Pseudodementia is recognized in people with severe depression. Their apparent cognitive dysfunction is heavily affected by their lack of motivation.
2 Key questions to ask:
- Did low mood or poor memory come first?
- Answer is the mood disturbance precedes the cognitive impairment.
- Is the failure to answer questions due to lack of ability or lack of motivation?
- Answer- lack of motivation. Patients may not try during formal assessments often providing ‘don’t know’ responses to questions asked. They are more likely to complain of memory loss, whereas someone with true dementia is more likely to confabulate and try to hide it.
Pseudodementia is a diagnosis of exclusion in someone with depression, and management aims to treat the underlying mood disorder.