How are Amnesia and Dementia Dissimilar?
Imagine standing at the cliff of a mountain, and someone asks you to jump off the side. Which side would you choose? The shallow one, right? Similarly, which mental condition would you like to suffer if given a choice? (No offence, we wish sound health for you) The less severe one, am I right?
In this article, we will highlight the difference between Amnesia and Dementia, two mental conditions that resemble each other but are vastly different. And know which one is less severe and easy to manage.
What is Amnesia?
Amnesia is a neurological condition that affects your ability to recall certain things, including declarative and non-declarative memories. In this condition, the patient temporarily loses memory, and the brain stops receiving the information it needs to function properly.
Examining the surface, the exchange of electrical signals between neurons also gets disrupted. The resulting damage may impair your memory, or tend to have severe impairments in both anterograde and retrograde memory. Those with anterograde Amnesia may not remember a particular event. They may also have limited memory of a certain location or time.
Causes of Amnesia
Amnesia is often associated with significant trauma, such as a car accident or abuse. In addition, neurological conditions, vitamin deficiency, drugs, or emotional stress are various causes of Amnesia. But the most common causes of Amnesia are infection, brain injury, and stroke.
Other possible causes include a reduction in blood flow to the brain due to external reasons or the under-development of the brain in the prenatal stage of development.
The most common cause of Amnesia is a severe case of viral encephalitis. This brain infection can affect the hippocampal region. When this happens, a person can’t remember any information for a few seconds, but their non-declarative memory remains intact. Luckily, memory can return after a few hours, a day or a year, depending on the severity of the infection. n after a few hours or a day or a year, depending on the severity of the infection.
Symptoms of Amnesia
Symptoms of Amnesia usually vary from person to person, and the type of Amnesia one is suffering from. It can be scary; it can make you feel isolated and even angry. However, it can be less stressful if you have friends and family who understand the condition.
Certain types of Amnesia are associated with dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Other symptoms of Amnesia may include an abnormality in the brain region. Some forms of Amnesia may cause a loss of consciousness, and these symptoms are not always immediately recognisable. Fortunately, most conditions of Amnesia are reversible. The only symptom that may remain after recovery is a lack of memories.
What is Dementia?
The word “dementia” is adopted from the Latin language, meaning ‘madness.’ In this condition, progressive or static symptoms are observed, which points towards degeneration of the cerebral cortex. It is a broad category of neurological conditions that affect a person’s thinking and reasoning ability.
This condition can interfere with daily activities and a person’s ability to function. People suffering from this disease may lose control of their behaviour or emotions, or become socially withdrawn and uncommunicative.
Causes of Dementia
The most common causes of Dementia are head injuries, brain tumours, infections, HIV / AIDS, meningitis, simple and normal pressure hydrocephalus, thyroid gland disorders, vitamin deficiencies, chronic alcoholism, and drug abuse. Other causes of Dementia are inherited or acquired and are considered genetic.
The most common form is vascular Dementia. This condition occurs when small blood vessels become blocked, depriving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients. The underlying cause of this condition can be a stroke or a build-up of plaque on the arterial wall. Sometimes irregularities in heart pulse can result in blood clots, and it may be caused by a tumour or aneurysm.
Other endocrine conditions can also lead to the development of dementia-like symptoms. Low blood sugar and too much calcium can also contribute to this condition.
The progression of the disease is a slow but steady decline in a person’s ability to do day-to-day activities. While it may be a natural part of ageing, it should not be taken lightly.
Symptoms of Dementia
The symptoms of dementia can vary widely from mild to severe, but many are easily recognisable. The loss of cognitive functioning is the most obvious symptom of Dementia. Other Dementia symptoms are memory problems, apathy, and behavioural changes. Dementia cognition-enhancing medications can help in this condition.
Dementia patients are often unable to manage their emotions. They cannot carry out daily tasks since it affects a part of the brain responsible for orientation, comprehension, language, judgment, and personality. In addition, people may start to act differently, accompanied by frequent mood changes.
It can also impact memory; seniors suffering from elderly Dementia may have difficulty remembering certain words or understanding other people. They may face trouble recognising their surroundings and cannot distinguish familiar objects.
Difference between Amnesia and Dementia
Amnesia and Dementia are different mental illnesses with similar symptoms. And that’s what makes it difficult to recognise at the time of diagnosis. Although they both share a common symptom, they are not the same. There are several differences between the two.
Diagnosing Amnesia and Dementia is essential for ensuring that the patient receives the proper treatment. Though both Amnesia and Dementia cause loss of memory, they are different diseases and need different treatments.
The first is a temporary condition caused by brain injury, which can be treated. If not diagnosed and provided treatment in time, the condition can lead to serious complications. Patients face difficulties in learning new information and trouble recalling past events. However, they are still able to remember basic skills.
The second is permanent, which may require medical intervention. Dementia is a mental condition that leads to the gradual loss of memory. The condition can affect both recent and distant memories. In some cases, the patient may lose their memories or their ability to transfer information.
However, it can also lead to the loss of a patients’ social & occupational abilities and trouble recognising people and personality changes.
Amnesia and Dementia are leading causes of distress for both seniors and their family members, but caring for them isn’t as simple and manageable every time. Emoha App (available on Google Play Store & IOS App Store) allows seniors with Amnesia and Dementia to lead a quality life through medical counselling, daily activity assistance, 24/7 emergency support, medicine & medical report management, making it easier for families to have uncomplicated daily care. With Emoha, seniors can lead a healthy, meaningful life despite Amnesia or Dementia while relieving their families too.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, both are different. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that causes Dementia. In contrast, Amnesia is a disease concerned with memory loss.
Following are the six different types of Amnesia:
Transient global amnesia (TGA)
Retrograde Amnesia is the type of Amnesia which causes Dementia.
One cannot assume mere memory loss as Dementia. General symptoms of Dementia are difficulties in concentrating and problems with language, followed by memory loss. If you see any such signs apart from memory loss, there are chances of Dementia.