Do You Have a Problem?
Alcohol & Drugs
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking and/or drug use?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking and/or drug use?
- Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking and/or drug use?
- Have you ever had a drink or other drug upon rising to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
- Have you ever broken a promise to reduce your drinking and/or drug use or to quit altogether?
- Have drinking and/or the use of other drugs interfered with your work, relationships, or other commitments?
- Have you ever lied to cover up your drinking and/or drug use?
- Are you drinking and/or using drugs during the work day?
- Are you coming to work after a long night of drinking and/or using drugs and then counting the hours until the end of the work day to have a drink and/or use drugs again?
- Have you ever had trouble sleeping because of gambling?
- Are you reluctant to use “gambling” money to pay bills?
- Do you ever gamble longer and/or spend more money than planned?
- Have you had to sell things to finance your gambling?
- After a win, do you have a strong urge to return and win some more?
- Has gambling adversely affected your relationships, reputation, or career?
- Do you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts?
- Do arguments, frustrations, or disappointments create an urge to gamble? Other commitments?
- Have you ever borrowed client’s monies to cover your gambling debt or to finance your gambling?
Stress & Anxiety
Two or more continuous weeks of
- Feeling anxious, frustrated, and/or irritable
- Feeling on edge
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Experiencing fatigue, headaches, and/or muscle aches
- Having lowered productivity and/or performance
- Experiencing catastrophic thinking
Two or more continuous weeks of:
- Feeling sad, lonely, despair, hopeless
- Experiencing over/under reaction to events
- Having problems concentrating/remembering
- Experiencing difficulty in making decisions
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Experiencing insomnia or wanting to sleep all the time
- Experiencing the loss of enjoyment from previously enjoyable activities
- Feeling unmotivated, apathetic, and bored
Other common symptoms include:
- Personality change
- Apathy and withdrawal
- Loss of ability to do everyday tasks
Sometimes people fail to recognize that these symptoms indicate that something is wrong. They may mistakenly assume that such behavior is a normal part of the ageing process. Or symptoms may develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Sometimes, people may refuse to act even when they know something is wrong.
Ten warning signs
This is a checklist of common symptoms of dementia. Go through the list of the symptoms, if there are several that you say ‘yes’ to, a doctor should be consulted for a complete examination of the person with the symptoms.
Recent memory loss that affects job skills
- It is normal to forget meetings, colleagues’ names, or a business associate’s telephone number occasionally, but then remember them later.
- A person with dementia may forget things more often, and not remember them later.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them when the meal has finished.
- A person with dementia might prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it, but also forget they made it.
Problems with language
- Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes.
- A person with dementia may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words.
Disorientation of time and place
- It is normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment.
- People with dementia can become lost on their own street, not know where they are, how they got there or how to get back home.
Poor or decreased judgment
- Dementia affects a person’s memory and concentration and this in turn affects their judgment. Many activities, such as driving, require good judgment and when this ability is affected, the person will be a risk, not only to themselves, but to others on the road.
Problems with abstract thinking
- Balancing a checkbook may be difficult for many of us.
- Someone with dementia could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.
- Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys.
- A person with dementia may repeatedly put things in inappropriate places.
Changes in mood or behavior
- Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time.
- Someone with dementia can have rapid mood swings from calm to tears to anger, for no apparent reason.
Changes in personality
- People’s personalities can change a little with age.
- A person with dementia can become suspicious or fearful, or just apathetic and uncommunicative. They may also become dis-inhibited, over-familiar or more outgoing than previously.
Loss of initiative
- It is normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations.
- The person with dementia may become very passive and require cues prompting them to become involved.
Don’t assume it’s dementia
Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, alcoholism, infections, hormone disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumors can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.
A correct diagnosis is important
Consulting a doctor to obtain a diagnosis is critical at an early stage.
A complete medical and psychological assessment may identify a treatable condition and ensure that it is treated correctly, or confirm the presence of dementia and then ensure assistance is provided.
Such an assessment might include the following:
- A detailed medical history, provided if possible by the person with the symptoms and a close relative or friend. This helps to establish whether there is a slow or sudden onset of symptoms and their progression.
- A thorough physical and neurological examination, including tests of the senses and movements to rule out other causes of dementia and to identify medical illnesses which may worsen the confusion associated with dementia.
- Laboratory tests including a variety of blood and urine tests called a “dementia screen” to test for a variety of possible illnesses which could be responsible for the symptoms. The dementia screen is available through a doctor.
- Neuropsychological testing to identify retained abilities and specific problem areas such as comprehension, insight and judgment.
- Other specialized tests such as a chest x-ray, ECG, or CT scan.
- A mental status test to check the range of intellectual functions affected by the dementia such as memory, the ability to read, write and calculate.
- Psychiatric assessment to identify treatable disorders which can mimic dementia, such as depression, and also to manage psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety or delusions, which may occur alongside a dementing illness.