is often thought of as an older person. While this is generally the rule it is not always true and someone under the age of 65 can show dementia symptoms – this is called early onset dementia.
Dementia is categorized by two main features – memory, and cognitions.
Memory problems in dementia sufferers are severe. All of us suffer from lapses in memory but the severity of memory problems in a dementia patient is much more severe. These kinds of memory problems are forgetting where you are, forgetting who you are, forgetting those that are close to you such as friends or family members. Memory difficulties also make it hard to learn new information and a dementia patient has a very reduced ability to learn anything new, even simple tasks.
Cognition difficulties are put into three main categories by mental health professionals – aphasia, apraxia, and agnosia.
Aphasia is difficulty with language, such as trouble saying out loud what the name of an item is even if they know the name, or trouble structuring a sentence.
Apraxia is deals with motor functions such as being able to tie shoes or eat with a fork.
Agnosia is when they can't remember what things are called or can't recall the titles or labels for things – such as forgetting what the remote control is called.
Dementia sufferers can look drastically different due to these three criteria. Not every patient has the same set of symptoms – it depends on which areas of their brain are being impacted.
Dementia is caused by the death or damage of brain cells. There are many reasons that contribute to dementia although its exact cause is not known. Risk factors for dementia include:
There is no cure for dementia, however, traditional psychotherapy can help to cope with the symptoms and changes associated with dementia. Often times the family of a dementia patient should seek out psychotherapy or social work assistance to help learn about environment changes necessary to take care of a dementia patient.