Early Dementia – Warning Signs and Treatments

woman leaning against a wall in dim hallway

Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that is more serious than age-related memory loss. In the United States alone, more than 5 million people are diagnosed with some form of the condition. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s; however, dementia can also result from other factors.

Although the most significant risk factor for dementia is advanced age, there are underlying conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms. If identified early, dementia symptoms can be halted, or in some cases reversed.

It can be difficult for people to identify the signs of dementia in themselves. For this reason, family and caregivers often recognize early symptoms first. Many signs of early-stage dementia affect temperament: the individual may avoid social situations and become depressed.

While it is normal for older people to misidentify unfamiliar people or forget very recent events, the inability to recall more familiar people and objects can be a sign of dementia. People who suddenly become disoriented, especially in places that are familiar to them, should be screened for the condition. Increased irritability and halting communication can also indicate a cognitive problem.

If a person shows signs of dementia, they will need to go through a medical evaluation to determine the cause. The physician or specialist will identify whether the dementia is reversible through treatment.

During the diagnosis, the medical professional will review the patient’s family history and look for any genetic susceptibilities to dementia. The patient’s medical history is also considered, as medications and heavy alcohol use can cause dementia-like symptoms.

Patients may also undergo a brain scan to look for any changes or lesions. Since some viruses, like HIV, can appear as dementia, patients may undergo testing for infections. If the individual was recently involved in an accident, the physician may scan for traumatic brain injuries.

For example, people with B12 vitamin deficiency have many symptoms that mirror dementia, like memory loss. Increasing B12 intake through dietary changes and supplements can reverse some of these symptoms.

An overactive or underactive thyroid can also contribute to poor coordination and cognitive decline. Most people will regain their abilities after treatment.

While there are some causes of dementia that cannot be reversed, lifestyle changes and medication can slow neurodegeneration. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce cognitive decline. Physical activity supports blood flow and ensures an adequate supply of oxygen to the brain, which can preserve neuron health. Likewise, exercise reduces many of the risk factors for dementia, including stroke and hypertension.

Heart-healthy diets rich in fresh produce and low in fat can have a protective effect on the brain. Food with high levels of antioxidants help protect neurons against damage from toxic particles known as free radicals. Healthy diets also facilitate neural growth by promoting blood flow and stimulating brain areas associated with memory.

In addition, mental stimulation proves effective in slowing dementia, whether achieved through learning a new skill or playing challenging games or puzzles. Some evidence exists that mentally stimulating activities can slow neuron degeneration and encourage the brain to build new connections. This fortifies brain matter, making the individual more resilient to dementia symptoms.

Play Therapy Techniques

 

Play Therapy pic

Play Therapy
Image: playtherapy.org

Dr. Miriam Galindo is a licensed psychologist and social worker in California. Helping families involved in divorce, Dr. Miriam Galindo is a registered child play therapist.

The goal of child play therapy is to assist children in sorting through and communicating complicated feelings. A variety of play therapy techniques include:

Baby dolls. 

Typically involving a therapist and a child with dolls, the play gives the therapist an opportunity to observe the child’s treatment of the doll. For example, mistreatment of the doll suggests that the child may have been mistreated.

Coloring. 

In this creative arts technique, therapists may ask children to draw a timeline of their life and add colors to show their feelings during those times. Common colors may include red for anger and blue for sadness.

Games.

Designed to help kids express their emotions, games such as pick-up sticks, checkers, chess, and other strategy games may build a bond between therapists and children and help children feel a higher level of control and focus in their lives. This, in turn, helps them feel happier.

Uses for Play Therapy

Play Therapy pic

Play Therapy
Image: playtherapy.org

Dr. Miriam Galindo works in child psychology in a private practice in Irvine, California. One area of child psychology in which Dr. Miriam Galindo specializes is play therapy, a process for children to express complex emotions and explore their psychological wellness through play.

In play therapy, mental health practitioners watch children play in a controlled setting and observe their skills and behaviors. By mastering social, coping, and problem-solving skills in the play context, children can learn broadly applicable skills that may help them deal with unresolved issues. While play therapy can be appropriate for patients of any age, it is mostly used for young children.

One area in which play therapy excels, whether as a primary intervention method or a form of adjunctive therapy, is the management of social, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Issues such as anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, and compulsive disorders have been treated with play therapy. Play therapy can also assist young people who are in the midst of a crisis or who have undergone a traumatic event such as a divorce or a death in the family.

How to Become a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

 

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

As a licensed psychologist and social worker, Dr. Miriam Galindo has dedicated her career to assisting at-risk children and families. Dr. Marian Galindo completed training as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and obtained practical experience at Parents United/Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program.

A registered or advanced practice nurse can complete specific clinical preparation and education to become a medical professional who cares for victims of abuse and sexual assault. Nurses who want to take SANE training should have at least two years of experience in an area such as critical care or emergency, which demand advanced skills for conducting physical assessments.

Recognized SANE training must comply with the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) SANE education guidelines and typically involves clinical and classroom components. However, local requirements for SANE training vary among states, provinces, and countries.

Nurses who receive SANE training and complete the clinical practice component have the option to take board-certified exams offered by IAFN. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Pediatric (SANE-P) and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent (SANE-A) exams are generally taken by nurses who provide services to these specific groups of patients.

Popular Book Gives Hope for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog pic

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog
Image: amazon.com

Miriam Galindo of Irvine, California, a former social worker and a licensed psychologist focusing on family therapy during divorce, also assists the Orange County Superior Court system as an expert advisor. Her 20-year practice has often involved working with at-risk children and families. Miriam Galindo’s wide-ranging experience has enabled her to serve her clients with both insight and compassion.

There are a number of popular books for lay readers on the topic of children’s experience of trauma. One of the most popular–and one of the most widely praised by professionals–is The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook. Author Bruce D. Perry established the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas, with the mission of improving the lives and prospects of children who have survived extreme trauma. A decade ago, he published the book, a series of case studies from his own practice.

Reviews have noted the book’s harrowing, intricately detailed descriptions of how physical and emotional abuse blighted the lives of children in a variety of circumstances. In many of these cases, experts diagnosed severe forms of deprivation-induced cognitive, social, and emotional impairments as a result of trauma. But one of the key takeaways for many readers is Perry’s demonstrations of how compassion, human interaction, and patient, repeated re-patterning of experience can result not only in intellectual blossoming, but also in rich and happy lives.

The CAMFT On-Demand Learning Library

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapistspic

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Image: camft.org

A licensed social worker and psychologist working in private practice, Miriam Galindo helps children and families navigate difficult matters relating to high-conflict divorce. Active within the professional community, Miriam Galindo maintains membership with the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), an independent professional organization.

Among the many educational opportunities available through CAMFT is the On-Demand Learning Library, cosponsored by Northcentral University, which provides professionals with online access to continuing education workshops. These workshops can be purchased individually or viewed for free, and they cover a huge range of topics, including supervision and private practice management. Members often receive a discount when purchasing workshops through the library, though nonmembers are also welcome. Once a workshop is purchased, access to the video does not expire.

Consisting of more than 40 workshop videos, CAMFT’s On-Demand Learning Library can help professionals earn more than 100 continuing education credits. These credits can be used in earning licensure or completing license renewal requirements for LEPs, LCSWs, LMFTs, and LPCCs. Professionals can also access legal and ethical exchange articles, compendiums, tests, and tutorials through the library.

How Family Therapy can Help Children with Behavioral Disorders

 

Family Therapy pic

Family Therapy
Image: psychiatry.org

A private practice psychologist and licensed clinical social worker based in Irvine, California, Dr. Miriam Galindo has a private practice working with children and families dealing with the aftermath of high-conflict divorce. Well-versed in the psychology of young children, Miriam Galindo has trained in counseling special needs children as well as their families.

It is estimated that by age 18, one-third of children will have some type of disability. While the child may struggle to live with a diagnosis, the entire family is affected. Many families benefit greatly from counseling during this difficult time, as the parents are the primary caregivers and need to be trained in how to properly handle the needs of their child.

Children diagnosed with autism, ADHD, or any other behavioral disorder can be helped greatly by parents who take an active role in their life and healing. Often in therapy, parents can become co-therapists or teachers of new skills, using techniques to promote better behavior in children. Reducing family stress can put a stop to a child’s disruptive behavior.

How Art Can Overcome Trauma

Overcome Trauma pic

Overcome Trauma
Image: traumaabusetreatment.com

A licensed psychologist and social worker, Dr. Miriam Galindo maintains a private practice in Irvine, California, where she typically assists families going through high-stress divorce and child custody cases. Dr. Miriam Galindo focuses on play and art therapy, which holds enormous potential to help not only children working through family crises, but also those around the world who have experienced traumas associated with war, persecution, and forced migration.

Many psychologists and laypeople formerly believed that encouraging children to remember and draw their recollections of extreme traumas did more harm than good. Today, experts know better, and often use art as a means of personal catharsis and one of the first steps in emotional recovery.

Humanitarian aid workers in Darfur were astonished in 2005 when young victims of the tiny East African country’s violent militant group began creating paintings and drawings associated with their traumas. Even professional news photographers had been unable to capture some of the images the children were creating. Many of the pieces were so accurate that they were offered into evidence before the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Psychologists also have written moving accounts of how art helped other young victims of civil wars in the developing world. In one example, a young girl who had witnessed the massacre of her family and the burning of their home drew her way through the agonizing details. The process helped her to release her fear and anguish. She went on to attend high school and work toward her dream of becoming a teacher.

How Divorce Impacts Infants and Toddlers

 

Divorce pic

Divorce
Image: psychologytoday.com

Mental health professional Dr. Miriam Galindo serves as an approved child custody evaluator, licensed social worker, and psychologist in Irvine, California. Dr. Miriam Galindo largely focuses her work on families involved in divorce cases.

Although infants and toddlers are unable to understand divorce, they are still affected by it due to their ability to perceive changes within their environments. In most cases, toddlers can see that one parent is no longer present, but the children do not understand why that parent has left.

Toddlers can also pick up on the stress, tension, and behavioral changes exhibited by their parents. As a result, toddlers may become aggressive, anxious, or develop separation anxiety and act out more often.

Meanwhile, infants pick up on the emotional and behavioral changes of their parents, but infants are unable to understand why the conflict exists. Infants frequently start mirroring the behavior of their parents and may become fussier than normal or less interested in people and things. Many infants develop stranger anxiety around the parent they see less often, and some may feel a sense of abandonment, especially when they are separated from their primary caregiver.

Helping Children Cope with Divorce

Helping Children pic

Helping Children
Image: divorcesupport.about.com

For more than 20 years, Miriam Galindo has served as a licensed social worker and psychologist in California. Currently working in private practice, Miriam Galindo handles a wide variety of child psychology matters that relate to high-conflict divorce cases from the Orange County Superior Court.

Divorce is a challenging situation for both parents and children. A few things parents can do to help their children cope during the process include:

Planning alternatives. Some parents never have a problem with the other parent not showing up to see the child. To prevent a child from feeling let down when this happens, consider planning alternative activities. If an ex doesn’t call or arrive within a specific amount of time, parents can take their kids to the mall or to a different special activity.

Legitimizing their feelings. During the divorce process, most children are going to experience a wide range of feelings. Rather than ignoring these feeling or trying to make the feelings go away, parents should ensure their children know that their feelings are valid. Further, parents should encourage their children to let out their feelings.

Keeping themselves healthy. Children are often extremely adept at picking up on their parents’ feelings. Due to this, parents should manage their stress and keep themselves as emotionally healthy as possible. This ensures parents are capable of providing their children with plenty of care and support during a divorce.