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Anosognosia: People Who Don’t Know They Have Dementia

Posted by Florence in Dementia | 0 comments

Memory loss may come from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It is one of the most difficult types of disease for those who have it and those whose loved ones do. Anosognosia springs from dementia disorder which is characterized by unawareness of memory loss. It is probably a unique form of disorder yet it does exist to some patients and it can be one of the toughest cases to handle.anosognosia
If your loved one is suffering from this kind of disease or if you are a caregiver, then this content is for you.

Causes of Anosognosia
Patients with anosognosia are not aware of their impairment. They are those who are diagnosed stroke survivors with up to 77% unawareness of the aftermath that’s related to neurological changes – where portions of the brain are fatally affected. The central part of the brain that controls perception is the one that’s been damaged – the frontal lobe to be exact. And this is caused by either stroke or deterioration from dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease and Anosognosia
If you have Alzheimer’s then you will more likely have anasognosia. According to a research conducted by the University of Florida, 81% of patients with Alzheimer ended up losing their awareness that they already have anosognosia. This is because the frontal lobe of the brain is affected, that’s why it’s difficult to notice. Furthermore, anosognosia makes Alzheimer’s disease harder to treat.

Anosognosia versus Denial
It’s pretty confusing to determine whether a patient has anosognosia already or that he just simply denies the fact that he has one. For you to know if it’s really dementia that the patient is suffering from, here below are the symptoms.

  1. The patient shows rage or anger when he/she is told he/she has a forgetful behavior.
  2. The patient shows extreme difficulty in handling various tasks, particularly the most basic such as having personal hygiene.
  3. The patient is often out of his/her right behavior.
  4. The patient is fond of filling up stories to part of memories he/she has forgotten.

How to Handle Patients with Anosognosia
Regardless of the cause of your patient’s disorder, whether it’s anosognosia, stroke or simply a denial, the most important thing is your help to treat those patients even if they don’t think they need it. Don’t dare to ignore this problem as it may result in danger and can be life-threatening sometimes.

One best way of handling patients with anosognosia is to reduce their responsibilities. It would be good for their condition if you take over the tasks of preparing the meal, paying bills, and doing outside errands. Another is to be extra careful with how you speak to them. Stay gentle and avoid any possibilities of argument. Use positive words and actions when you talk to them about their condition. Lastly, seek for a doctor’s help. It’s better if you have an expert advising you about your concerns. You can also tap services regarding memory care and Alzheimer’s therapies.

Be proactive and think about all possible ways you can help your patient. Such patients who don’t know they need help are the ones who need the help more.

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