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Mental Health Center

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Dementia in Head Injury

Symptoms of Dementia in Head Injury continued...

Symptoms of dementia in people with head injuries include:

  • Problems thinking clearly
  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration
  • Slowed thought processes
  • Irritability, easily frustrated
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Inappropriate behavior in social situations
  • Grooming and dressing eccentric or neglected
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Aggression, combativeness, or hostility
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vague, nonspecific physical symptoms
  • Apathy

Some people develop seizures after a head injury. These are not part of the dementia, but they can complicate the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

Major mental disorders may develop after head injury. Two or more of these may appear together in the same person:

  • Depression -- Sadness, tearfulness, lethargy, withdrawal, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, insomnia or sleeping too much, weight gain or loss
  • Anxiety -- Excessive worry or fear that disrupts everyday activities or relationships; physical signs such as restlessness or extreme fatigue, muscle tension, sleeping problems
  • Mania -- State of extreme excitement, restlessness, hyperactivity, insomnia, rapid speech, impulsiveness, poor judgment
  • Psychosis -- Inability to think realistically; symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions (false beliefs not shared by others), paranoia (suspicious and feeling of being under outside control), and problems thinking clearly; if severe, behavior seriously disrupted; if milder, behavior bizarre, strange, or suspicious
  • Obsessive-compulsive symptoms -- Development of obsessions (uncontrolled, irrational thoughts and beliefs) and compulsions (odd behaviors that must be carried out to control the thoughts and beliefs); preoccupation with details, rules, or orderliness to such a degree that the larger goal is lost; lack of flexibility or ability to change
  • Suicide risk -- Feelings of worthlessness or that life is not worth living or that world would be better off without him or her, talks about suicide, states intention to commit suicide, develops plan to commit suicide

When to Seek Medical Care for Dementia

Any of the symptoms and signs described in the symptoms section warrants a visit to the person’s health care provider. This is true regardless of whether the person has a known head injury. Be sure the health care provider knows about any falls or accidents that could have involved even a mild head injury.

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