The New York Times (10/22, Span) “Well” blog reports that other medical problems can mimic dementia or Alzheimer’s, but fortunately can be improved or reversed. For example, symptoms of chronic depression and alcoholism in an older person may mimic those of dementia. Vitamin deficiencies, anxiety, thyroid deficiency and certain medications may also cause dementia-like symptoms in patients. In general, “dementia tends to develop slowly; family members often realize, in retrospect, that an older person has shown subtle cognitive decline for years,” whereas “when a person’s mental state changes suddenly over a few days or weeks,” clinicians will seek another cause.
— “Is It Really Dementia?,” Paula Span, New York Times, October 21, 2014.