Dementia: Acute Chronic Senile And Paralytic





In dementia the mental aberration does not occur until the mind has

become fully developed, thus differing from amentia, which is congenital

or comes on very early in life.



=Acute Dementia.=--This is a condition of profound melancholy or stupor,

which arises from sudden mental shock, the mind being, as it were,

arrested and fixed in abstraction on the event.



=Chronic Dementia= is generally caused by the gradual action on the mind

of grief or anxiety, by severe pain, mania, apoplexy, paralysis, or

repeated attacks of epilepsy.



=Senile Dementia= is a form which is incidental to aged persons, and

commences gradually with such symptoms as loss of memory for recent

events, dulness of perception, and inability to fix the attention. Later

on the reasoning powers begin to fail, and finally, memory, reason, and

power of attention, are quite lost, the muscular power and force

remaining intact. In the last stage there is simply bare physical

existence.



=General Paralysis of the Insane, Paralytic Dementia.=--This is a most

interesting form of dementia. It is closely allied to, if not identical

with, locomotor ataxy. Its most prominent and characteristic symptom

consists in delusions of great power, exalted position, and unlimited

wealth--megalomania. The exaltation is universal, and the patient may

maintain at one and the same time that he is running a theatrical

company, that he is the Prince of Wales, and that he is the Almighty.

Moral perversion is a common symptom, and the patient is often guilty of

criminal assaults, indecent exposures, bigamous marriages, and the like.

It is accompanied with progressive bodily and mental decay. Women are

comparatively rarely affected by it, and it generally commences in men

about middle age, and its duration is from a few months to three years.

It is commonly parasyphilitic in origin. Paralytic symptoms first appear

in the tongue, lips, and face; the speech becomes thick and hesitating.

The paralytic symptoms gradually go on increasing, the sphincters refuse

to act, and death may occur from suffocation and choking. Sometimes,

during the earlier stages especially, there may be maniacal paroxysms or

epileptic fits. The delusions remain the same throughout, the patient

always expresses himself as being happy, and his last words will

probably have reference to money and other absurd delusions.



When a person of hitherto blameless life is charged with an act of

indecency, he should be examined for G.P.I. The condition of his

prostate should also be investigated. He may be suffering from either

mental or physical disease, or both (see p. 59).





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