Why Over 94% of Dementia Patients Struggle to Acknowledge Their Cognitive Deficits


HEALTH - Dementia
Navigating the complexities of dementia poses significant challenges for both individuals diagnosed with the condition and their caregivers.

One particularly formidable hurdle is the presence of anosognosia, a condition where patients are unable to acknowledge or accept their cognitive deficits.

What is Anosognosia?

Anosognosia, meaning “without knowledge of disease,” is a neurological condition characterised by the brain’s inability to recognise its own cognitive or psychiatric illness. According to a 2021 article in Frontiers in Psychiatry, approximately 95% of early-onset dementia patients and 98% of late-onset dementia patients experience anosognosia.

Individuals with anosognosia often downplay their symptoms and resist treatment.

This can manifest in various ways, such as insisting on driving despite having their license revoked, struggling with familiar tasks like cooking without accepting help, or becoming lost on routine walks while remaining convinced of their ability to navigate.

Caring for Someone with Anosognosia

Caring for a person with anosognosia requires understanding their fluctuating awareness levels and respecting their desire for independence when safe.

Encouraging shared activities and acknowledging their emotions, rather than relying on logic, can help alleviate frustration and tension. It’s crucial not to take their resistance personally, as anosognosia stems from cognitive impairment rather than deliberate stubbornness or denial.

Anosognosia is a genuine neurological condition that exacerbates dementia symptoms, particularly in variants affecting the frontal lobe. Preventive measures for anosognosia mirror those for dementia, emphasising maintaining a healthy lifestyle.



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