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Dementia describes a complete decline in memory and other cognitive impairments that are severe enough to reduce the ability to carry out daily activities. Notably, cognitive function deteriorates slowly and steadily. Patients with schizophrenia have psychological problems behavior and functional activities of daily living. In addition, affected patients lack memory and insight into their problems.[1]



Bipolar disorder is poorly understood. Most forms of psychosis are caused by the accumulation of proteins in the brain with the exception of neurodegenerative disorders.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease is characterized by severe damage to the cortex and the formation of tangles of amyloid plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau protein in the neurons that contribute to their destruction. The genetic basis for both early- and late-onset AD has been established. Some things like traumatic stress head injury cardiovascular disease family history of trauma smoking and the presence of the APOE e4 allele increase the risk of AD.
  • Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by intracellular accumulation of Lewy bodies (insoluble aggregates of alpha-synuclein) in the neurons especially in the cortex.
  • Frontotemporal Dementia is characterized by advanced ubiquitinated TDP-43 and hyperphosphorylated tau proteins in the frontal and temporal lobes leading to dementia with early personality and behavioral changes and aphasia.
  • Vascular dementia results from ischemic injury to the brain (e.g. stroke) resulting in permanent neuronal death.[1]

But the hippocampus is often involved and contributes to the well-known symptoms of memory loss. Cells in this region are often the first to be damaged in Alzheimer’s Disease[3] leading to the most common symptoms of memory loss. Changes in hippocampal volume (decrease) are often observed processes of aging but increased in Alzheimer’s disease[4]


Mental illness affects approximately 47 million people worldwide and is expected to increase to 75 million by 2030 and 132 million by 2050[5]. Dementia is usually age-related but early-onset dementia also occurs. A study by the Alzheimer’s disease association found that 1 in 1400 individuals aged 40-65 1 in 100 individuals aged 65-70 1 in 25 individuals aged 70-80 and 1 in 6 people aged 80+ suffer from dementia.


Epidemiology, young-onset dementia

Damage to brain cells causes changes in cognitive behavior and cognitive functions leading to dementia. The causes of depression vary. The most common forms of mental illness are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: the most common type[6][5] It accounts for 60-70% of dementia cases[5]
  • Vascular dementia: second most common type (after cerebrovascular accident). [6]
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • frontotemporal lobar dementia


  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Alcohol-related dementia (Korsakov syndrome)


  • Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease


Risk Factors

Dementia risk factors can be divided into modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Modifiable risk factors include physical inactivity, smoking, unhealthy diet, and harmful use of alcohol. Additionally, certain medical conditions are associated with an increased risk of dementia Including hypertension diabetes hypercholesterolemia obesity and depression. Other potentially modifiable risk factors may include social isolation and cognitive inactivity. [10][11][12] Unmodifiable risk factors for dementia include age and genetics. Age is a major risk factor for dementia [5] While it’s not a result of aging, genetics can also increase the risk. [13]

See Dementia: Risk Factors

Clinical Presentation

Early signs of dementia are often subtle and sometimes mimic other aging patterns [6]. It can include [14][15]:

  • Progressive and frequent memory loss (mainly short-term)
  • Confusion
  • Personality changes
  • Apathy and withdrawal
  • Loss of functional ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Agitation Aggressive Distress and Psychosis
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Parkinson’s
  • Pain
  • Falls
  • Diabetes
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Sensory impairment[16]

While some cases of dementia are reversible (such as hormone or vitamin deficiencies), most are progressive, with a slow gradual onset. Certain predominantly behavioral and psychological symptoms may result from drug interactions, environmental factors, unreported pain, and other disorders [15].

Diagnostic Procedures

A general practitioner is usually the first point of call for a diagnosis of dementia [6]. Making a diagnosis can be challenging. The NICE dementia guidelines recommend the following diagnostic process.

  • Take a medical history including cognitive behavioral and psychological symptoms and their impact on daily life. Ideally, a medical history should also be obtained from individuals with symptoms of dementia
  • Physical examination with blood and urine tests to rule out reversible causes of cognitive decline
  • Take cognitive tests using short, validated cognitive tools such as the 10-Point Cognitive Screening (10-CS) 6-Item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT) 6-Item Screening Memory Impairment Screen (MIS) Mini-Cog Test your memory (TYM).

Identifying the dementia subtype is critical for clinical management and prognosis of the disease[6]. Some psychiatric disorders are diagnosed by medical history physical examination blood tests and changes in cognitive behavior and their effect on performance of activities everyday life. It can be difficult to diagnose a schizophrenia subtype because many symptoms and brain changes overlap. Secondary care agencies often assist in the diagnosis of the specific subtypes of dementia through the use of imaging[6] or cerebrospinal fluid analysis[16]. A pilot of the aircraft study developed a screening protocol aimed at helping in the early diagnosis of schizophrenia using the Timed Up-and-Go (TUG) test verbal species naming task[17]. One study shows that poor eyesight led to poor executive function which further led to more impaired balance thus suggesting the importance of examining executive functions along with vision and balance in older individuals with Alzheimer’s dementia[18].

Differential Diagnosis

Dementia can have different causes and the following need to be treated first and/or ruled out:

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency[6]
  • Hormone deficiencies (such as thyroid problems) [6]
  • Depression[6]
  • Medication side-effects
  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Overmedication
  • Infections
  • Brain Tumours

Medical management should be sought once symptoms begin, as some causes are treatable, and early diagnosis and management can minimize disease progression to maximize benefit from available treatments. A study reveals the need to optimize assessment for better communication Treatment of dementia patients with multiple impairments among healthcare professionals [19].

Drugs approved by the FDA to improve cognitive function include cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Cholinesterase inhibitors prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine and may slow or delay the worsening of symptoms. Memantine is an NMDA agonist that reduces the activity of glutamine. donepezil Galantamine and rivastigmine, which are approved for all stages of Alzheimer’s disease, are used in mild to moderate stages, and memantine is used in moderate to severe stages.

Behavioral symptoms include restlessness, anxiety, and depression. Antidepressants such as SSRI antipsychotics and anxiolytics can help relieve these symptoms. In addition, nonpharmacologic approaches must be employed, such as supportive care, memory training, physical exercise programs, mental and social stimulation Symptom control.

Treatment of sleep symptoms must be an important consideration in patients with dementia. Drug options include amitriptyline, lorazepam, zolpidem, temazepam, quetiapam, and others. Non-drug approaches include daily exercise light therapy sleep routine avoidance of caffeine and alcohol pain management Biofeedback and Multivariate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

There are many other drugs that are still being studied, such as anti-tau drugs. None of these have shown promising results so far.

Patients and their families should be informed about the disease and its consequences. They should be given all the necessary information to know what to expect and how to respond. Patients and their families should also be encouraged to seek advice from social services and Register with support groups and associations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association. Driving restrictions may have to be implemented [1].

The NICE dementia guidelines discuss in depth the drug management of dementia by subtype.

Non-medical Management

In addition to pharmacological interventions, nonpharmacological interventions are also used to treat the symptoms of dementia.

Non-pharmacological Management
  • Cognitive stimulation therapies[16][20] for the treatment of mild to moderate depression have been shown to be as clinically effective and cost-effective as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors[21]. Anyone who works with patients with schizophrenia can provide stimulant therapy; nursing care or staff therapists[22].
  • Memory therapy for mild to moderate depression[16][23].
  • Psychological rehabilitation or occupational therapy (working on the functional goals of the individual and/or caregivers)[16].
Lifestyle Modifications
  • Regular exercise and an active lifestyle[15]. It is very effective in dealing with the depressive phase of depression.
  • Stimulating personalized daily activities[16].
Physiotherapy Management

Exercise is not a way to treat the causes of depression but exercise can be used in preventing depression and reducing the effects of depression e.g. reduced range of motion and pain. Also a well-rounded knowledge of schizophrenia is important in patients with. depression leading to exercise for other conditions. One study[24] shows that an intensive functional exercise program produces better outcomes when balanced in these patients.

Physical therapists can play a role in customizing exercise programs. Studies have shown that the positive effects of exercise can prevent or delay the onset of depression by reducing cognitive impairment[25][26]. This can improve quality of life and mitigate anticipated functional decline and disease management[26]. There is also some evidence that exercise therapy can improve the ability of people with dementia to perform activities of daily living[27]. Cross-sectional research published in Feb 2020 suggests a positive association between global cognitive functioning and. speed of spontaneous walking in very old people[28]. A randomized controlled trial[29] shows positive results from exercise and gardening support programs for older adults with dementia and memory problems. Another randomized controlled trial suggests observational (mechanical) practice information through visual activity) and gait training provide significant benefits for gait and cognitive function in the elderly with mild cognitive impairment.[30]

Deterrence and Patient Education

Being diagnosed with dementia can be stressful and difficult for patients and their families. Patient education should be a priority in the clinical care of patients with schizophrenia. Counseling should be given about hospital visit regular medication compliance with healthy diet exercise and sexual hygiene. Support groups can help reduce issues such as anxiety frustration anger loneliness and depression. The patient should be counseled about the diagnosis and prognosis. Developing an individualized care plan can empower the patient.

Check out Physiopedia’s guide to caregivers here and here for additional information on supportive care for people with dementia.


The prognosis for schizophrenia is poor. Depression is generally a progressive condition that has no treatment or treatment. The 1-year mortality rate is 30-40% while the 5-year mortality rate is 60-65%. Men were at greater risk than women. The mortality rate among hospitalized patients with schizophrenia was higher than in those with schizophrenia cardiovascular diseases[1] .

Outcome Measures

The following list is from a review of useful outcome measures for trauma.

  • Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia
  • Geriatric Depression Screening Scale
Quality of Life
  • Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s Disease
  • The Dementia Quality of Life Instrument
  • DEMQoL

Health-related Quality of Life

  • EQ-5D
Activities of Daily Living
  • Lawton – PSMS & IADL
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study – Role in the Daily Living Database
  • Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale
  • The disability assessment for dementia
  • Abbey Pain Scale
  • VAS
  • Revised Memory and behavior problems checklist
  • Neuropsychiatric Inventory
  • Neuropsychiatric Inventory (Nursing Home) .
  • CAMI
Reaction to Behaviour
  • Revised Memory and behavior problems checklist
  • Neuropsychiatric Inventory with Caregiver Distress Scale
  • Neuropsychiatric Inventory in Nursing Homes
Carer Mood
  • Hamilton Depression Rating Scale
  • General Health Questionnaire
  • Center for Epidemiological Research – Depression Inventory
Carer Burden
  • Zarit Burden Interview
  • Sense of competence scale
  • Relative Stress Scale

Carer Health-related Quality of Life

  • SF-36
  • WHOQoL-Bref
  • EQ-5D. A cross-sectional study suggested that the EQ-5D-3L may be a useful tool for assessing quality of life in nursing home residents with cognitive impairment [31].
Resource Utilisation
  • Client Service Receipt Inventory
  • Resource utilization in dementia (RUD) instruments
Staff Carer Morale
  • Maslach Burnout Inventory

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