Dementia Vs. Amnesia

Difference Between Dementia And Amnesia

 

Dementia

Dementia, a severe and permanent deterioration of mental functions. The term does not denote a single disease but rather refers to forms of brain damage resulting from various diseases or from injury or senile deterioration. Dementia is to be distinguished from mental deficiency, in which mental functioning never develops on certain higher levels, and from mental arrest, in which mental functioning ceases to develop but does not deteriorate. This article discusses only some types of dementia.

Dementia paralytica, or general paresis, is a meningoencephalitis caused by syphilis of the nervous system. The onset of mental symptoms usually occurs 10 to 25 years after the initial infection with the syphilis spirochete Treponema pallidum. The period of latent symptoms is often shorter in juvenile paresis, which results from syphilis contracted by the fetus of an infected mother. The mental symptoms of dementia paralytica vary but typically include severe memory loss, impaired judgment, delusions, and paranoia. Antibiotic treatment of the syphilis infection can discourage further nervous system deterioration but will not repair the neurological damage that has already occurred. (See also Syphilis.)

Dementia praecox is a term coined in the late 1890s by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin for what he then believed to be a single syndrome incorporating the conditions hebephrenia, catatonia, and the deteriorating paranoid psychoses.

Amnesia

Amnesia, a partial or complete memory loss. It may be permanent or temporary.

In anterograde, or post-traumatic, amnesia, events following the incident that caused the amnesia are not retained. For example, someone who has suffered an injury to the head may be unable to recall the accident or the events that followed but may be able to perform coordinated motions and be aware of his or her surroundings. Memory usually returns within a few days. If the amnesia persists for more than a week, serious brain damage may have occurred.

In retrograde, or retroactive, amnesia, events that occurred prior to the injury or incident that caused the amnesia are forgotten. Amnesia can also be classified as anteroretrograde and retroanterograde, both of which involve memory loss for events occurring before and after the incident.

There are, in addition to head injuries, several other causes of amnesia. Hysterical amnesia, for example, is based on a person’s psychoneurotic motivation to become dissociated from what he or she perceives as an intolerable situation. It often arises when the person feels the need to suppress many of his or her natural impulses and feelings. The individual may act in a normal manner, perhaps “blotting out” the events of a certain period of time; he or she may be dazed or confused; or the person may assume a new identity within which he or she can act out the repressed feelings. This type of amnesia can be treated through psychotherapy.

 

Dementia, a severe and permanent deterioration of mental functions. The term does not denote a single disease but rather refers to forms of brain damage resulting from various diseases or from injury or senile deterioration. Dementia is to be distinguished from mental deficiency, in which mental functioning never develops on certain higher levels, and from mental arrest, in which mental functioning ceases to develop but does not deteriorate. This article discusses only some types of dementia.

Dementia paralytica, or general paresis, is a meningoencephalitis caused by syphilis of the nervous system. The onset of mental symptoms usually occurs 10 to 25 years after the initial infection with the syphilis spirochete Treponema pallidum. The period of latent symptoms is often shorter in juvenile paresis, which results from syphilis contracted by the fetus of an infected mother. The mental symptoms of dementia paralytica vary but typically include severe memory loss, impaired judgment, delusions, and paranoia. Antibiotic treatment of the syphilis infection can discourage further nervous system deterioration but will not repair the neurological damage that has already occurred. (See also Syphilis.)

Dementia praecox is a term coined in the late 1890s by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin for what he then believed to be a single syndrome incorporating the conditions hebephrenia, catatonia, and the deteriorating paranoid psychoses.

Amnesia

Amnesia, a partial or complete memory loss. It may be permanent or temporary.

In anterograde, or post-traumatic, amnesia, events following the incident that caused the amnesia are not retained. For example, someone who has suffered an injury to the head may be unable to recall the accident or the events that followed but may be able to perform coordinated motions and be aware of his or her surroundings. Memory usually returns within a few days. If the amnesia persists for more than a week, serious brain damage may have occurred.

In retrograde, or retroactive, amnesia, events that occurred prior to the injury or incident that caused the amnesia are forgotten. Amnesia can also be classified as anteroretrograde and retroanterograde, both of which involve memory loss for events occurring before and after the incident.

There are, in addition to head injuries, several other causes of amnesia. Hysterical amnesia, for example, is based on a person’s psychoneurotic motivation to become dissociated from what he or she perceives as an intolerable situation. It often arises when the person feels the need to suppress many of his or her natural impulses and feelings. The individual may act in a normal manner, perhaps “blotting out” the events of a certain period of time; he or she may be dazed or confused; or the person may assume a new identity within which he or she can act out the repressed feelings. This type of amnesia can be treated through psychotherapy.

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