Seeing a person exhibit dementia symptoms can be baffling and scary which may bring up the question do people with dementia know they have it?
It is important to note that this neurodegenerative disease affects people differently.
The fact, however, is that dementia is a progressive illness that destroys brain cells over time.
Are dementia patients aware of their condition?
This implies that a person who has the disease may notice that there is something different going on in their lives but they may not necessarily know that they have the disease.
People become aware of the changes
Some people with dementia may go about their lives oblivious to what is going on in their brains.
A report from Johns Hopkins in 2018 revealed that a majority of people living with dementia do not know about their diagnosis.
Some of these people might suffer from anosognosia which is a result of cell damage in the parietal and right pre-frontal lobes.
Other people may notice the physical changes, mental limitations, and behaviors that the ill person showcases but they will remain adamant that nothing is wrong.
This creates challenges for caregivers because they will be dealing with someone who thinks they are fine; thus, they do not need to take the necessary measures to treat symptoms and increase longevity because dementia does not have a cure to date.
The majority of people with dementia don’t know they have it
These are people who can refuse to take medicine, or insist that they can go to work or the store even when it is not safe to do so.
For such a group, if you ask the question do people with dementia know they have it, the answer will be a resounding no.
This is, however, not to state that every single person with the illness does not know they have it.
Some individuals may actually know depending on the stage dementia is diagnosed.
Developing dementia can be a stressful time for the affected person.
One day they might be living their lives “normally” and the next they can only recognize their family or friends without perhaps remembering their name among an array of other symptoms.
At this point, a person might think that they are experiencing normal forgetfulness that mostly happens as humans grow older but it may not be the case.
For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice when you suspect that there is something wrong with your health.
This will help get the proper diagnosis to know how to deal with the conditions heads on.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Even for people without the disease, it is not easy to tell whether a person has dementia or not, the reason a doctor’s intervention is necessary.
It is because in most cases, dementia is only diagnosed when the symptoms start showing up and for some individuals, the disease may have progressed considerably.
This is one of the things that also makes it difficult to give a straight answer to the question do people with dementia know they have it.
There are some early warning signs, however, that may point towards a person having dementia.
Some of the most common ones include:
- Memory loss
- Challenges performing common tasks
- Social withdrawal
- Communication problems
- Having trouble making decisions
- Changes in behavior
If you notice that a loved one has the above symptoms, go in for a diagnosis to know the way forward. It is ideal to do it as soon as possible.
After a positive diagnosis, many people may understand what is going on, but this may change after some time when the disease becomes worse.