Frontal Lobe Dementia

A Closer Look at Frontal Lobe Dementia

Frontal lobe dementia is often confused with Alzheimer’s disease; however the two conditions are very different from one another. Frontal lobe dementia, also known as frontotemporal dementia or Pick’s disease, is a degenerative disorder that affects the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is one of the four major divisions of the cerebral cortex. It is responsible for controlling behavior and emotions, but also controls consciousness and the ability to solve problems and make conscious and thoughtful decisions. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, frontal lobe dementia generally does not impair one’s memory or their capacity for comprehension, speech, and learning.

What are the symptoms of FLD?

Frontal lobe dementia can produce a variety of symptoms, but the most profound seem to be in the area of behavior. A person suffering from FLD may no longer behave has they should in both public at home. For instance, they may walk into work, the bank, or another public place and kick off their shoes. The symptoms could also lie not in behaving inappropriately in social situations, but becoming less sociable altogether. A former social butterfly could become withdrawn and reclusive as an effect of FLD and could even emit signs of depression. A drastic lack of energy and feeling tired all of the time, becoming irritable, or experiencing a flip-flop of emotional character are other reported symptoms of this condition. After a few years, the damage could spread to the temporal lobes, thus creating symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s, such as changes in language and vision.

What causes FLD?

Frontal lobe dementia most often affects people between the ages of 40 – 65, particularly women more so than men. There is a very distinct familial link with this disease due to a chromosomal mutation. It is estimated that genetics account for up to 10% of all FLD cases, but other diseases, genetic or not, can lead to the onset of FLD. One may also develop this form of dementia due to damage sustained in the frontal lobe which resulted in irreversible trauma to this portion of the brain.

Can FLD be treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure available for frontal lobe dementia. It is, however, very important that someone suffering from FLD has the support of friends or family members to help them manage this condition. Unfortunately, the discovery of frontal lobe dementia can be extremely stressful for a family because it often crops up in people who are still of working age. In fact, most people diagnosed with this condition still have children living at home and are at the pinnacle in their career.

In cases where the adult simply cannot control their behavior adequately enough to carry on working, it is often left to the oldest children (who, incidentally, are young adults themselves) to care for the affected parent. Granted the form of care necessary for FLD is largely supportive, but it is still important that someone suffering from FLD is watched or checked up on often. An FLD sufferer is at a much higher risk of harming themselves or others due to a decreased ability to determine the outcome of actions, such as crossing the street without looking or failing to acknowledge dangerous surroundings like construction sites.

Although seclusion and depression are symptoms of FLD, one should be encouraged to fight these symptoms and try to carry on with normal life as much as possible. Under care, an FLD sufferer can still enjoy going out for walks, shopping, spending time with friends, enjoying hobbies, and many other activities. Carrying on with these everyday activities shows them that life can be enjoyable and bright, regardless of their situation!