Dr. Linette Williamson - Cognitive Problems in Encinitas, California
Cognitive Problem Symptoms, Causes and Effects
Cognitive disorders usually start subtly but progress until they significantly impede the impacted individual's quality of life. It is important to understand the different cognitive disorders, their symptoms and appropriate treatment options.
What Are the Types of Cognitive Disorders?
Cognitive disorders are a part of the neurocognitive disorder classification in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). Cognitive disorders are defined as any kind of disorder that drastically impairs the cognitive function of an individual to the point where normal functioning in society is impossible without treatment. Some common cognitive disorders include:
- Developmental disorders
- Motor skill disorders
- Substance-induced cognitive impairment
- Alzheimer's disease, one of the most prevalent cognitive disorders, impacts roughly 5.1 million Americans.
What Causes a Cognitive Disorder?
Like most mental disorders, cognitive disorders are caused by a variety of factors. Some are due to hormone imbalances in the womb, others to genetic predisposition and still others to environmental factors. Common environmental causes of cognitive disorders include a lack of proper nutrients and interaction during vulnerable stages of cognitive development, especially during infancy.
Other common causes of cognitive disorder include substance abuse and physical injury. When an area of the brain that affects cognitive function is damaged, either by the excessive use of drugs, by alcohol or from physical injury, those neurophysiological changes can lead to cognitive dysfunction.
What Are the Signs of Cognitive Disorder?
Cognitive disorder signs vary according to the particular disorder, but some common signs and symptoms overlap in many disorders. A few 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 instance, begins with the patient showing very small signs of forgetfulness. Individuals may forget names they know well, or they might have trouble remembering what they did recently. The first symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer's disease are typically indistinguishable from regular memory mistakes. However, as the disease advances, the impacted individual's memory becomes persistently impaired. They might have rare moments of clarity, but life is generally lived in a state of confusion.
Emotional Symptoms of Cognitive Problems
Cognitive problems materialize in a variety of ways, with emotional imbalance being among the most common symptoms. Cognitive impairment is frustrating, and those experiencing it often react with emotional outbursts, making it hard for family and friends to help. Others might push people away in an effort to isolate themselves, only making the problem worse. Other cognitive disorders have the opposite effect, causing the person to experience dulled or nonexistent emotions.
Physical Symptoms of Cognitive Problems
Cognition problems commonly materialize in the form of visible outward symptoms. The impacted person might seem dazed and confused, and their eyes may have a glazed look. Motor coordination is often affected in both neurological and psychological cognitive disorders, and the individual might have strange mannerisms or simply a lack of balance and normal posture.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Cognitive Instability
Cognitive instability comes with both short- and long-term effects. Some frequent short-term effects include memory loss, a state of confusion and a lack of coordination. Long-term effects include the increasing loss of declarative memory, such as forgetting names and significant faces, as well as a general lack of emotional stability and control over one's actions.
Is There a Test or Self-Assessment I Can Do?
Various memory and cognitive function exams are offered online, but it is vital to understand that these tests can only provide you a general idea concerning some of the symptoms that a person with a cognitive disorder might experience. A complete medical exam is necessary to impart a formal diagnosis, and you should consult a doctor before you begin any form of treatment plan.
Linette Williamson, MD is an Integrative Medical Doctor, who specializes in helping her patients and Cognitive Problems in Encinitas, California
Identify lifestyle factors that affect their everyday medical issues. Dr. Williamson uses cutting-edge testing to find imbalances that are related to your health problems. She will spend time with you to find out what specific issues you have and help you develop a specific plan that is unique to you.
Call the clinic and schedule your appointment now. Phone (760) 875-2627