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How many have you read King Lear written by William Shakespeare? There's a famous line "I fear, I'm not in my perfect mind." King's description of his own confusion shows the characteristic symptoms of dementia that people have witnessed for centuries. The essential feature of dementia or brain deterioration is gradual loss of intellectual abilities required to interfere with social or occupational functioning. The term dementia is derived from Latin which means a state of being out of one's mind.

Memory impairment, decline in ability, loss of self control, confusion, language & motor problems are major features. Dementia may be progressive, static even reversible if a timed & effective treatment is available. Because people with dementia are not able to think clearly & often have difficulty in making rational judgements. They are particularly vulnerable to physical, psychological and social stress. The onset of dementia is insidious & the course of the disorder is usually gradual. The term Senile Dementia is often used to refer to the condition when it occurs to people.

The rate at which behavior gets affected & the manner in which it changes are influenced by mamy factors including the individual's reaction to physical & psychological deterioration. A sizable percentage of people with dementia undergo profound personality changes. One common symptom is CONFABULATION, when faced with loss of particular memories, the individual fills in memory gaps with detailed but inaccurate accounts of his/her own activities. Over half of the cases, diagnosed as senile dementia show various combination of agitation, paranoid thinking & schizophrenic like reactions.

The risk of dementia increases dramatically by age. From 1% under 65yrs to 25%-50% over 65yrs. It's primarily distinguished by impairments of memory & cognitive functioning. Treatment is focused on reducing distress & improving functioning. Though particular treatment vary from case to case, CBT, patient activities, medications & proper care giving are most important techniques used to recover patients experiencing severe impairments to live a normal life.

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