Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease

What you should know about depression and Alzheimer’s Disease.

In many cases, Alzheimer’s disease patients will most often fight bouts of depression. Although depression can be directly related as a symptom of the disease, it can also be caused by factors not connected with the disease. Depression is not only one symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, but it can also cause doctors to misdiagnose a patient as having the disease.

In the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient is commonly aware of their impairment, causing their emotions to be mixed. Often the patient will become confused, or even frightened about what their future may hold in store. These mixed emotions can often lead to depression for both the Alzheimer’s patient and their family members.

Vascular Dementia And Depression

Many times, memory loss in an older individual is automatically assumed to be Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss is also a symptom of depression. There have been noted cases where close family members of an older individual had complete belief that their relative had Alzheimer’s disease. But when these older individuals had a diagnostic tests, their ailments were diagnosed as treatable depression.

Alternatively, if a older person is suffering from both Alzheimer’s disease, as well as depression, the depression can often be treated and improved.

As mentioned previously, many Alzheimer’s patients often suffer with symptoms of depressive illness.

These symptoms can include:

  • frequent crying spells
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • decrease in appetite
  • feelings of restlessness
  • reluctance to become involved in activities

Frequent crying spells, and feelings of hopelessness are classic symptoms of depression. If the person affected by the depression has Alzheimer’s disease, as well, they may be unable to help with their own daily needs, much less able to assist with their depression. It is very important for close relatives and caretakers of Alzheimer’s disease patients to watch for these symptoms, and act at once if they are present. A person with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease may not be able to express that they need help.

Depression And Dementia Risk

When an Alzheimer’s disease patient is suffering with depression as well as Alzheimer’s disease, there may be some other noticeable changes in their behavior such as:

  • decreased vocabulary
  • decreasing motor skills
  • failing memory

If symptoms such as these are apparent in an Alzheimer’s disease patient, it is very possible they are suffering from some sort of depression. Should this be the case then it is best to seek professional assistance immediately.

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