Cognitive disorders are mental conditions that affect people’s thinking and intuition. Like the name suggests, they affect cognitive functions and the environment is perceived and interpreted differently than normal and do not process information correctly within the brain. In other words, they cannot think clearly and precisely and can’t react properly in certain situations.
A person suffering from cognitive disorder has trouble with remembering things, memory can play tricks on him, even remembering some important things, things that have emotional value, can be quite troublesome. Perception of certain circumstances and situations can be also affected. This causes faults in their reasoning and judgment. Their response actions can seem weird for someone observing a person with cognitive disorder (and truly they are), but the person suffering from it may think otherwise.
There are four major categories of cognitive disorders:
· Cognitive disorders not otherwise specified.
Delirium is a mental disorder characterized by fluctuating levels of consciousness, severe confusion and disorientation having constantly changing levels of intensity. Occurs more often in older people. Dementia is a serious loss of cognitive abilities in a previously unimpaired person, beyond normal aging. Most cases occur after the age of 65. Amnesia represents the loss of memory, total or partially, temporary or permanent and can be caused by brain damage, psychological trauma, disease or substance abuse.
Cognitive disorders nos are a category of cognitive disorders that can’t be placed in a certain category, like delirium, dementia or amnesic disorders. The term is vague and it implies that there was a change in the way that the cognitive senses are working, compared to a baseline that presumably is the correct way for the cognitive system to function. It’s like you hear a noise from your car, but don’t know what it is exactly. There are two examples of disorders that fall in this category: one is mild neurocognitive disorder, which is basically a central nervous system dysfunction evidenced by psychological testing and other investigations. The other is postconcussional disorder, which is best described as impairment of attention and memory following a head trauma.
A wide range of factors can cause cognitive disorders, from medical conditions, psychological and physical trauma to infections. Diagnosis is established after neurological and physical examinations. Other tests that can be performed involve blood tests, thyroid and liver function tests. Treatment depends on the severity and type of the disorder, age of the individual and other.
Suffering from a cognitive disorder affects individuals differently. Because it affects one’s thinking and perceptual processes it affects the way society sees them and treats them. It’s one thing for a teenager to suffer from cognitive disorder nos and another for a ninety-year old man.
A teenager student with this mental illness will have difficulties adapting, socializing and gaining knowledge (like puberty wasn’t hard enough). In the long run this could translate into low scores in tests, depression due to social isolation and mockery and school. If you have a child that has a cognitive disorder you should let a specialist consult him and establish the right path to take.
In the case of cognitive disorder not otherwise specified, many parents that have children suffering from it, say that they didn’t find the ‘magic answer’ to ‘What caused it?’. Some suggest that it is hereditary, some that is related to alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Whatever the cause, the efforts should be concentrated on integrating the child into society so he can live a normal life.
Some people think the brain will function normally when the disorder doesn’t manifest itself visibly, when it has no perceivable effect on the person suffering from it. They couldn’t be more wrong. The illness affects the brain always, so that doesn’t mean that the brain will function normally at times. The mental disorder affects the cognitive abilities of the brain so, while the illness is present, the individual can’t be fully in control of the way he is behaving. The road is long and hard, dealing with a kid that alternates good with bad scores in intellectual, ability and achievement tests. One important thing is to identify the way he relates to the world and how he perceives it, so he can develop the basic skills that will help him in the future, skills that could allow him to be part of a human society.