What are Some Causes of Senility?

Senility and other cognitive disorders disrupt the brain's ability to process and store information.
In the advanced stages of senility, someone may be unsure of who he is.
Doctors need specialized empathy and listening skills when assessing patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Major depression in elderly patients can be mistaken for Alzheimer's disease.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2014
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Senility, which is now more commonly referred to as dementia, is characterized by a decrease in cognitive abilities. This may include the person’s ability to concentrate, to recall information, and to properly judge a situation. In addition, the personality of someone with dementia may change, and in the advanced stages, he may be unsure of who he is.

There are several possible causes of senility, many of which are avoidable through proper nutrition, exercise, and positive lifestyle choices. In addition, some types are reversible, but this is only true of approximately 10% of cases.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of senility. This disease begins with difficulty learning or remembering recent events. Approximately 3% of the population develops Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 65, while 20% have it by the time they are 85. Most individuals diagnosed with this condition pass away from it within ten years, with dementia steadily getting worse as the disease progresses.

Overmedication or dehydration may also cause a person to exhibit signs of dementia and can lead to a false diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Major depression can also cause this condition, so a person showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease should be tested to confirm the diagnosis.


A number of brain disorders caused by trauma, illness, or infection can also lead to senility. A variety of conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Binswanger’s disease, Pick’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, strokes, head trauma, and AIDS can also cause it. In each of these cases, the condition is generally not reversible.

Other diseases or illnesses that can cause dementia are sometimes treatable. These include hypothyroidism, depressive pseudodementia, tumors, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and deficiencies in vitamins B1, B12, and A. Individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol are also at an increased risk of developing senility, as are individuals who inhale paint or other substances in order to get high.


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