Cognitive disorders (Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options)

Cognitive disorders

This guide provides a complete background of cognitive disorders. It includes information on its diagnosis, the different types of disorders, and how to recognize the symptoms. It also contains valuable information on how to treat different types of cognitive disorders. It also provides valuable resources that may help you in learning about different cognitive disorders.

Cognitive disorders (Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options)

A cognitive disorder is a disorder that affects the function of the brain. Cognitive disorders usually involve memory loss as well as confusion and anxiety. People with cognitive disorders may experience symptoms such as memory loss, loss of control over certain parts of their bodies, and general mental deterioration.

What are cognitive disorders? 

Cognitive disorders are disorders that affect the functioning of the brain. They usually result from the loss of brain cells. As the brain cells begin to deteriorate, the affected person begins to lose their memory. There are many types of cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and dementia. These disorders have different triggers and affect people differently. 

Most people with cognitive disorders are over the age of 60. This aging process is natural. Just as with the rest of the body functions, the brain functions also begin to deteriorate with time. Many cells die and are not replaced by new ones. Cognitive disorders usually occur when the brain cells begin to malfunction and die, and as a result, the brain stops to function properly. 

There are many ways in which cognitive disorders affect the brain. Although many cognitive disorders affect your memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease, many other disorders may affect the way you think and certain brain functions. People with cognitive disorders often have perfect health. However, they may become disabled because their brains cannot connect properly with their bodies to perform certain daily tasks. 

While most people with cognitive disorders are affected in old age, there are certain types of disorders that are caused by external factors such as extreme stress or anxiety. These disorders can affect people of any age. Certain cognitive disorders may affect children, as well. This could result in lower intelligence and slower mental development than their peers. 

Cognitive disorders are usually not life-threatening. However, they can affect your ability to lead a normal life. People with cognitive disorders are disabled in specific ways. Although there are certain ways in which these diseases can be managed, they usually cannot be reversed. In addition to this, many cognitive disorders are chronic and often progress over time. 

Types of cognitive disorders

Alzheimer’s disease– This is a cognitive disorder in which the brain cells begin to die and are not replaced. This causes memory loss as well as deterioration of certain functions such as walking and other basic movements. This is the most common cognitive disorder, and it affects millions of people worldwide. It usually affects the elderly. 

Mild cognitive impairment- In many ways, this disease is similar to Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is much milder and affects only certain parts of the memory. In most cases, a person affected with mild cognitive impairment is not affected in a way that prevents them from carrying out their daily activities. 

Vascular Dementia- This is a disorder that affects the brain’s functions. It is usually caused by bleeding in the brain. It is similar to a brain tumor. However, it is caused by blockage of the blood vessels in the brain. 

Parkinson’s disease- This is another mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. This is a cognitive disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain. This causes symptoms such as slurred speech, lack of muscle coordination, and difficulty in movement. 

Cognitive disorders (Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options)

Apart from these major forms of cognitive disorders, many other subsets affect the functioning of the brain. However, many of these disorders are rare and may usually accompany these disorders. However, a common symptom of all these diseases is that they are irreversible. Once the brain begins to deteriorate, and the brain cells are destroyed, there is no way to bring them back. However, treatment can often slow down this process. 

Causes of cognitive disorders

A variety of factors can cause cognitive disorders. The nature of the cause depends on the type of cognitive disorder that one is affected. You’ll notice that Alzheimer’s disease is more common in older people, while vascular dementia may affect people of all ages. There are natural causes such as inherited disorders as well as aging. In addition to this, there are external factors that may increase your chances of getting cognitive disorders. 

The most common cause of cognitive disorders is aging. Apart from the brain, many parts of the body deteriorate as you get older. While a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle can delay this process, aging is inevitable. Just as the body ages with time, so too makes the mind. Your brain cells begin to die, and they do not get replaced. 

Some children may have cognitive disorders by birth. These disorders come from a lack of brain development in the womb. However, these disorders often do not get worse as the child grows. Many children can learn how to deal with their disorders. You may have seen many children with mental disorders who can function properly in society. 

You may be at risk of getting a cognitive disorder after an injury to the head. Accidents and injuries to the head may damage parts of the brain and cause them to stop working. Many people may have lost the ability to speak, write, talk, and do other activities after brain injury. 

If you are an athlete in contact sports such as rugby or boxing, you may also develop cognitive disorders due to repeated injury to the head. This is why many such ports recommend the use of headgear to save the players from potential head injuries. 

Cognitive disorders (Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options)

Symptoms of cognitive disorders

The symptoms of cognitive disorders may vary according to the disorder. In some cases, you may notice that the affected person may begin to lose their memory. In other cases, they may not be able to use certain parts of their bodies. Many people may have fine memories, but other mental functions, such as critical thinking, may be destroyed. Symptoms of cognitive disorders include:

  • A loss of memory- This is the most common sign that you may have gotten a cognitive disorder. In most disorders, the cells that control memory functions are affected first. 
  • Decreased ability to use certain brain functions- Another major sign of cognitive disorders is that you may be unable to use your brain for certain mental tasks such as critical thinking, problem-solving, or analyzing. Some people may not be able to memorize things.
  • The slow movement- When the brain cells begin to die, it results in slowness in your movement. Many people with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease have this symptom. 
  • Repetitive movements- People with cognitive disorders often move rhythmically. They may continuously shake their heads or hands in a certain way. 
  • Tiredness- This disorder causes a feeling of tiredness that doesn’t go away even after getting sufficient sleep. The brain is much weaker and needs more sleep as a result. 
  • You may experience feelings of dizziness or headaches. Many patients may have hallucinations. 

These symptoms are common in people with cognitive disorders. However, they may be due to some other illness as well. Many people who have psychological illnesses may experience similar symptoms. Therefore, you should always consult a doctor and go for a thorough checkup if you experience these symptoms. 

Treatment and management

There is no treatment of cognitive disorders. Medication can help reduce the pace at which the symptoms take their effect. It can also improve the lifestyle and help people with these disorders in living a normal life. However, it cannot reverse the process. Once your brain is damaged, and your cells start to die, there is no way they can be brought back. 

However, various types of therapy may help you deal with these symptoms. If you notice that you have these symptoms, you may be recommended to follow certain nutritional and physical guidelines that work at strengthening your brain. This therapy can help reduce the rate of memory loss and increase the patient’s ability to cope with their daily tasks. 

Many patients with cognitive disorders may require special care, especially if they are into old age. While it may be difficult to care for them, you should always remember that their attitude is caused due to an illness over which they have no control. Therefore, being patient with them is often the best way to help them cope. 

Cognitive disorders (Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options)

Some helpful resources

  1. If you want to learn more about cognitive disorders, including how to manage them, you should consider reading this book. It provides a detailed guide on cognitive disorders and tier links with different mental problems. “Cognitive Disorders (The State of Mental Illness and Its Therapy).” 
  2. Another excellent resource that will inspire you to help those with cognitive disorders is “Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Severe Mental Illness.” 
  3. If you are looking for a solution to managing this illness, then you should look into this book. Not only does it shed light on what therapies are available, but it also inspires you with a reliable roadmap to help manage the disease. “Cognitive Disorders: Pathophysiology and Treatment (Neurological Disease and Therapy).” 
  4. If you have Parkinson’s disease, this guide will provide valuable information on how to reduce the symptoms and manage the disease. “Cognitive Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease.” 
  5. You may also be interested in reading the book titled, “Cognition”.

Conclusion

Cognitive disorders affect the brain’s functions as well as one’s memory. Many people with cognitive disorders may not be able to remember things or carry out basic tasks. This illness is caused by deteriorating brain cells and cannot be reversed. However, it can be managed to help patients live a normal life. 

FAQS

What are the symptoms of the cognitive disorder?

The symptoms of cognitive disorders include memory loss and a loss of brain functioning. You may not be able to perform certain mental tasks, such as critical thinking. 

Can stress cause cognitive problems?

Stress can trigger many cognitive problems. It can also affect the way the brain functions and, in some cases, lead to mania. 

Is ADHD a cognitive disorder?

ADHD is a cognitive disorder as it affects the way the brain functions. Concentration and focus are mental functions that are affected by ADHD. 

Can anxiety cause cognitive problems?

Just as with stress, anxiety can cause a wide range of mental problems, including anxiety. People who are worried continuously are usually at risk. 

How can I improve my cognitive ability?

Certain mental exercises can help improve your cognitive abilities. Exercise and a healthy diet also play a big part. 

What causes a cognitive disorder?

Stress, anxiety, congenital disabilities, injury, and aging are the leading causes of cognitive disorders. 

References

Cognitive disorders (Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.