Cognitive disorders are a category of mental health disorders that primarily affect learning, memory, perception, and problem solving, and include amnesia, dementia, and delirium. The four major categories of cognitive disorders are:
- Delirium: a change in consciousness that develops over a short period of time in which people have a reduced awareness of their environment
- Dementia: a progressive deterioration of brain function that is marked by impairment of memory, confusion and inability to concentrate
- Amnesia: a significant loss of the memory, despite no loss of other cognitive functions like there is in dementia
- Cognitive disorders not otherwise specified:cognitive impairment presumed to be due to a general medical condition or substance use and does not fit into the other categories.
Cognitive disorders are defined as any disorder that significantly impairs the cognitive function of an individual to the point where normal functioning in society is impossible without treatment. Some common cognitive disorders include Dementia, Developmental disorders, Motor skill disorders, Amnesia, Substance-induced cognitive impairment.
Cognitive disorder signs vary according to the particular disorder, but some common signs and symptoms overlap in most disorders. Some of the most common signs of cognitive disorder include:
- Poor motor coordination
- Loss of short-term or long-term memory
- Identity confusion
- Impaired judgment
Some cognitive disorders develop in stages and symptoms increase in severity the further the disease progresses. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, begins with the patient showing very minor signs of forgetfulness. Sufferers may forget names they know well, or they may have trouble remembering what they did recently. The initial symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease are often indistinguishable from normal memory errors. However, as the disease progresses, the affected person’s memory becomes persistently impaired. They may have rare moments of clarity, but life is generally lived in a state of confusion.
Cognitive problems manifest in a variety of ways, with emotional imbalance being one of the most common symptoms. Cognitive impairment is frustrating, and those suffering from it often react with emotional outbursts, making it difficult for friends and family to help. Others may push people away in an attempt to isolate themselves, only making the problem worse. Other cognitive disorders have the opposite effect, causing the person to have dulled or nonexistent emotions.
Cognition problems often manifest in the form of visible outward symptoms. The affected person may appear dazed and confused, and their eyes may have a glazed appearance. Motor coordination is often affected in both neurological and psychological cognitive disorders, and the person may have unusual mannerisms or simply a lack of balance and normal posture.
Fortunately, various options are available when it comes to medication for cognitive issues. While most cognitive disorders cannot be cured permanently, the symptoms that make life difficult can be treated and managed to improve your quality of life. From supplements and drugs engineered to reduce memory loss and improve cognitive function to those that help with the depression and anxiety that can often result from cognitive impairment, the drug options for cognitive issues are many.