Does anyone know about semantic psychosis?

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by Kate P, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    I have pursuaded my father to attend a local Alzheimer's support meeting as we are currently trying to get my mum diagnosed as we believe she has been suffering with dementia for nearly four years now! He has come back and told me that someone at the meeting has mentioned semantic psychosis(?) and he thinks it is more likely that mum has this as the first real symptom was that she lost the ability to speak - she can manage one word answers but they're usually the wrong words. I can't find anything about this on the Internet so I'm assuming he's got the name of the condition wrong. Does anyone know of this condition or is losing the ability to speak a "normal" symptom of dementia?
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    it is a common symptom. I hesitate to say normal because each and every case is slightly different, and some people talk right up to the end. Others may lose speech early on. It simply depends on the parts of the brain being affected.

    ... just my experience.
  3. louise@weinprop

    louise@weinprop Registered User

    May 12, 2005
    Semantic Psychosis

    Hi - My husband, who is now 61, also lost the ability to speak, or should I say "word recall" He hardly speaks at all in company as he is unable to find the right words, but with me it is like role play until I know what he is trying to say.
    It is the most frustrating symptom of Alzheimers as you can see in his eyes he is dying to participate in the conversation, but just can't think of the words, or else babbles on about something totally unconnected. I tend to keep him in the family fold only, to avoid this frustration. I would be very interested to hear more about this Semantic Psychosis ? Take care .......
  4. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    Hi Kate P,

    I think the term may be "semantic dementia". As Bruce says, language difficulties can occur at many points during the progression of dementia. If they occur in a particular stage (such as quite early), they can be a diagnostic clue as to the type of dementia.

    The Alzheimer's Society has a good fact sheet on how the different areas of the brain can be affected:

    One UK site that discusses semantic dementia is the Picks Disease Support Group, so you might also want to look at this page:

    Take care,

  5. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007

    Thanks to you all for such quick and helpful responses - I can see I'm going to become a regular on here!!

    The site you directed me to was great Sandy and boy does it all look familiar.

    It's all just so confusing isn't it? To be honest my mum has been unwell for nearly four years - she was 56 when it started - and my sister and I have only been able to persuade my dad to start doing something about it in the last couple of months, mainly because she was finally forced to finish from her work. Talk about dragging it out!

    It all just seems so bleak and hopeless at the moment and so desperately sad and both my sister and I are finding it so difficult to manage emotionally. I'm in work right now baring my teeth and daring anyone to come to me with a sob story of "somebodies used my pen"! Keeping my temper has never been so difficult.

    Has everyone else found this? Does it get better or do you just learn to live with it?
  6. JMW

    JMW Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007
    Hi there,

    Does it get better or do you just learn to live with it?

    From my own experience i think i just learnt to live with it, my mother has had Alzheimers for a few years now but i think it took me about 2 years in total looking back to really accept that it was happening. Obviously everyone is different but i didn't have the support of my brother unfortunately so hopefully you and your sister can be there for each other. I did, however, have the support of my husband which carried me through.

    Take care

  7. JMW

    JMW Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007
    Sorry i also meant to say that you will go through many different feelings, anger, guilt, sadness and each one you will get through and learn to deal with. Makes it sound easy eh but with love and support things won't seem so bleak.

  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Kate,

    Welcome to TP.

    I can`t help with the language situation, as my husband`s language is fine, even after 8 years.

    I see you have already had some constructive responses which have been helpful, and this is the beauty of TP. Whatever the variants of dementia, there is always someone here who understands your problem.

    For me, that is how it `gets better` and how I `learnt to live with it`.

    Keep in touch.

    Love xx
  9. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    #9 Skye, Jul 6, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007
    Hi Kate

    Welcome to TP.

    It sounds as if your mum may be suffering from the same variant of dementia as my husband. John was originally diagnosed with AD, but two years ago, after five years, the consultany said he was not progressing in the way he would have expected for AD, and said he thought it might be Primary Progressive Aphasia.

    This is a rare variant of fronto-temporal dementia where the first area of the brain to be damaged is the language centre, and it is only in the later stages that problems develop in the rest of the brain.

    John cannot understand what is said to him now, and his speech is difficult to understand. He can no longer read or write.

    Until last year those were his only real problems, and we led a comparatively normal life. Last year he declined dramatically, and this seems to be fairly typical of the disease. The seventh year is the critical one.

    You are right, there is little on the web of help. There is an american forum, but it doesn't have many posts. However, it's sometimes an interesting read. Just google Primary Progressive Aphasia and you'll find several sites.

    But the best support is here. Although part od th Alzheimer's Society, there are people here coping with all different variations of dementia, and in all different stages. I've learned so much here, and I'm sure you will too.


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