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Cognitive disorders (A 3 point guide)

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In th represent blogspot we will talk about the various cognitive disorders. We will enlist the different types of disorders that come under the cognitive disorders. We will also discuss the unique characteristics of each disorder, their symptoms and treatment options.

What are cognitive disorders?

Cognitive disorders are also known as neurocognitive disorders. Cognitive disorders is an umbrella term that explains the various disorders that have a primary effect on cognitive abilities. The cognitive disorder is a category of mental health disorders that involves impairments in the following areas:

  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Problem Solving

The result of impairment in the above areas due to the cognitive disorder is that the individuals are unable to function adequately in any life sphere. Individuals with cognitive disorders often have distorted function in their professional life, social life, personal life, disturbed interpersonal skills and poor executive functioning.

In the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 5th Edition the cognitive disorders are classified into the neurocognitive disorders. The category of neurocognitive disorders is defined as those disorders that are marked with a significant impairment of cognition or memory that results in a marked deterioration of an individual’s previous level of functioning.

The causes of cognitive disorder

In psychology, many different perspectives explain the cause of cognitive disorder.

According to abnormal psychology, cognitive disorders develop in an individual on the basis of the cognitive mental disorder perspective. According to the cognitive mental disorder perspective, the disorders related to cognitive functioning originate as a result of distortion in the major cognitive functions that include memory, learning, problem solving and language.

The cognitive perspective model was also favoured by Albert Ellis. She proposed that individuals often develop an irrational and illogical view of the world and as a result their cognitive abilities get impaired.

Aaron Beck also advocated the cognitive perspective for the cognitive distortions and the anxiety inventory. He stated that cognitive disorders result due to the person’s negative view of the self, other people and the world. Beck also gave the cognitive model for the cause of emotional symptoms of mental disorders.

Some of the causes of neurocognitive disorders are:

  • Hormonal Imbalances in the womb
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Environmental Factors
  • Other medical conditions like diabetes
  • Neuropathy
  • Malnourishment

The Types of Cognitive Disorders

The disorders that are included in the cognitive disorders are :

  • Delirium
  • Dementia
  • Amnesia
  • Cognitive Disorder not otherwise specified


Delirium is characterized by a change of consciousness that develops among the individuals over a short span of time. As a result of delirium people have a reduced awareness of their environment.

The major symptoms of delirium include :

  • Clouding of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Excitement
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Altered state of consciousness
  • Difficulty processing information
  • Lack of ability to handle information related to situational awareness 

The symptoms of delirium are usually temporary. Delirium may last from a few hours to days but it does not last for long. Delirium is usually accompanied by mood swings, lack of concentration, odd behaviors and hallucinations/delusions.


Dementia is a significant loss of memory despite no other impairment in any of the cognitive functions. It has a progressive loss of memory, confusion, loss of focus and lack of ability to concentrate as its primary symptoms. 

Dementia symptoms are usually long lasting and progressive as compared to delirium and other cognitive disorders.


Amnesia is a neurocognitive disorder that has a significant loss of memory. Amnesia has no other associated cognitive impairment.

Cognitive Disorder not otherwise specified

Cognitive impairments in an individual that are not related to another type of cognitive disorder and usually occur as a result of the general medical condition like diabetes or are induced as a result of substance use among individuals.

The major chunk of medical disorders that are related to the development of cognitive disorders include the following medical conditions:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lewy body disease
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Prion Disease
  • Hiv infection

Symptoms of Cognitive disorders

The symptoms of cognitive disorders are :

  • Emotional symptoms
  • Physical symptoms
  • Short term symptoms
  • Long term symptoms

Emotional symptoms

The emotional symptoms related to cognitive disorders are:

  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Increased frustrations
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Lack of social ability
  • Disturbed interpersonal skills
  • Flat affect

Physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of cognitive disorders are :

  • Visible outward symptoms
  • Laziness
  • Confusion
  • Glazed eyes appearance
  • Disturbed gross and fine motor skills
  • Neurological conditions
  • Psychological Conditions
  • Inappropriate mannerisms
  • Inadequate adaptive functioning
  • Lack of bodily balance
  • Impairments in various sensory systems
  • Visual Receptor, visuospatial and visuoconstructive disorders
  • Somatosensory impairments
  • Impairments in the auditory system

Further, the following impairments in modular processes are also evident :

  • Amnesia  results when a individual faces difficulty in learning new information and retrieving old information from memory
  • Aphasia results in loss or impairment of language
  • Alexia results in comprehension of written matter
  • Agraphia results in impairment in written skills of individuals suffering with cognitive disorders
  • Acalculia results in impairments in mathematical abilities
  • Apraxia is the impairment in the learned skills . it is the disability that results in difficulty of motor movement,
  • Agnosia is the consequence of cognitive disorder that is related to failure of recognition and is not related to mistaken perception.
  • Neglect is the difficulty of observing, collecting, reporting, responding and orienting information related to sensory stimuli.

Short term symptoms

The short term symptoms of cognitive disorders include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Occasional forgetfulness
  • State of confusion

Long term symptoms

The long term effect of cognitive disorders include:

  • Decreased psychological well-being
  • Decreased adaptive functioning
  • Impaired lifestyle
  • Low socialization
  • Disturbed interpersonal skills
  • Disturbed intrapersonal skills
  • Ineffective communication
  • Social ostracism
  • Low self esteem
  • Low self worth
  • Anxiety
  • depression

Treatment of Cognitive disorders

The treatment of cognitive disorders is not curative in most cases. The prognosis of individuals suffering from cognitive disorders ranges from fair to good only. 

The treatment of cognitive disorders involves teaching and counseling individuals to cope well with their life issues and manage their routine life tasks effectively. 

The symptoms of the cognitive disorders can be successfully suppressed through medicine and counseling can help individuals to overcome the underlying emotional and psychological symptoms.

The various treatment options for managing the cognitive disorders include:

  • Antipsychotic medicines for managing symptoms related to cognitive disorders specifically odd behaviors, hallucinations and delusions
  • Benzodiazepines for managing the symptoms related to cognitive disorders
  • Vitamin B12 supplements to prevent occasional forgetfulness and the symptoms of cognitive disorder due to malnourishment
  • Ongoing psychotherapy can help the individuals going through the cognitive disorder to manage quality of life
  • Social support can help the individuals with cognitive disorders to overcome their insecurities and anxieties related to life
  • Psychoeducation of family members of the individual going through the cognitive disorders helps them understand better their family member
  • Speech therapy helps with language impairments among the individuals with cognitive disorders
  • Diet based on high omega 3 content can help with the symptoms of cognitive disorders
  • Regular exercise can help the individuals with cognitive disorders to have increased brain plasticity
  • Research studies have shown empirical evidence that suggests that computerized brain training programs can aid in brain exercise and thus help the individuals with cognitive disorders to overcome their neurological impairments.

Researchers have advocated the role of food and dietary intake in overcoming the symptoms related to cognitive disorders. The omega 3 fatty acids, b12 and foods low in sugars have been concluded to have a positive impact on reducing the symptoms of cognitive disorders.

Some tips for the caregivers of individuals with cognitive disorders are 

  • Keep things organized to ease living for the individuals with cognitive disabilities
  • Follow a one action one instruction strategy to ease the difficulty associated with recalling and remembering information in daily routine activites
  • Learn about the cause of the associated symptoms and care for the cause to reduce the symptom and facilitate quality of life for individuals with cognitive disorders
  • Be open minded and accept the various associated symptoms of cognitive disorders
  • Adopt a schedule and maintain a routine so that confusion and chaos can be managed for the individuals with cognitive disorders
  • Keep things simple so that no higher cognitive functioning or executive skills are required to deal with the life routine
  • Remember not to label the person or judge the person and decrease their self worth by judging their abilities.


In the present blogspot we focused on the cognitive disorders, their types, associated symptoms, causes and treatment options that are available to enhance the quality of life for the individuals suffering from cognitive disorders. We learned that the symptoms related to cognitive disorders can be managed by learning healthy coping strategies and overcoming the anxiety associated with routine life functioning.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Cognitive disorders

What are the examples of cognitive disorders?

The examples of cognitive disorders are :


What causes cognitive issues?

Cognitive issues are caused by the following:

Chronic brain diseases
Hiv infections
Parkinson’s disease
Huntington disease

What age does cognitive decline start?

The brain’s capacity for remembering, recalling and retrieving information starts to decline by the age of 45. After 45 years, the human capacity to learn new sensory information and comprehend the new information declines significantly.







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