Friday, May 15, 2009

The Psychological Toll of Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease

Lisa Carbo knew something was wrong. The former registered nurse from Metairie, La., began experiencing difficulty in remembering how to perform various functions at her job. Multitasking became harder. Eventually she was written up for poor performance, prompting her to seek medical help.

Carbo was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in November 2007, at the age of 53.

Before her Alzheimer's diagnosis, Carbo had plans for her golden years. "I hoped to semi-retire, spend the rest of [my] life with someone, continue to be productive, travel," she said. "I love animals, I had planned to do a lot more volunteering with animal shelters."

Her diagnosis changed everything: She lost her job and her boyfriend left her. "All those hopes and dreams are smashed. They're all gone. It's like everything that you planned on for your life is gone."

Fortunately for Carbo, she was able to find help to deal with the depression brought about by her diagnosis. She began taking antidepressants and started seeing a therapist.


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