Early Symptoms of Dementia Appear as Memory Loss and Mental Confusion

Discover the common causes of memory loss and mental confusion, including brain tumors, chronic alcohol abuse, dehydration, depression and more. Learn how these conditions can affect an individual's mental status and how they may be reversible

Early Symptoms of Dementia Appear as Memory Loss and Mental Confusion
Early Symptoms of Dementia

Some symptoms of dementia appear as memory loss and mental confusion.

The causes of mental confusion or memory loss can affect anyone at any age. Memory loss is not just a condition that is age specific.

What appears, as symptoms of dementia may not be dementia. Instead, another condition that exhibits …many of the same signs and symptoms. These conditions and the causes can reverse and improve a person’s mental status. Others are progressive in nature. And will continue to deteriorate an individual’s ability to function.

Here is a list of some common causes of mental confusion, memory problems or causes of memory loss.

I will try to explain how the loss affects memory and how it relates to types of dementia.

Brain tumor There are a variety of different brain tumors. A brain tumor can grow in any area of the brain. It can affect many different mental and physical abilities. This depends on the location of the tumor. It can exhibit as short-term memory loss or behavioral problems.

Depending on the type of tumor and how fast it grows… it can affect an individual’ personality and mental functions. This happens by destroying or growing over the healthy brain cells.

Again, depending on the speed of the growth of the tumor.. and the location of the tumor in the brain, it may cause mental confusion. Some individuals may exhibit dementia like behaviors.

Mental changes and decreased mental functioning may be reversible. This is possible if the tumor can be removed or decreased in size with chemotherapy and or radiation.

A person with a brain tumor may have a complete return of their previous brain function. This of course, will depend on the size, location and type of tumor.

Chronic Abuse of Alcohol

Drinking alcohol affects the brain's ability to function normally. Alcohol depresses the brain's ability to function resulting in loss of memory. Individuals that chronically abuse alcohol, have periods where they black out and do not remember any of their actions. The body of an individual that has chronically abused alcohol requires increasing levels of alcohol to function.

Studies show that alcohol damages the brain cells that are responsible for communicating the nerve impulses from one brain cell to another. These brain cells are small branch like areas called dendrites. Just a few drinks of alcohol cause a change in mood, slurred speech, memory problems and poor judgment. There is a reason why it is strongly recommended to not drink and drive.

Chronic abuse of alcohol can cause permanent brain damage. The brain damage causes permanent irreversible changes that affect a person’s memory, speech pattern, personality and almost every aspect of mental functioning.


Drinking water and other fluids is important to the body to function at its optimal level. Every organ in the body, even the brain requires an adequate amount of fluids to function properly.

A decreased intake in fluids can cause dehydration. This can result in a temporary state of confusion. An individual with the diagnosis of dementia will experience an increase their mental confusion. This mental confusion can be reversed by rehydration by encouraging an increase in fluid intake. For some it may require intravenous fluids.


Depression is not a normal part of aging. It is a common cause of memory loss, forgetfulness and mental confusion. Many times these symptoms appear to be symptoms of dementia, when they are not. The aging senior experience many life changes and loss. For some, retirement, medical issues, change in living environment, social isolation, the loss of friends or a spouse can cause undue stress and result in depression.

Being aware of the signs of depression and encouraging treatment can reverse the decline in mental status. It is also important to manage our stress.

Environmental Factors

There are a variety of different environmental factors that may or may not play a role in the causes of mental confusion, memory loss or even dementia.

Researchers have not been able to conclusively link the role any toxins in the environment we are exposed to results in affecting mental functioning that results in dementia. Lead, aluminum, poor air quality, water pollution, insecticides, chemicals and preservatives have been identified as possible causes to memory loss. None of these cause irreversible mental confusion.

At the present time, the jury is still out on the extent our environment plays in developing dementia. Of course, infections cause a build up of biological toxins in the body. It has been found that infections can result in dementia, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Head injury or Trauma to the Head

Head injuries can occur from a fall to an automobile accident. The damage that can occur to the brain can be temporary or permanent. This will depend on the severity of the trauma.

A sudden and unexpected trauma to the head can cause:

Mental confusion

Changes in personality

Difficulty with language


Behavior problems

Short term memory loss

And many other symptoms.

In most cases, this does not result in dementia. Severe brain damage can result in symptoms of dementia. This is when the brain is not able to fully recover and heal from the trauma inflicted.

Have more questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Question section of the website. You will find a lot of different questions answered directly.

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