Mistaking Depression for Alzheimer's
By Gretchen Heuring | 06.21.2011
Sometimes depressed persons experience an emotional flatness. Nothing seems important and no experience seems to bring back
that familiar sparkle in the eye. It's as though they have gone numb from the inside out.
Often this form of depression is accompanied by forgetfulness and memory loss. It seems like the person might have Alzheimer's Disease.
Depression and dementia can have similar characteristics including low motivation, memory problems, and very slow reaction times. Let's take a careful look:
Symptoms of Depression
Mental decline is relatively rapid (and recoverable) over a period of days or weeks; the person may seem confused at times but knows the time of day or season, and where she is; she has difficulty concentrating and is forgetful; speaks slowly but communicates effectively; notices and may be worried about memory loss; and moves slowly as though under water or in pain.
A seriously depressed person might lose items or forget where they are but can figure out ways to recover them.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's
Memory decline is very slow over months or years; the person becomes confused, disoriented, and lost in familiar places like his own home. He has trouble writing, telling time, and often has trouble speaking correctly. He doesn't notice his own memory problems and doesn't seem to care.
If a person with Alzheimer's loses something, he can't imagine the steps needed to find it again.
Medical Care Is Needed
A depression is serious when it is so deep that the sufferer moves slowly and forgets things. A Physician needs to prescribe treatment. There are things others can do to help a depressed person too.
If the person really does have Alzheimer's, then there are medications that a Physician can prescribe to ease the symptoms. And those who care for the person may need to educate themselves some.