Experts estimate that up to 40% of people living with dementia suffer from depression. Depression can be difficult to diagnose in those with dementia as both conditions exhibit similar symptoms such as:
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Trouble concentrating and/or memory loss
- Impaired thinking
A study published in the trade journal Neurology suggests that depression may be a risk factor for dementia. Scientists are still learning about the relationship between depression and dementia but several theories abound including:
- Depression is an early sign of dementia (i.e. dementia is actually causing the depression)
- Depression may damage the brain thus leading to depression. Chronic stress and/or depression may release cortisol, a stress hormone. Overt time, too much cortisol can harm the brain
- Depression may alter brain volumes. Lower brain volumes are often seen in people with dementia
So what should you do if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression or dementia? First and foremost, seek medical advice as soon as possible. Turning a blind eye or hoping things will resolve on their own can make things worse down the road. The first step is a comprehensive review of your medical history, a complete physical and cognitive tests. While there is no definitive cure for either condition, there are a variety of medications and therapies available that may slow the progression of both.
The Ganzhorn Suites is a specialized assisted living facility in Powell, Ohio for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The facility serves Powell, Dublin, Upper Arlington, Delaware, Westerville, and other surrounding areas of Columbus, OH.