Simply Put, How is Alzheimer’s Different from Dementia?

Dr Dale Atkins

Dale V. Atkins, Ph.D.

The author of several books, textbook chapters, and articles in popular and professional journals, “Dr. Dale”, as she is widely known, is a highly regarded motivational and keynote speaker who lectures worldwide at business, health, educational, and social service venues. With a special gift for presenting complex psychological, sociological, and educational research in understandable terms she appeals to a wide variety of audiences.

Dr. Atkins frequently comments on NBC’s Today Show and CNN’s Headline News about social / relationship issues. Additionally, she is a consultant and on-screen expert for several award-winning documentaries, news programs, and educational training films. She serves on the Boards of several non-profit local and national organizations and educational institutions whose foci are literacy, tolerance, wellness, community action, and child protection. An active volunteer, she and her dog are a certified “dog therapy team.”

Dr. Atkins earned a Ph.D. at the University of California at Los Angeles in Educational Psychology (Early Childhood Education); an M.A. in Special Education (Deafness) from Teacher’s College at Columbia University; and a B.S. from New York University. She has a private psychology practice in New York City.


There can be great confusion felt on the part of family members and their aging loved ones regarding the differences between a dementia diagnosis and an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. To put it as simply as possible, dementia is a symptom and Alzheimer’s disease is a cause of the symptom.

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but there are as many as 50 other causes, though most of them are quite rare.

A down-to-Earth, plain English explanation of the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia.


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