Contrary to popular beliefs, dementia is not a single disorder; it is an overall term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that are characterized by a severe decline in an individual’s memory or thinking capacity and affects the person’s ability to perform daily activities. People often attribute dementia to old age, which is true to a certain extent; however, not every individual who goes through the aging process develops dementia.
The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, FrontoTemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), Dementia with Lewy bodies, Huntington’s disease, Alcohol-related dementia (Korsakoff’s syndrome), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Each of these types of dementia has varying underlying causes. Before dementia can surface completely, certain symptoms emerge that is indicative that the disorder is in progress.
The early symptoms of dementia are as follows:
Alterations in the short-term memory
Dementia is characterized by changes or complete loss of memory. One of the earliest symptoms of dementia is that the individual might experience subtle changes to their short-term memory. This means that the person can remember things that happened years ago but might have difficulty in recalling what he had for lunch. Other symptoms of such alterations to the short-term memory might include forgetting where they left things or struggling to remember why they entered a particular room.
Change in the mood or behavior
People with dementia often experience a prominent shift in their mood, but they fail to recognize this change in themselves. The individual with dementia might feel low or depressed all the time, and depression is one of the early symptoms of dementia. Also, this shift in mood can affect the individual’s behavior; a person who was quite enthusiastic about social gatherings might become irritated and withdrawn at such occasions.
Problems with language
People with dementia often experience problem communicating their thoughts to the other person since they tend to forget certain words to express what they feel. They often forget words and cannot get their message across and this makes communicating with a person with dementia quite difficult. Experiencing problems with language is one of the early symptoms of dementia.
Experiencing difficulties with abstract thinking
It is common knowledge that people with dementia have difficulty focusing on things and cannot gauge situations as effectively as they used to. Such people often experience difficulties with abstract thinking since it requires them to think hard and make crucial decisions. People with dementia often experience difficulty in managing finances; they experience trouble knowing what the numbers mean or what is to be done with them.
People with dementia often lose interest in the hobbies they once cherished. They often become indifferent towards people whose company they enjoyed. Their failing mental ability causes them to be apathetic toward everyone and appear to be emotionally flat.
With failing memory, people with dementia often experience confusion; they have memory lapses, can no longer recognize faces, forget their usual routine, and so on. Being confused is one of the symptoms that indicate the onset of dementia.
Struggling to adapt to changes
The early symptoms of dementia, such as loss of memory or inability to think practically, can have a drastic impact on an individual who used to be apt at such things. Experiencing such symptoms can induce fear in the individual and they struggle to adapt to the changes in themselves. This difficulty in adapting to changes can prompt the individual to isolate themselves.