Social Worker Darby Morhardt describes frontal temporal dementia (FTD) and possible symptoms.
Frontotemporal dementia is a disease of the brain where personality, judgment, executive functions are the first symptoms to manifest themselves. Our ability to multitask, our ability to organize our day, those are symptoms that as somebody with frontotemporal, if someone has frontotemporal dementia, they are going to have less and less ability to do that. They also may say and do things they never would have dreamed of saying or doing before.
Some people become very disinhibited, sexually provocative. People have had affairs that have been the most loyal, faithful partner. People have also, it often looks like a mania, like a manic depressive type or bipolar disorder because people are going out and spending their lifesavings, and those who had never done that before, just these are upstanding citizens who all of a sudden have all these changes in their behavior, and this happens at an age where, that is much younger than Alzheimer’s disease.
People with frontotemporal dementia tend to get this in their 50s. It can be 40s or early 60s, but it is rare for someone, maybe over the age of 70 or 75 to really develop the frontotemporal dementia. So this is an early onset issue, and there is a whole host of developmental issues that families are facing and that are quite different from those with Alzheimer’s disease that are in a later age.
About Darby Morhardt, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.:
Darby Morhardt is a research associate professor, the Director of Education, and a clinical research social worker at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research interests include early stage and Younger Onset dementia programs and services, the dynamics and functioning of caregiving families, the subjective experience of Alzheimer's disease, and primary care physician education.