Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

The term Dementia has been with us for a very long time. It was used in 50 BCE (est) by the Roman poet and philosopher Leucretius – its meaning “being out of one’s mind.”

During the late 19th century, a detailed classification of mental illnesses included “Dementia Praecox,” meaning early Dementia, to distinguish it from late-onset Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. Dementia Praecox was later renamed Schizophrenia in 1908.

Stages of Dementia

Dementia is a mental illness in which there is deterioration of memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia has been observed beginning as confusion and antisocial behavior with individuals as early as their late teens on into early adulthood. It then becomes “simple” Dementia marked by further slow withdrawal. The second stage of Dementia turns into delusional paranoia, manifesting in patients as an irrational sense of persecution and fear. They report being talked about and spied upon. Its third level, Hebephrenia, includes inappropriate emotional reactions and unintelligent speech patterns. The fourth stage, called catatonia, usually involves limited movement and facial expression. The patient may sit in the same position, often in the form of complete rigidness for hours, or rocking back and forth repeatedly.

Alzheimer’s Deterioration

Alzheimer’s Disease is a further continuation of the brain’s deterioration and can destroy even the brightest of minds. It strikes 3 percent of the world’s population by age 75 up to age 95. Brain cell degradation doubles approximately every 5 years.

Memory, then reasoning deteriorates as Alzheimer’s runs its course. During the course of 5 to 20 years, the patient becomes emotionally flat, then becomes disoriented and disinhibited, then incontinent, and finally mentally vacant – a form of living death. Sadly at this point the body is stripped of humanity.

Still a Mystery

As with Schizophrenia, studies have found enlarged, fluid-filled areas and a corresponding shrinkage of cerebral tissue affecting neuron activity, and production of unstable molecules called free radicals. Some patients also inherit a predisposition to certain brain abnormalities, but the actual cause for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease is not fully understood.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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