Dementia is not a specific disease; it is merely a side effect of a deeper problem. Dementia can be caused by any condition which destroys brain cells, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease. Blunt trauma may also cause cell destruction.
Dementia results in a wide range of symptoms. Memory loss and personality changes are common, and someone suffering from dementia generally loses the ability to care for himself because he will forget how to do simple tasks. The patient will also be more disoriented and will not be able to make good judgments.
Unfortunately, treatments designed to impede diseases which cause dementia cannot reverse brain damage which has already occurred. Drugs which slow Alzheimer's progression, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, can slow the progression of dementia as well. For now, there is no direct cure for dementia.
According to the National Institutes of Health, behavioral problems can be improved by teaching the patient how to use tools designed to improve cognitive function, such as recall devices, taking notes and memory assistants. A simple rewards system may also help in the avoidance of self-damaging behavior.
Those who care for dementia sufferers must be extremely patient in providing non-stop monitoring and assistance. Those with advanced dementia need help in otherwise simple daily activities, such as getting dressed, eating, washing and using the restroom.
Dementia is the heart-breaking secondary condition caused by numerous brain-damaging conditions. Patients suffering from this progressive illness slowly lose the ability to remember and think clearly, and unfortunately, the damage is not reversible through treatment.