Are dementia and Schizophrenia Related?

Dementia

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is a group of conditions which comprises impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgement. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

Cause

Damage to brain cells causes Dementia. This damage generally interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected.

Risk Factors of Dementia

  1. Age
  2. Genetics
  3. Atherosclerosis
  4. Cholesterol

Symptoms

1) Cognitive changes

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty in communicating or finding words
  • Visual and spatial disabilities, such as getting lost while driving
  • Reasoning or problem-solving difficulty
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Coordination and motor disfunctions
  • Confusion and disorientation

2) Psychological changes

  • Personality changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. It is a chronic brain disorder that affects less than one percent of the U.S. population. However it may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling. People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment.

Causes

  1. Genetic factors: Having a parent or sibling with schizophrenia puts the person at increased risk
  2. A chemical imbalance in the brain
  3. Problems during pregnancy: The child may develop schizophrenia if the mother does not receive proper nutrition.
  4. Structural change in the brain
  5. Previous Drug Use
  6. Childhood Trauma

Extreme stress and overuse of drugs and alcohol can worsen any existing symptoms of schizophrenia.

Risk Factors of Schizophrenia

Risk factors for schizophrenia include a family history of the disorder, a father who is older in age, autoimmune system abnormalities, and drug abuse during adolescence and early adulthood. Complications during pregnancy or birth are linked to schizophrenia.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Although signs and symptoms varies, but usually involve delusions, hallucinations or disorganized speech, and reflect an impaired ability to function. 

Symptoms may include:

  1. Delusions. These are false beliefs that are not based in reality. 
  2. Hallucinations. These usually involve seeing or hearing things that don’t exist. Yet for the person with schizophrenia, they have the full force and impact of a normal experience.
  3. Disorganized thinking (speech). Disorganized thinking is inferred from disorganized speech. Effective communication can be impaired, and answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated. Rarely, speech may include putting together meaningless words that can’t be understood.
  4. Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior. This may show in a number of ways, from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation. Behavior can include resistance to instructions, inappropriate or bizarre posture, a complete lack of response, or useless and excessive movement.
  5. Negative symptoms. This refers to reduced or lack of ability to function normally. For example, the person may neglect personal hygiene or appear to lack emotion. 

Conclusion

From above we can conclude that schizophrenia is significantly associated with an increased risk of dementia. Our findings suggest that individuals with schizophrenia should be provided with efficient prevention strategies against dementia or that medical treatments for schizophrenia that may decrease the risk of dementia should be chosen. The meta-analysis of six studies involving 5,063,316 participants and 206,694 cases showed a significant positive relationship. These results implied that subjects with schizophrenia may have a higher prevalence of dementia than those without schizophrenia.

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