Dementia Praecox – An Increasingly Seen Condition  Youth on Health

Dementia Praecox – An Increasingly Seen Condition Youth on Health

Dementia Praecox – An Increasingly Seen Condition Youth on Health

Dementia Praecox – An Increasingly Seen Condition

It is interesting to note that as science and technology have been progressing on the fast track for decades, diseases affecting mankind too have done their best to keep up with the times. No longer are particular diseases classified as affecting a particular age group or a particular section of people. New diseases are found every day. The state of affairs is such that it is not physical distress alone that qualifies for disease. Rather, mental illness is on a steady rise, with the youth accounting for a significant percentage of those affected.

A mental disorder that is becoming prevalent in the youth that works hard and parties harder is a condition known as ‘Dementia Praecox’ or premature dementia. This disease is becoming more and more common, especially affecting youth in big, urban settings.

Dementia Praecox is a chronic psychotic disorder that deteriorates the mind rapidly. It is characterized by fast cognitive disintegration. The disease affects a person’s cognition or thinking. Thus mental functions such as attention, memory, reasoning and goal-seeking are disrupted or impaired.

The disease has been observed to develop into schizophrenia. In fact, in the 1950s the terms ‘Schizophrenia’ and ‘Dementia Praecox’ were used interchangeably. Variants of dementia also include: Alzheimer’s Diseases, Parkinson’s Disease, paranoia and many other similar ilnesses.

One of the most common symptoms of premature dementia is the failure of cognitive functions. Other symptoms include changes in personality and behaviour. Disturbances of language, attention and disorientation in familiar surroundings are also other symptoms. If one experiences these symptoms for six months or more it is possible that they could be suffering from premature dementia .

Apart from these, muscle spasms and muscle twitching are also known to be symptoms of dementia. This is most prevalent in patients who have an early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. A stiffness in the limbs is also seen in many cases, especially ones involving Parkinson’s Disease.

The question ‘what causes premature dementia’ still does not have a clear answer. The disease is thought o be linked to the abnormal deposits of certain proteins in the brain. Heredity is thought to play a definite role. A person who has a family history of dementia, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease and other diseases of such nature are at a much higher risk of being affected by premature dementia.

Emil Kraepelin, the scientist who did ground breaking research on the condition and popularised its existence, wrote that “Dementia Praecox was caused by a poisoning of the brain, and ‘autointoxication’, probably arising from the sex glands after puberty”. Stress, tension and high blood pressure are attributed as modern causes.

The effects of premature dementia are well documented. As the disease affects the cognitive abilities, this department is severely hit. Speaking is impaired as the victim is often found searching for words, even simple ones. Memory loss is common. Reasoning and logical ability too is diminished.

Prevention is certainly better than cure, but no scientifically proven methods to prevent premature dementia have been found. Some scientists vouch that people who constantly challenge themselves mentally can significantly reduce the risk of memory loss. One of the causes of dementia is stress and therefore stress busting exercises are also advocated. Holidays and relaxation programmes are recommended to young professionals who maybe at risk.

Scientists and doctors have tried using medication used for Alzheimer’s Disease to treat premature dementia with varying degrees of success. No such medicine has been scientifically proven to be universally effective. Once a person has been identified with the problem, they are advised to be physically, mentally and socially active. Many doctors prescribe a host of memory and cognitive tests to keep the cognitive abilities active. Many patients undergo therapy for their condition. These usually involve cognitive exercises that stimulate the brain and force it to be active.

No definite cure for premature dementia has been found. Therefore, it is important to manage stress and pressure to avoid being affected by this condition. A positive outlook towards life and knowing when to take it easy can go a long way in keeping a person safe from Dementia Praecox.

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