Printer Friendly

Psychiatric disorders that can simulate dementia.

Psychiatric Disorders That Can Simulate Dementia

Depression and Anxiety

Depression is a common illness in the elderly. It may exist together with Alzheimer's disease, but more often it provokes symptoms that can be misleading in diagnosis.

Depression is marked by traits that include low self-esteem, anxiety, agitation, social withdrawal, feelings of guilt, insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss, reduction of energy, fatigue, pessimism, and crying spells.

Depressed people also have a tendency to exaggerate their problems and to emphasize their inability to deal with their environment. The "pseudodementia" of depression can also manifest itself in impairment of short-term memory.

Anxiety can be a component of depression. Dwelling upon imminent doom and steeped in pervasive gloom, the individual can become wrapped in a morbidness that simulates the depersonalization of dementia.

Nutritional Disorders

Vitamin B9 deficiency: When the body is deficient in folic acid a folate deficiency occurs. It is characterized by mental confusion, irritability, weakness, lack of energy, forgetfulness, debilitating diarrhea, insomnia, and anemia.

Vitamin C deficiency: When the body is deficient in ascorbic acid, a subscurvy condition develops. Hallucinations become frequent. Wound healing is retarded. A general malaise ensues that makes the individual especially vulnerable to stress and anxiety.

Marchiafava-Bignami disease: A rare disorder that affects middle-aged alcoholics who consume large quantities of red wine. It manifest itself by progressive intellectual deterioration, emotional disturbances, confusion, hallucinations, tremor, rigidity, and convulsions.

Vitamin B3 deficiency: When the body is deficient in niacin the pellagra syndrome occurs. The illness includes mental aberration, hallucinations, depression, irritability, anxiety attacks, confusion, debilitating diarrhea, vomiting, and emaciation.

Vitamin B1 deficiency: When the body is deficient in thiamine psychiatric disturbances such as delirium tremens, impaired gait, mental confusion, hallucinations, fatigue and ocular degeneration ensue. Alcoholics are especially vulnerable.

Vitamin B12 deficiency: When the body is deficient in cobalamin pernicious anemia sets in. Symptoms simulating dementia follow, including headache, faulty memory, depression, imbalance of posture, nausea, numbness, weakness, and double vision.

Drugs and Dementia Symptoms

1. Sedatives and tranquilizers whose side effects are reported to

include depression, confusion, delirium, impaired thinking,

insomnia, and loss of memory:
Ativan Nembutal Lanoxin
Butalan Noludar Procan
Centrax Restoril Aldomet
Dalmane Serax Catapres
Luminal Tranxene Benadryl
Halcion Valium Compazine
Librium Xanax Zantac
Limbitrol Haldol

2. Antihypertension medications whose side effects have been known

to cause depression, psychosis, hallucinations, confusion, delirium,

dementia, and dizziness on standing:




Inderal 3. Antihistamine preparations that have serious side effects such

as mental confusion, insomnia, behavioral disturbances,

psychosis, and hallucinations:
Benadryl Atarax Tavist
Actifed Dimetane Trinalin

Chlor-Trimeton Seldane 4. Gastrointestinal drugs whose side effects have been known to

simulate dementia characterized by mental confusion and

Antivert Librax Tigan
Bentyl Pepcid Zantac

Dinnatal Tagamet 5. Antibiotics and anti-infective agents that can cause sudden mental

confusion and dementia symptoms: Symmetrel Zovirax Seromycin Urised 6. Anticonvulsants known to cause symptoms of dementia:

Dilantin 7. Cold, cough, and asthma drugs which have side effects simulating dementia: Seldane Proventil Benylin

Tavist Actidil Novafed

8. Nasal decongestants whose side effects may cause psychoses and hallucinations:

Dristan Sudafed Sinex

Neo-Synephrine Nostrilla Ephed II 9. Diabetes drugs whose side effects could cause dementia, mental impairment, confusion, and forgetfulness: Diabenese DiaBeta Dylemor

Tolinase Orinase Glucotrol

Other Disorders Causing or Simulating Dementia

Pick's Disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (A.L.S.)

Huntington's disease Palsy, progressive supranuclear

Parkinson's disease Binswanger disease

Toxic Materials Causing Dementia Symptoms

Carbon monoxide Cigarette smoke (cadmium) Alcoholism

Infectious Diseases Causing Dementia
AIDS (Acquired Bacterial meningitis
 immuno-deficiency syndrome) Parasitic encephalitis
Herpes encephalitis Neurosyphilis
Fungal meningitis Behcet's syndrome

Brain abscess
COPYRIGHT 1990 Vegetus Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Previous Article:Nutrition, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Next Article:Senility is not inevitable - history proves otherwise.

Related Articles
Psychiatric diagnoses, East and West.
Alzheimer's disease: epidemic or misdiagnosis?
Neurogen announces new licensing agreement with Pfizer's Animal Health division
Galantamine shows safety and efficacy as Tx for dementia with Lewy bodies.
Dementia, depression common in assisted living.
Mnemonic distinguishes depression, dementia.
Restoring to competence a case-by-case matter.
Mental illness trumps dementia in nursing home admissions.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters