Getting help from your doctor

Overview

If you suspect you might have dementia or have received a diagnosis, it will help to find out how doctors and other health workers can help you. 

There are good reasons why you should talk to your doctor:

  • to find out what is causing your symptoms (the diagnosis)
  • to get any treatment that might help you, whether the problem is dementia or something else.

Many people think that memory problems are just a sign of old age and not a medical condition that could benefit from drug treatment or other advice and support. Or that their problems aren’t important enough to ‘bother the doctor’ about. But if the problem is affecting your life, you should take it seriously, and so should your family and your doctor. It may not turn out to be anything to worry about. See your family doctor (general practitioner) if you have noticed a change, gradual or sudden, from what is normal for you, or if your symptoms are causing you problems in your life.

Some possible causes of forgetfulness and confusion:

  • stress, for example, after a bereavement
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • tiredness
  • an infection, for example a chest or a bladder infection
  • other illnesses such as vitamin deficiency or thyroid disorder
  • the side effects of drugs
  • long-term overuse of alcohol or some tranquillisers
  • the menopause
  • the normal ageing process (which causes mild forgetfulness or difficulty finding words)
  • dementia

When you visit your doctor, take a list of what you want to ask, and a notepad to write down what he or she says. You can also take a friend or relative with you, who could tell the doctor what changes he or she has noticed and help you remember what the doctor says.

To talk to someone about dementia, call our 24 Hour Dementia Helpline. 

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