Symptoms and Signs of Dementia

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 7/15/2022

Doctor's Notes on Dementia

The term dementia refers to a collection of symptoms brought about by damage to or loss of brain cells. Dementia is not a disease but a group of symptoms and signs that are caused by a number of different conditions. Some causes of dementia include Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia, traumatic brain injury, Huntington disease, alcoholic dementia, and Lewy body dementia.

Symptoms and signs of dementia include

  • memory loss,
  • difficulty finding the right word,
  • impaired judgment,
  • trouble with activities of daily living,
  • personality changes,
  • impulsivity,
  • inability to care for oneself, and
  • difficulty recognizing others.

Other associated symptoms and signs in people with dementia can include

  • repetition of words,
  • lack of ability to communicate,
  • loss of bowel and bladder control,
  • problems concentrating and focusing, and
  • weight loss.

What Is the Treatment for Dementia?

There is no cure for most types of dementia. However, certain medications can help control the symptoms of dementia:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitor drugs, often used in Alzheimer's disease but may also be used in other forms of dementia
  • Memantine
  • Medications to help control sleep disturbances, depression, agitation, or other symptoms

Other treatments can include modifying the environment to enhance safety or occupational therapy to simplify and manage daily tasks.

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.