Cognitive Disorders: Types and Causes
What is a cognitive disorder?
When a person has problems remembering things, learning new things, concentrating, or making judgments that influence their daily lives, they are said to have cognitive impairment. 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.
Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe. People with moderate cognitive impairment may notice changes in their cognitive abilities but will still be able to carry out their daily activities. Severe impairment can result in the loss of ability to understand the significance or importance of something, as well as the ability to speak or write, making it impossible to live independently.
Types of cognitive disorders
All disorders tend to involve problems with thinking, reasoning, memory, and problem-solving. Some types may also lead to physical disabilities. There are major and mild neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), depending on how severely the symptoms impact a person’s ability to function independently in everyday activities.
Here are some of the types of cognitive disorders.
Cognitive disorder causes
The type of cognitive problem that someone gets is determined by which part of the brain is afflicted. A tumour growing in the speech structures of the brain, for example, will cause communication issues. Similarly, an infection in the motor areas of the brain will produce movement issues.
Cognitive disorders can be caused by all sorts of brain problems, including tumours, strokes, closed-head injuries, infections, exposure to neurotoxins (i.e., substances that are toxic to the brain), genetic factors, and disease.
Cognitive impairment can arise from virtually any poorly controlled chronic disease of the brain or the body’s organs, including hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, kidney disease, infections, severe pain syndromes, obesity, sleep apnoea, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and alcohol, sedative, opiate or other chemical dependencies.
Single or repeated head injuries can impair cognition. Certain medications that get into the brain can impair cognition, such as tranquillizers, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, older antidepressants, pain medications, and older bladder incontinence medications. Most of these conditions are treatable, particularly when memory cognitive disorders are detected early through annual monitoring of cognition after the age of 50 years old.