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is Dementia the same as Alzheimer's?

The short answer is not exactly. Dementia encompasses a variety of symptoms related to cognitive decline that are not a normal part of aging. It's caused by physical changes in the brain and can result from various conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Mixed dementia, which involves simultaneous changes from multiple dementia sources, underscores the complexity of diagnosing and treating cognitive decline. It's also important to correct misconceptions like referring to dementia as "senility," which carries inaccurate and stigmatizing implications that serious mental decline is inevitable with aging. Such clarifications are essential in fostering a more informed and compassionate approach to those experiencing dementia.

Alzheimer's disease is a specific type of dementia that is responsible for 60 to 80% of dementia cases, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive function, which is due to the degeneration and death of brain cells. This degeneration affects memory, thinking skills, and the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. The exact causes of Alzheimer's disease are not fully understood, but it involves the accumulation of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, leading to a disruption in the communication between neurons. This disruption affects brain functions and causes the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease is generally diagnosed based on the person's medical history, behavioral observations, and cognitive assessments over time. Imaging tests can also be used to observe changes in brain structure and function. It is important to note that Alzheimer's disease is not just a part of normal aging but a distinct medical condition that requires specific management and care. The progression of the disease can vary, and the impact on cognitive and daily functioning intensifies as the disease advances.​

Frequently Asked Questions


What types of services do you provide?

We provide two main services: psychopharmacology evaluations and medication management. First, you’ll meet with a provider for an evaluation to determine your treatment plan, which may include medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or other recommendations. Second, if medication is appropriate, our providers will help you manage and adjust your medication to make sure it works effectively.

What is the difference between therapy and medication management?

Therapy, sometimes called “talk therapy,” involves talking with a mental health professional to address mental health issues through dialogue and behavioral strategies. Medication management, on the other hand, is a medical approach where a mental health professional prescribes, monitors, and adjusts psychiatric medication to treat mental health conditions to address your physiological symptoms. Often, a combination of talk therapy and medication management is beneficial.

Does this replace my need for a therapist?

Our providers are here to address your concerns and offer support, but it’s important to note that they are not meant to replace a licensed therapist. Evidence suggests that for many mental health conditions, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most effective approach.

How does online psychiatry work?

Virtual psychiatry works just like in-person psychiatry, except instead of sitting in a doctor’s office, you’ll talk to your provider during live video appointments.

What should I expect during a mental health assessment or evaluation?

You’ll connect 1:1 with your new provider to discuss your needs. If appropriate, they’ll prescribe medication and send it to your pharmacy of choice. Regular check-ins will help you track how you’re feeling and any side effects, and your provider will make any needed adjustments.

How do I prepare for my first appointment? How long are typical appointments?

Before your scheduled appointment, you’ll receive new patient forms, which you’ll need to complete in advance. We will also ask for your insurance information, a valid form of identification, a list of any of your current medications, and any relevant medical records or previous psychiatric evaluations.

Typical appointment times vary depending on the nature of your visit and your treatment plan. Initial consultations usually last around 60 minutes, during which you'll have an in-depth discussion with your provider. Follow-up appointments are typically shorter, ranging from 15 to 30 minutes, but this may be adjusted based on your specific needs and progress.

What should I do in case of an emergency or crisis?

If you’re having a medical or mental health emergency, call 911.

Call or text 833-773-2445 for 24/7 Crisis and Mental Health Support from the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line.

How do I schedule an appointment?

To schedule an appointment, please fill out our Appointment Request Form. Someone from the Monomoy Health team will contact you for more information and to help schedule your first appointment. We look forward to working with you!

Do you offer virtual/online appointments?

Yes, we offer virtual appointments. That means you can meet with your provider from the comfort of your home. We recommend choosing a well-lit and quiet space for your meeting.

Are my appointments and information confidential?

Yes. We adhere to the highest standards of privacy and confidentiality to ensure that your personal and medical information is safe, and privacy is a top priority in our practice. For more information, please download our HIPAA policy.