Depression or Alzheimer’s? Know the Difference

May 30th, 2012

Many people do not realize how similar the symptoms for dementia and depression can be, and the two can often be confused or misdiagnosed by family members. As Alzheimer’s becomes more prevalent in America, many are on the lookout for signs of the disease. Observe for the following subtle differences between the two conditions, and if you are concerned about a worsening situation, seek medical assistance.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

  • Mental decline happens slowly
  • The patient experiences confusion and disorientation, often becoming lost in familiar locations
  • Patient has difficulty with short-term memory
  • Writing, speaking and motor skills are impaired
  • Patient does not notice memory problems or seem to care

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Mental decline occurs relatively rapidly
  • Patient knows the correct time and date, and recognizes his or her surroundings
  • Patient has difficulty concentrating
  • Language and motor skills are slow, but normal
  • Patient notices and/or worries about his or her memory problems

Determining whether symptoms of depression or Alzheimer’s more closely match the symptoms that you or a loved one is facing can help you achieve a more accurate diagnosis. For tips on how to cope with both Alzheimer’s and depression, or to learn about options for in-home care, contact Visiting Angels of the San Francisco Bay area. Call our offices in Alameda County at (510) 284-0000 or in Santa Clara County at (408) 735-0977.