Glossary of Medical Terms
Dementia is a general decline in a person's mental abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily living and activities. It affects memory, problem solving, learning, and other mental functions.
A variety of conditions can cause dementia, including injuries to the brain from tumors, head injury, or stroke; diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease; or long-term alcohol dependence. People (especially older adults) who are depressed may seem to have dementia when they do not (pseudodementia).
People who have dementia often experience:
Confusion and memory loss.
Inability to complete everyday tasks.
Loss of self-control leading to unexpected behavior, such as throwing things, yelling at other people, or being suspicious of others.
Impaired judgment and reduced ability to make decisions and learn new things.
An eventual loss of control over physical functions, such as urination.