Saturday, September 16, 2023

Can Stress Cause Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Problems With Vision And Hearing

Can dementia symptoms be caused by other factors like medications or other chronic conditions?

Sensory limitations, too, can create a picture like cognitive impairment that worsens as the affected person becomes increasingly isolated as a result of hearing or vision problems. Recent research has emphasized that there is a relationship between hearing loss and the risk for development of cognitive impairment.

Recommendations For Defining Anxiety In Dementia

Existing studies have examined anxiety in individuals with dementia both as a set of diagnostic entities and as continuous measures of symptomatology. Both approaches can be useful and even complementary, for instance in treatment studies where patient selection is often based on diagnostic criteria and estimates of treatment effects on symptom severity. Given the overlap between symptoms of anxiety and symptoms of dementia, it is unclear whether traditional definitions of anxiety are adequate in this population. Modified criteria for GAD have been suggested , although they probably require expert consensus for greater validity and wide adoption. Given the private nature of core symptoms of anxiety , defining anxiety based solely on behavioral observations or caregiver report may be insufficient.

How To Cope With Stress

Current evidence is inconclusive whether prolonged stress increases your risk of dementia. However, its still a good idea to do things that relieve stress. Stress reduction can reduce your risk of other conditions like heart disease. Here are a few tips to cope with stress.

  • Go for massage therapy: Getting a massage can help relieve stress and anxiety.

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How To Support A Person With Dementia Who Has Anxiety

Encourage them to:

  • talk about their worries or fears
  • If something very upsetting or traumatic has happened recently or in the past, the person may find it helpful to talk about their feelings however, if it was severe emotional trauma, ask a professional counsellor or psychotherapist for help first .
  • If they are not comfortable discussing sensitive issues with someone they know, it may help if they instead talk to a professional counsellor or therapist.
  • continue with treatment
  • Encourage them to keep taking anti-anxiety medication or doing a course of therapy, even if they think improvement is slow at first.
  • stay active
  • Lack Of Vitamin B12 And Lack Of Thiamine


    Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs and cheese. Thiamine is also a B vitamin and is found in whole-grain foods, some breakfast cereals, beans and peas, nuts and seeds.

    Both are important for a healthy nervous system. If someone doesnt get enough of either of these vitamins, they can have symptoms that could be mistaken for dementia. These include confusion, memory loss, irritability and a change in mental state.

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    Health Fears Are An Anxiety Symptom

    One of the problems with living with anxiety is that it tends to cause itself, using its own symptoms. Feelings of dementia are a great example of this. Anxiety causes the mind to think differently and feel funny, and this causes people to worry they have a serious brain condition, which in turn causes them to be oversensitive to the way their mind works and suffer from the very problems they’re monitoring.

    Men and women of all ages have convinced themselves of:

    • Early Onset Alzheimer’s
    • Brain Tumors
    • Huntington’s Disease

    These are all serious diseases, and if you truly think you have one of these, you should see a doctor. But you should also note that anxiety causes the very same issues. Not just dementia, but also the nerve impulses and other brain health issues that make people fear those diseases in the first place.

    Why anxiety causes dementia like feelings is a bit less clear and less obvious. It is likely caused by many different factors, including those below:

    These are all examples of issues that can cause feelings of dementia, despite no dementia present.

    Differentiating Anxiety From Dementia

    One of the difficulties in studying anxiety in dementia is the symptom overlap between the two conditions. For Generalized Anxiety Disorder , in particular, possible symptoms include restlessness, being easily fatigued and difficulty concentrating, all of which can occur in dementia without the presence of an anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, the hallmark of GAD, excessive anxiety or worry that is difficult to control, cannot always be assessed reliably in individuals with dementia, particularly those with expressive or receptive language difficulties. Thus, a difficult question for researchers and clinicians is whether anxiety symptoms that could potentially be accounted for by the presence of dementia should be used to diagnose an anxiety disorder.

    Out of these three potential strategies, the first one, which ignores the potential overlap between symptoms of anxiety and dementia, is likely to inflate rates of anxiety disorders and symptoms. Selecting items that minimize potential overlap is a preferred approach. Using revised diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders in dementia, as has been proposed by Starkstein et al. , is also promising. Such an approach, however, should be based on consensus guidelines from experts in the field in addition to empirical data, as exemplified by the provisional diagnostic criteria for depression in Alzheimerâs Disease .

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    Can Stress Cause Dementia

    Is stress linked to the risk of dementia? Our Research team decided to examine the evidence behind stress and the risk of dementia.

    Many people wonder whether stress is linked to risk of dementia, and the news often reports a link between the two. This Stress Awareness Month, our Research team decided to examine the evidence behind stress and risk of dementia.

    Differentiating Anxiety From Agitation And Depression

    Dementia Caregiver Anxiety and what you can do

    One important question regarding anxiety symptoms in dementia is whether they should be considered as a separate clinical entity or as part of a broader syndrome. Some authors have suggested that there is strong overlap between anxiety and agitation , and that perhaps agitation may be a symptom of generalized anxiety . To determine whether anxiety is distinct from other neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia, we reviewed factor analyses pertaining to this question. Table 1 lists the six studies included in our review. Four studies used orthogonal rotations, constraining factors to be uncorrelated, which may result in the appearance of spurious and unreliable factors . The other two studies used oblique rotations. Regarding the overlap between anxiety and agitation, two studies found anxiety and agitation to load on the same factor, while three others , including the two studies that used oblique rotations , found them to load on separate factors. Moreover, one study that explicitly examined the relationship between anxiety and agitation found only a modest correlation , suggesting that the two constructs are not equivalent . Thus, the existing evidence provides more support for the distinctiveness of anxiety and agitation than for their equivalence.

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    Chronic Stress And Its Effects On The Central Nervous System

    Although there is no direct evidence, these cellular alterations may explain the association noted in other studies between higher glucocorticoid concentration and decreased neurogenesis, dendritic arborization, and neural cell adhesion molecules , in addition to reduced synaptic capacity and atrophy in various brain regions, including the hippocampus and cortex.2323 Du J, Wang Y, Hunter R, Wei Y, Blumenthal R, Falke C, et al. Dynamic regulation of mitochondrial function by glucocorticoids. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2009 106:3543-8.,2424 Juster RP. McEwen BS, Lupien SJ. Allostatic load biomarkers of chronic stress and impact on health and cognition. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 35:2-16.,3030 Madrigal JL, Olivenza R, Moro MA, Lizasoain I, Lorenzo P, Rodrigo J, et al. Glutathione depletion, lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial dysfunction are induced by chronic stress in rat brain. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 24:420-9.,3131 Gong Y, Chai Y, Ding JH, Sun XL, Hu G. Chronic mild stress damages mitochondrial ultrastructure and function in mouse brain. Neurosci Lett. 2011 488:76-80.,3535 Sandi C. Stress, cognitive impairment and cell adhesion molecules. Nature Rev Neurosci. 2004 5:917.,3636 Landfield P, Baskin RK, Pitler TA. Brain-aging correlates:retardation by hormonal-pharmacological treatments. Science. 1981 214:581-3.

    Defining Anxiety In Dementia

    As already noted, the rate of anxiety disorders and symptoms in dementia varies dramatically from study to study, suggesting that there is a lack of consensus about how to define and conceptualize anxiety in this population. Several issues complicate this question, including the distinction between symptoms of anxiety and symptoms of dementia, the overlap between anxiety, depression, and agitation, and what constitutes the best source of information . We now examine each of these questions in turn.

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    Health Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia

    These 7 health conditions often cause symptoms similar to dementia in older adults.

    Once these conditions are diagnosed and properly treated, the troubling symptoms are usually eliminated.

    1. Urinary tract infection Seniors are the most likely group of people to develop a urinary tract infection , something easily treated with antibiotics.

    Theyre also the least likely to have typical symptoms like pain during urination, fever, or a frequent urge to go.

    Instead, UTI symptoms often show up as a sudden change in behavior. Someone who suddenly cant remember a significant event from last week might have a UTI.

    Other signs of an infection include:

    • Becoming unusually sleepy or withdrawn

    2. Medication side effectsMedications called anticholinergics are commonly used by older adults .

    These drugs and their side effects can cause dementia-like symptoms in people without previous cognitive issues.

    Thats because anticholinergic drugs block brain chemicals used for learning, memory, and muscle functions.

    Older adults already have less of these key brain chemicals because our bodies produce less as we age. And blocking them with drugs makes it even harder for the brain to function properly.

    Ask the doctor to do a complete review of all medications and supplements. But DONT start, stop, or change dosage for any medications without first talking with the doctor.

    Dementia develops slowly, but delirium starts suddenly.

    Clinical Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia In Dogs

    Common symptoms of dementia

    Veterinarians use the following symptoms to diagnose CCD after ruling out other medical causes.

    • Disorientation: Disorientation is one of the most obvious signs of dementia. Dogs with CCD may look confused in their home environments, and may struggle to find their food bowl or the door to go outside. These dogs may also find themselves in a corner or empty room, staring aimlessly. They may show signs of confusion around familiar people or struggle to move around objects in your home.
    • Interaction Changes: Dogs with dementia may show less interest in interacting with familiar people or other household pets. Some dogs withdraw, while others become clingier. In some cases, dogs with dementia prefer to be by themselves longer and may become scared or overstimulated easily.
    • Sleep/Wake Cycle Disruptions: Dementia causes changes to the sleep/wake cycle in dogs, which can be uncomfortable for them and their human companions. Dogs may struggle to sleep through the night and may bark or pace while the rest of the household is sleeping. When this happens, dogs may experience fear or agitation. As a result of poor nighttime sleep, they may sleep more during the day.
    • Changes in Activity Levels: Dogs with dementia may experience a rapid decline in activity levels and less interest in playing or exploring. They may ignore ambient noises like dogs barking, loud noises, or people around them.
    • Diabetes
    • Skin disorders

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    What Constitutes The Best Source Of Information To Assess Anxiety In Dementia

    In the general population, the most common source of information to determine the presence of an anxiety disorder is the patient him- or herself. In dementia, this option may not always be optimal, as some patients have difficulty communicating and remembering their symptoms. To avoid these difficulties, some authors have chosen to rely exclusively on caregiver report. This strategy may work well for situations in which the core symptom is behavioral . In the case of GAD, however, the core symptoms of worrying and difficulty controlling the worry are private in nature, and caregivers might not be aware of them, particularly if the relationship between patient and caregiver is strained. Moreover, as we have seen, some of the outward manifestations of anxiety are highly confounded with symptoms of dementia. Thus, exclusive reliance on caregiver report may be the only choice when patients are too impaired to communicate effectively. In other cases, however, it would deprive the examiner of a valuable source of information.

    Going For An Assessment

    The list of conditions and problems above isnt everything. Theres a whole range of things that can occasionally cause dementia-like symptoms for some people.

    There isnt always a quick answer to the question, Is it dementia or something else? If someone has dementia-like symptoms, the most important thing to do is see their GP for a full assessment.

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    Anxiety Quality Of Life And Functional Outcome

    In older adults without dementia, anxiety has been associated with reduced QoL, more functional limitations, poorer physical health and reduced activities . In individuals with dementia, three studies have documented the relationship between anxiety and poorer QoL, with correlations ranging from .30 to .64 . In one study , the association remained significant after controlling for depression, problem behaviors and dependency. Other variables of interest were not controlled for in the other two studies .

    Concussions And Head Injuries

    Can Anti-anxiety Drugs Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?

    Concussions and traumatic head injuries can cause short-term memory impairment, but some research has found that they can also increase the likelihood for the development of dementia over the years.

    Be sure to take steps like wearing protective headgear and helmets when playing sports. And, if you do sustain a concussion, it’s important to let your head fully heal before returning to regular activities and participating in sports. Discuss any headaches and concentration difficulties after a head injury with your doctor.

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    Dementia And Hallucinations And False Ideas

    • Do not argue it is better to acknowledge that the person may be frightened by the delusions and hallucinations.
    • Do not scold the person for losing objects or hiding things.
    • Investigate suspicions to check their accuracy.
    • Attempt to distract the person if possible.
    • Try to respond to the underlying feelings that may be at the bottom of the statements that the person makes.

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    Anxiety And Demographic Characteristics

    4.1.1. Sex

    Although anxiety symptoms and disorders tend to be more common in women within the non-demented elderly , most studies using dementia samples did not find sex differences: only two of thirteen studies found greater levels of anxiety among women with AD . These two studies, however, used anxiety scales that have not been previously validated in individuals with dementia. Thus, the bulk of the evidence suggests a lack of relationship between sex and anxiety in individuals with dementia .

    4.1.2. Age

    Of the nine studies we identified, one found greater anxiety in older patients . This study, already cited above, used anxiety scales that have not been validated in dementia. Another study found greater anxiety in older patients in one sample but not the other moreover, the association between anxiety and age disappeared after controlling for other variables of interest. The other studies found no relationship between age and anxiety .

    4.1.3. Education

    The two studies we identified found no relationship between anxiety and years of education in FTD and AD .

    4.1.4. Race/ethnicity

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    Anxiety And Dementia Subtype

    Six studies compared anxiety prevalence in distinct, well-defined types of dementia . In one study , rates of OCD, phobia, and GAD did not differ between AD and vascular dementia . Among four studies that examined rates of anxiety symptoms in AD and VaD, two found greater anxiety in VaD , and the other two did not find any significant difference . In both studies with null findings, anxiety was qualitatively greater in the AD group. Moreover, in one study , sample size was relatively small , and in the other study , rates of anxiety symptoms were unusually low . Thus, anxiety symptoms appear greater in VaD than in AD. Compared to AD, rates of anxiety symptoms may be greater in fronto-temporal dementia and similar in dementia associated with Parkinsonâs disease .

    Instruments Designed For Assessing Anxiety Symptoms In Dementia

    Can Stress Cause Alzheimer

    Two scales have been designed specifically to assess anxiety or worry in dementia. The Worry Scale , a self-report measure for use in individuals with mild dementia, has good internal consistency and correlates strongly with measures of trait and state anxiety . However, it also correlates strongly with measures of depression , and moderately with measures of state and trait anger . Moreover, an examination of scale items reveals that they cover a wide range of coping and emotional responses to dementia, including anger , embarrassment , and confidence in oneâs abilities .

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    What To Do When You Feel Like You Have Dementia

    Dementia is fairly easy for doctors to diagnose, so seeing your doctor is step one. You should also know that dementia isn’t just something you realize is happening, or something that comes and goes pretty easily in short increments. Dementia is a very serious, gradual, long lasting condition, and while even those with dementia have their lucid moments it’s very rare for someone that suffers from the issue to worry that they have it.

    One of the reasons dementia patients often have anxiety themselves is because they cannot comprehend what’s going on, and their confusion isn’t something that goes away. This is different from anxiety, where the person is aware of the feeling that they’re losing their mind, which often indicates that they aren’t.

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