Treat all dementia as depression first

Treat all dementia as depression first

By William Smith

Dr. Keith Ablow has today reported on that he believes that a million or more Americans who have been diagnosed with dementia (including Alzheimer’s dementia), which is debilitating and incurable, are actually suffering with major depression and that is completely curable in more than 90 percent of cases.  This massive misdiagnosis of Americans, Ablow claims, has dire effects on families, well-being and productivity.

Ablow feels that the symptoms of major depression can perfectly mimic those of dementia.  Either condition can be marked by memory loss, profound changes in energy, difficulty concentrating and difficulty making decisions.  What’s more, either condition can cause changes in motor function, leading to stumbling.  Either condition can even lead to older adults wandering and getting lost and either condition can lead to irritability, violent behaviour or fixed and false beliefs (for example being robbed or lied to).

Because major depression can so perfectly mimic dementia Ablow believes that every individual diagnosed with dementia should be treated for major depression just in case that condition is actually to blame.

 ‘That may seem like a very bold therapeutic strategy but there simply is no way to know for sure what percentage of the millions of Americans diagnosed with dementia might have actually been misdiagnosed and might well be completely curable.’ said Adlow.  ‘Only a brain biopsy after death can prove that dementia was to blame for a person’s cognitive decline.’

To sum it all up here is this psychiatrist prescription – ‘If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia instruct the geriatrician or family physician to enlist the aid of a psychiatrist in treating your loved one for major depression.  Insist on the use of an antidepressant (one with a side effect profile that is appropriate, given the other clinical facts).  You might just save your loved one a decade or more of suffering’. 

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