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Question:

I have a problem of sayng things that are wrong or backwards. For instance, the other day I indroduced byself as my sisters mother, when I was thinking my sisters sister. I say things backwards like " thats my coats sister instead of "thats my sisters coat." I do suffer from PTSS. Last night I caught myself not recognizing number on a bingo card!! I am very nervous about this and dread going to the doctor. I am only 40 years old, could it be a sign of Dementia? Thanks, mommanette

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Answer:

With all the public information about dementia it is understandable that you would fear Alzheimer’s disease now that you are 40 years of age. However, these are not typical Alzheimer’s symptoms and there are many other possible explanations. For one thing, as we age it is common for many people to make the types of errors you describe. The spaces between neurons (nerve cells) in the brain are called synapses and they can misfire causing just the type of error you are experiencing. Age is sometimes involved but anxiety, depression and even PTSD can bring about these types of experiences. Most of us just joke about it when it occurs and try to dismiss it.

However, I assume that you are inquiring about this because it is happening to you more frequently than occasionally. In that case it is important that you see your medical doctor. Here are the reasons why a medical consultation is important:

1. There are medications that can cause some of these lapses in thinking and attention. For instance, some of the blood pressure medications, especially the older ones called Beta Blockers have been know to have this effect on some people.

Even anti depressant and anti anxiety medicines can have undesirable side effects such as you are describing. There are also circumstances when medications taken in combination with one another bring about unwanted confusion in the ability to think as well as other side effects.

2. Any type of alcohol or drug abuse are known to impact the brain in sometimes unexpected ways. Of course, mixing medications with the use of alcohol is never a good idea.

3. Changes in blood pressure upward or downward can cause some very disturbing and even dangerous symptoms. This is why having blood pressure checked is so very important. In fact, the general well being and health of the cardio vascular system is important because when problems arise and blood circulation is disturbed there often are very scary changes in cognition.

4. Depression and anxiety as well as anxiety and fear resulting from serious trauma can impact the ability of a person to focus attention, think and reason.

For all of these reasons and more it is important that you see your medical doctor. I always urge people to rule out physical problems before looking at anything psychological as causes of symptoms of any kind. The fact that you have PTSD means that you are thinking more fearfully than you need to. Instead of diagnosing your self with dementia since it is unlikely at your age, please see your MD.

Best of Luck

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