Dementia is not a specific illness. It is a collection of symptoms caused by a range of possible diseases. The most common of these is Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly. Dementia symptoms include inhibitions on thought, communication, and memory.
If a family member or a friend is having trouble with their memory do not immediately assume it is dementia. A person needs at least two forms of mental impairment interfering with everyday life to be diagnosed with dementia. Other forms of mental impairments include difficulties with language, communication, focus, and reasoning. Early signs and symptoms of dementia can warn family member or friends to seek out treatment for people with dementia to improve their quality of life.
Subtle Short-Term Memory Loss – The trouble with memory can be an early symptom of dementia. The shift is typically subtle and the struggles tend to be with short-term memory. For example, an older person may be able to remember events that took place years ago, even as far back as early childhood but not what they had that morning for breakfast, where they left an item, why they entered a room, or what they were supposed to do on any given day.
Struggling to Find the Correct Words – Struggling to communicate is another early symptom of dementia. A person with dementia may struggle to explain themselves or to find the words needed to express themselves. As a result, having a conversation with a person with dementia can be challenging. You will have to be patient with them as they struggle through communication.
Changes in Emotional State – Another early symptom is a drastic change in overall mood. For those with dementia, it is challenging to have the self-awareness to see this shift but it is easier to notice in someone else. For example, depression is common in the early stages of dementia. You may see a shift in general personality. One common shift is dementia sufferers going suddenly from shy to outgoing. The condition often affects judgment causing personality shifts.
Apathy – Another common early symptom of dementia is apathy. A person with dementia could lose interest in former hobbies or activities. They may not want to go out or do anything fun. They might lose interest in spending time with their friends and family. They might seem emotionally flat.
Struggling with Basic Familiar Tasks – Early dementia symptoms can include a subtle change in someone’s ability to complete basic tasks. The process often starts with more understandable difficulties like struggling to balance a checkbook or play a rule-heavy board game. As they struggle with tasks they once did with ease, they may also struggle to learn new information or routines.
Confusion – Someone with dementia might become confused often and easily. As they can no longer remember faces, find the right words, have sound judgment, they may feel confused. An example of this type of confusion is someone misplacing something like”losing” their car keys, forgetting what day of the week it is, or having difficulty remember someone they have met.
Inability to Adapt to Change – In the early stages of dementia, the person in question can feel fearful. They cannot remember people or follow what others are saying quite suddenly. As a result, they may crave routine and not want to try new things. They also may withdraw themselves from socializing.
A study from 2011, supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse, stated that: “it may represent a novel therapeutic approach for this neurological disease” in reference to Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. Some articles have introduced CBD as a cutting-edge treatment for dementia. Studies have found cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant, could help prevent or treat dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.