Dementia is a general term for a large class of disorders characterized by progressive deterioration of thinking ability and memory as the brain becomes damaged. Essentially when memory loss is so severe that it interferes with normal daily functioning, it is called dementia.
Dementia is usually characterized by severe memory loss in conjunction with
- one or more of aphasia (loss of the ability to produce or understand language),
- apraxia (the inability to make certain movements, despite a healthy body),
- agnosia (problems recognizing familiar persons and objects, even though the senses are functioning) or
- executive dysfunction (inability to plan, organize or reason).