Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by the loss of cognitive functioning and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person's daily life and activities. These functions include memory, language skills, visual perception, reasoning, problem solving, self-management, personality, and the ability to focus, control emotions, and pay attention.

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability, which means that it ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living. Memory loss is an example of the type of cognitive impairment dementia causes.

Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia.

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For diagnostic and assessment purposes, it is important to note that The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) no longer uses the term dementia, but uses the term Major Neurocognitive Disorder.

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