Is Dementia Neurological or Psychological

is dementia neurological or psychological

There is a huge ongoing debate on the question is dementia neurological or psychological. Some experts claim that it is both neurological and psychological.

Others state that the disease is psychological while others vehemently say that dementia is neurological.

According to the American Psychological Association, researchers are learning new details of the underlying processes that cause various types of dementia thanks to advancements in neuroimaging; hence, it may be clear in the future whether dementia is psychological or neurological.

WHO (World Health Organization) also proposed that dementia diagnoses should now be classified as “disease of the nervous system instead of a behavioral or mental disorder.

These changes might imply that some health care experts will be exempt from offering dementia diagnostic assessment as well as an intervention that may lead to reduced access and quality care for persons who have dementia.

Is Dementia a Neurological Disorder?

dementia neurological disorder
Experts who state that dementia is a neurological illness when answering the query is dementia neurological or psychological say so because they believe that the illness involves damage or malfunction to the nervous systems which is made up of the nerves, spinal cord, and brain.

ARC (Advance Rehab Centre) explains that dementia is a progressive neurological condition.

For this reason, it is advisable for persons who think they have dementia to visit a neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect the brain, nerves, and spinal cord.

They carry out neurological exams in a bid to look at reflexes, sensory function, balance, and other functions.

Dementia neurological signs

The professionals are also helpful when it comes to detecting some of the dementia signs like:

  • Memory issues
  • Reduced concentration
  • Problems completing familiar day to day tasks
  • Personality changes
  • Increased disorientation
  • Communication problems
  • Poor decision-making amongst others

Is Dementia a Psychological Disease?

dementia psychological disease
Professionals who claim that dementia is psychological also make a strong argument.

Dementia psychological symptoms

The disease presents various psychological and behavioral symptoms that include:

Psychologists play a major role when it comes to dementia.

They can help assess dementia in persons who are suspected to have the illness.

They can also offer counseling and education for the persons with the illness as well as their loved ones on how to best cope with the neurodegenerative illness.

Psychologists can offer their professional services to persons with dementia in multiple settings including hospitals, clinics, homes, and residential care facilities.

It is, however, important to note that dementia is not necessarily a mental illness because it is a persistent or chronic disorder of the mental process that is a result of brain injury or disease.

This said dementia is known to affect the mental health of a person who has the illness.

Closing Remarks

At this point, it is not easy to answer the question is dementia neurological or psychological.

This is mostly because the disease has some neurological aspects as well as psychological dimensions.

More research needs to be done to ascertain the category of the disease in regards to whether it is psychological or neurological.

Is Dementia a Neurological Disorder?

is dementia a neurological disorder

When talking about dementia, there is one question that may come up i.e. is dementia a neurological disorder?

To answer this, it is important to know the definition of a neurological disorder.

This is a disease of the peripheral and central nervous system according to WHO (World Health Organization).

Simply put, these are disorders of the spinal cord, brain, muscles, nerve roots, cranial nerves, autonomic nervous system, peripheral nerves, and neuromuscular junction.

Going by this explanation of what neurological disorders are, it is right to categorize dementia as a progressive neurological disorder.

Read on to uncover some of the reasons why dementia is a neurological illness.

Why Dementia is Categorized as a Neurological Condition

why dementia is categorized as a neurological condition
To start off, it is vital to mention that dementia develops when parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, language, and decision making are diseased or damaged.

These abnormalities that happen in the brain confirm that dementia is indeed a neurological disorder.

You will also notice that some of the causes of dementia are similar to those that lead to the development of certain neurological disorders.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that a person may ask is dementia a neurological disease.

While the specific causes of neurological conditions vary, they include genetic disorders, infections, lifestyle-related causes, environmental influences, nutritional-related causes, and brain/physical injuries.

On the other hand, some of the most common dementia causes include traumatic brain injuries that may be as a result of concussions, car accidents, and falls, etc.

Central nervous system infections are also known to contribute to the development of dementia.

These can include HIV, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and Meningitis, etc.

Although a huge percentage of dementia cases are not hereditary, there are some rare dementia cases that have strong genetic links.

Additionally, various degenerative neurological disorders are also known to cause dementia. These may include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, Huntington’s disease, and frontotemporal lobar dementia.

Experts also recommend that people change their eating and lifestyle habits to healthier options as a way of preventing dementia development or managing the illness.

Signs of Neurologic Disorders and Dementia

signs of neurologic disorders and dementia
When someone asks is dementia a neurological disorder, it can help to discuss some of the neurological signs that a person with the neurodegenerative disease can showcase like:

Emotional Symptoms

emotional symptoms
Persons with dementia may experience different emotional symptoms. These vary from one individual to the next, and can also depend on the stage of the illnesses.

The most common neurological emotional symptoms that the weak person experiences may include:

Physical Symptoms

physical symptoms
Persons with dementia may also experience physical symptoms of neurological problems like:

1. Muscle weakness

2. Numbness

Some people will go through complete or partial sensation loss.

In such a case, a person may not feel any sensation that relates to temperature, pain, vibration, or touch.

Some cases are severe, where an individual cannot properly use their body parts; thus, have problems in driving, coordination, walking, balance, or completing any type of physical work including day-to-day activities.

3. Paralysis

This happens when a person loses muscle function in the body. It can be partial or complete and can occur on both or one side of the body.

4. Difficulties in speech, writing, and reading

A high percentage of people who have dementia will also have problems with communication where they cannot speak clearly. Some will also lose the ability to read and write well.

5. Seizures

These are sudden electrical disturbances of the brain that a person cannot control. They often affect levels of consciousness, feelings, movement, and behaviors.

Most seizures last between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

6. Reduced alertness

Concentration levels of people with dementia may also reduce. They may not be able to hold long conversations or concentrate on a task long enough to complete it even when it was something they did easily before they got sick.

7. Diminishing cognitive abilities

diminishing cognitive abilities
This is where an individual has trouble with things like learning new things, making decisions, and memory that affects their day to day life negatively.

8. Body aches or pain

Most people with dementia will suffer unexplainable pain. An individual may experience chronic headaches, neck pain, pain in the joints and muscles, and back pain amongst others.

9. Sleep issues

Some individuals with dementia will either experience hypersomnia where a person sleeps excessively or insomnia where an individual does not get enough sleep.

The above are just a few warning signs that are an indication that there is a problem in the neurological system.

People with dementia will experience a majority of the warning signs.

This goes to show that yes, is the answer to the question is dementia a neurological disorder.

Dementia Patients Visiting Neurologists

dementia patients visiting neurologists
Neurologists form part of the professional team that takes care of persons who have dementia.

The medical experts specialize in diagnosing, managing, and treating disorders of the spinal cord, nervous system, and brain.

It is best for a person who has dementia to consult a neurologist when they have problems with personality changes, speaking, clearly, thinking, and remembering.

A neurologist can also help detect some of the dementia warning signs for a person who has not yet gotten a positive diagnosis. They mostly do this by conducting a neurological exam and cognitive tests.

This helps the neurologist to evaluate an individual for problems that may point to brain disorders other than dementia.

The physician may look for signs of strokes, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, fluid accumulation in the brain, and other health conditions that may impair thinking or memory.

Some of the areas that the physician’s test include:

  • Coordination, muscle tone, and strength
  • Reflexes
  • Sensation
  • Speech
  • Eye movement

In some cases, the neurological exam may also include studies of brain imaging.

The fact that neurological exams are part of the medical tests that professionals conduct to check whether a person has dementia helps to answer the query is dementia a neurological disorder on the positive side.

Closing Thoughts

When a person asks is dementia a neurological disorder, it is safe to say that yes it is.

This is mostly because neurodegenerative disorder is a result of damage to parts of the brain and it shares many warning signs with other neurological disorders.

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