Dementia & Memory Disorders

Dementia & Memory Disorders

Most people have occasional memory lapses and develop some degree of decline in cognitive capacity over time.  However, sometimes the problems are more troublesome and interfere with an individual’s ability to carry out activities of daily living (e.g., problems at work, forgetting important appointments or medications, and trouble managing one’s finances).  When memory problems begin to interfere on this level, assistance from professionals who specialize in memory loss may be needed.  Early diagnosis can increase the chances of successfully treating certain conditions.

Memory difficulties can have a number of different causes, including cardiovascular problems, hormonal imbalances, infections, certain combinations of medication, strokes, severe depression, prolonged alcohol or drug abuse, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease), and other medical and neurological conditions.

What We Do

At San Diego BrainWorks, we thoroughly assess for memory deficits, impairment in other cognitive abilities, intellectual decline, and emotional and behavioral disturbances. We help to determine that cause of one’s difficulty as well as to differentiate between normal age-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia.  Our evaluations can also assist with distinguishing among different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and Parkinson’s disease dementia. We offer to provide evaluations in the convenience of your own home should you feel more comfortable there or be limited by pain or mobility issues.

We will work closely with you or your loved one’s physician to determine the cause of the memory problem and appropriate treatment.  Following our evaluation, we might recommend further diagnostic studies (MRI/fMRI or PET scans), medication, or repeat testing to monitor disease progression over time. We also provide individuals and their families with psychoeducation and support, community resources, follow-up over time, and treatment interventions if appropriate.  Home-based interventions might include teaching effective compensatory strategies and restructuring the home environment to minimize daily difficulties.

When To Consider An Evaluation

  • Gradual decline in memory over months or years

  • Abrupt change in cognitive functioning 

  • Episodes of confusion

  • Becoming lost 

  •  Changes in personality or behavior (e.g., sadness, loss of interest, or aggression)

  • Decline in self-care skills

  • Social withdraw

  • Trouble making good decisions