Dementia: What are the different dementia diagnoses?

Dementia: What are the different dementia diagnoses?

By: Keely Fell

Dementia is among one of the most prevalent conditions in individuals over 60. In 2019, a record 50 million individuals, worldwide, were living with a diagnosis of some form of dementia. Dementia is defined as a syndrome where there is major deterioration in memory, behavior, and thinking, which limits an individual’s ability to perform everyday tasks.

When diagnosing dementia, doctors will look at six areas of cognitive functioning. Those areas are:

  • Complex attention: Which is the area that refers to sustained focus and switching between tasks.
  • Learning and memory: This is the area that recalls recent and remote memory, as well as performing tasks.
  • Executive Function: This refers to skills such as prioritizing, paying attention, and planning.
  • Language: This refers to expression in written and spoken forms.
  • Perceptual-Motor Function: This understands shapes, directions, and locations.
  • And lastly, Social Cognition: Which refers to the ability to interact with others by recognizing facial expressions and body language.

Dementia is used as an umbrella term for many different sub-dementia disorders. The most common in the United States is, Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is when the neurons in the brain are slowly decaying overtime causing cognitive deficits in memory, and over time total mental ability. After Alzheimer’s the next most common dementia diagnosis is Vascular Dementia. Vascular dementia develops when the brain is deprived of essential nutrients and oxygen. Over time an individual with Vascular Dementia may experience mental slowness, aphasia, and trouble with basic functions such as, walking or urinating. This is different from Alzheimer’s because with Vascular Dementia, an individual is experience problems in memory retrieval. Dementia with Lewy Bodies is a type of dementia that has a combination of features of both Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Generally, an individual diagnosed with Dementia with Lewy Bodies may experience muscle symptoms that are accompanied by cognitive deficits as well. Less common than most other dementias is Frontotemporal Lobar Dementia. This dementia appears with behavior and language changes.  Frontotemporal Lobar Dementia is caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes.

A dementia diagnosis can be hard, and understanding how it affects the brain can help with coping with a diagnosis.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit .


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