Vol 16, No 4 (2019)
Prace kazuistyczne
Published online: 2019-09-29
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Severe depression with severe cognitive impairment or dementia?

Marta Julia Broniarczyk-Czarniak, Katarzyna Sowińska, Justyna Białas, Monika Talarowska
Psychiatria 2019;16(4):218-226.

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Vol 16, No 4 (2019)
Prace kazuistyczne
Published online: 2019-09-29

Abstract

Bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) is a chronic mental disorder characterised by high recurrence. There are numerous manic
or hypomanic episodes in the course of the disease. Making a correct diagnosis can be difficult as patients most often
turn for help in the depression phase; they also tend to interpret the hypomania phase as a state of very good mood
and increased creativity, not identifying it with the disease. A depressive episode in the course of BPAD is characterised
by the frequent coexistence of psychotic symptoms, excessive sleepiness and increased appetite. The first episode of
the disease most often occurs at a young age. Apart from the typical symptoms of the depressive syndrome, we often
observe accompanying cognitive disorders, which represent a group of symptoms causing significant discomfort and
suffering to the patient. They most often intensify with the development of the disease and the number of subsequent
episodes. In particular, the effectiveness of attention processes, executive functions and memory is weakened. These
deficits have a negative impact on the patients’ day-to-day functioning at school, in the workplace and in society, and
severely impair it. The case report presented herein shows the difficulties in diagnosing severe cognitive disorders during
a depressive episode in the course of BPAD and the difficulties in differentiating between them and dementia, as well
as presents the effects of electroconvulsive therapy.

Abstract

Bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) is a chronic mental disorder characterised by high recurrence. There are numerous manic
or hypomanic episodes in the course of the disease. Making a correct diagnosis can be difficult as patients most often
turn for help in the depression phase; they also tend to interpret the hypomania phase as a state of very good mood
and increased creativity, not identifying it with the disease. A depressive episode in the course of BPAD is characterised
by the frequent coexistence of psychotic symptoms, excessive sleepiness and increased appetite. The first episode of
the disease most often occurs at a young age. Apart from the typical symptoms of the depressive syndrome, we often
observe accompanying cognitive disorders, which represent a group of symptoms causing significant discomfort and
suffering to the patient. They most often intensify with the development of the disease and the number of subsequent
episodes. In particular, the effectiveness of attention processes, executive functions and memory is weakened. These
deficits have a negative impact on the patients’ day-to-day functioning at school, in the workplace and in society, and
severely impair it. The case report presented herein shows the difficulties in diagnosing severe cognitive disorders during
a depressive episode in the course of BPAD and the difficulties in differentiating between them and dementia, as well
as presents the effects of electroconvulsive therapy.

Get Citation

Keywords

depression, dementia, bipolar disorder, severe cognitive impairment

About this article
Title

Severe depression with severe cognitive impairment or dementia?

Journal

Psychiatria (Psychiatry)

Issue

Vol 16, No 4 (2019)

Pages

218-226

Published online

2019-09-29

Bibliographic record

Psychiatria 2019;16(4):218-226.

Keywords

depression
dementia
bipolar disorder
severe cognitive impairment

Authors

Marta Julia Broniarczyk-Czarniak
Katarzyna Sowińska
Justyna Białas
Monika Talarowska

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