Dementia presents with multiple cognitive deficits, including impairment of memory and disturbances in language, praxis, cognition, and executive functioning, that cause significant impairment and are judged to be related to degenerative, vascular, or other general medical conditions or substances.

Dementia must be differentiated from delirium (no clouding of consciousness in dementia), amnestic disorder (deficit limited to memory), and pseudodementia, a form of depression masquerading as dementia. Recent conceptualizations on a continuum between depressive dementia and dementia spectrum of depression emphasize overlapping pathophysiologic mechanisms rather than differential diagnosis (Emery & Oxman, 1992).


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