Sometimes symptoms that mimic dementia are due to other causes. In the elderly, infections, dietary deficiencies, reactions to medications, stress or depression all can bring on forgetfulness, paranoia, mood swings and other indicators that doctors and family members assume are caused by dementia.
But treating the underlying cause can reverse these symptoms. Gary Drevitch, writing for Next Avenue, describes his personal experience with “reversible dementia” when his wife’s grandmother had an infection that was mistaken for dementia. It’s a cautionary reminder to consider other possible underlying causes rather than just assuming that dementia is “normal” in the elderly.