Memory Problems - Assessment and Treatment

What are memory problems?

Many people are worried about having memory problems and would like to know if they have dementia. Others may have memory problems as a result of a brain injury and require rehabilitation and retraining using psychological techniques. Yet others may be suffering from memory problems caused by severe depression and anxiety sometimes called pseudo-dementia and need counselling or psychotherapy.

How can memory problems be assessed?

A series of specially designed psychological tests can determine whether the person has dementia, brain damage or is suffering from severe depression or anxiety causing their memory problems. These are often more reliable than MRI or CT scans in making a diagnosis.

“Many people become forgetful as they become older. This is common and is often not due to dementia. There are other disorders such as depression and an underactive thyroid that can cause memory problems. Dementia is the most serious form of memory problem; it causes a loss of mental ability and other symptoms.” www.patient.co.uk

How can memory problems be effectively treated? 

“Once the cause has been diagnosed the clinical psychologist can recommend appropriate direct training strategies and behavioural strategies for coping with any deficit and improving memory.” (from The Psychological Treatment of Memory Impairment by Franzen MD., Haut MW, Neuropsychology Review, 1991.)

What are the benefits? 

Patients get a correct diagnosis using psychological methods and following from that the correct treatment. Depending on the diagnosis the patient may get memory drugs, known as anticholinesterases, or if it is depression or anxiety causing the memory problems they may be prescribed anti-depressants or anti-anxiolytic medication or offered counselling or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

How safe is the treatment?

Non invasive, very safe.

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