Personality changes are a clear sign something may be wrong!
We all have different personalities, with our own unique flaws, strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and foibles. Life is all about finding a way to deal with the people in our lives, even if there are aspects of their personalities we’re not fond of.
But have you been noticing odd changes in the personality of your mother, father, aunt, uncle, or grandparent? Have others been mentioning changes in YOUR personality? According to new research, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ask yourself these questions about the person who has been going through personality changes:
- Are you/they more aggressive?
- Are you/they more irritable?
- Are you/they more temperamental?
- Are you/they easily agitated?
- Do you/they have unrealistic beliefs about their skill/wealth/influence/power?
- Do you/they no longer care about the things that once mattered greatly?
- Have you/they noticed any other significant changes in personality?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there is a risk that you/they may be developing Alzheimer’s disease.
A group of Alzheimer’s experts and neuropsychiatrists recently presented a new checklist that could be used to evaluate whether someone is developing Alzheimer’s disease. A lot of the checklist elements centered around changes in your personality as an indicator of the disease progression. This new method of diagnosis revolves around the idea that sharp changes in behavior and mood may be a precursor to the thinking and memory problems related to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
This is a new approach to Alzheimer’s, a disorder that has been primarily viewed as a memory disorder. However, thanks to this research and the presentation of this new checklist, doctors may begin to view Alzheimer’s as a much broader problem, one that can affect many different parts of the brain, not just memory. The effects may stretch to behavioral issues as well as memory loss and reduced recall ability. Whatever is causing the erosion of the memory centers of the brain can also damage the parts of the brain that control self-control and emotional regulation.
One of the experts presenting the new checklist stated that his research has led to an interesting discovery: those who experience emotional or behavioral changes will often develop dementia faster than those who exclusively suffer memory loss. Even in cases of mild cognitive impairment, changes in your personality or mood could be an indicator of the speed of progression of the dementia. Not only that, but the degree of damage to their brain may be much worse as well.
Take note: not all cases of mood swings or behavioral changes are linked to dementia. People who are suffering from emotional changes may not have to worry about Alzheimer’s disease. The changes may simply be caused by menopause, midlife crisis, depression, or some other problem.
However, if there are signs of memory loss accompanying the mood swings and changes in your personality, it may be a good idea to get checked out. In order for it to be properly diagnosed as early-stage Alzheimer’s, the changes in your personality need to be present for more than six months at a time. They must also be not just a “minor change”, but should be a fundamental alteration of your actions, reactions, and habits. That’s how you can tell that the problem is more serious than minor mood swings or emotional difficulties.
It’s important to realize that not even memory tests are 100% accurate when it comes to diagnosing Alzheimer’s. There’s so much about the disease that is still unknown, so it’s often difficult for doctors to make a clear, accurate diagnosis until the disease progresses.