What Are the Stages of Frontotemporal Dementia?

What Are the Stages of Frontotemporal Dementia?

The beginning symptoms of frontotemporal dementia include mood changes such as withdrawal or depression, obsessive behavior and difficulties with language, according to the University of California San Francisco. As this condition progresses, it affects memory and speech ability.

In addition to depression, early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia also include a loss of inhibition and antisocial behavior, explains UCSF. Antisocial behavior may manifest as apathy or an unwillingness to talk. Unusual verbal, sexual or physical behavior is usually the result of a lack of inhibition. Obsessive behavior may result in weight gain if the patient overeats excessively,

Some patients stop attending to personal hygiene and resist encouragement to care for themselves. Lack of awareness or concern is also exhibited. FTD is frequently misdiagnosed as depression, schizophrenia or Alzheimer's when caught in the early stages, notes UCSF.

Mental abilities become more affected as FTD progresses into the later stages, and many patients lose the ability to speak or move normally and cannot care for themselves, says UCSF. Movement is often rigid, slow or unsteady. The patient may also experience twitches, muscle weakness and difficulty swallowing.

Doctors at the UCSF Memory and Aging center found that a small group of patients exhibited new skills in art and music. Artistic skills developed when the brain cell loss occurred mostly in the left frontal lobe.