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4 Tutorials that teach Cognitive and Organic Disorders
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Cognitive and Organic Disorders

Cognitive and Organic Disorders

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Description:

This lesson will identify, describe and differentiate the primary symptom(s) for each type of cognitive disorder and organic disorder.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

This lesson is going to cover cognitive disorders by looking at:

  1. Delirium and Dementia
  2. Amnesia

1. Delirium and Dementia

A cognitive disorder is when a person has a decreased level of cognitive functioning. They might have impairment in their memory, perception, or problem solving as a result. While these are disorders of mental processes, they usually have specific physical causes to them. These types of disorders are called organic mental disorders. They are either inherited, the result of an injury, or the result of disease unlike other disorders that result from psychological trauma.

Term to Know

    • Organic Mental Disorders
    • Mental problems that are inherited or the result of brain injury or disease.

Delirium is a state of confusion where a person has less awareness of their environment or the situation that's around them. The person will also have trouble processing or gaining new information about that environment. A person in a state of delirium often acts in a very agitated or aggressive way. They can also have hallucinations. Usually, delirium lasts for a period of a few hours, but it can also last for weeks, or even months.

ExampleA person wakes up in a hospital bed, and doesn't know where they are. That kind of behavior is indicative of delirium.

Causes that might lead to a state of delirium include:

  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Infections from other parts of their bodies
  • Some diseases
  • Malnutrition

Dementia is a global loss of cognitive ability. It affects primarily memory, but it can also affect attention, language, and problem solving. Dementia occurs over an extended period of time. It must last longer than six months; anything less is considered delirium. Generally, these dementias are associated with older people, and can often result from natural degeneration over a person's life. Dementia can also be the result of specific diseases.

IN CONTEXT

Samantha is a 68 year old woman with Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's disease is a form of cognitive dementia that mostly occurs in people over the age of 65, which leads to loss of long-term memory.

Samantha first experienced this loss with specific events. It eventually lead to larger amounts of her long-term memory being lost. Samantha is increasingly moody and irritable, often as a result of her memory loss.

Samantha is at risk to eventually lose her language and bodily functions. Ultimately it will cause the her death.

Terms to Know

    • Dementia
    • A global loss of cognitive ability, which primarily affects memory but can also affect attention, language, and problem solving.
    • Alzheimer's Disease
    • A form of cognitive dementia where the person begins to lose long-term memory, and eventually loses language and bodily functions, resulting in death.

Because many types of dementia are natural, most cases are irreversible. Treatments are aimed at slowing the progress of the disease, as opposed to preventing or curing it altogether.


2. Amnesia

Amnesia is when a person has trouble with their long-term memories. A person might have trouble creating new memories, which is called anterograde amnesia, or they might have trouble recalling previously held memories, called retrograde amnesia. Amnesia is generally caused by damage to parts of the brain related to memory.

ExampleThe hippocampus is a common place that, when damaged, leads to amnesia. This damage can come from brain injury or things like alcoholism. It can also come from psychological events, like post traumatic stress disorder.

Treatment for the different types of cognitive disorders can vary according to the type and causes, but is generally medical in nature. This can involve treating the injury if that is the cause, or providing proper nutrition to a person. It can also include preventing harmful processing from occurring.

ExampleIf a cognitive disorder is occurring from drug use, treatment may involve trying to prevent a person from using drugs.

Summary

Cognitive disorders are when a person has a decreased level of cognitive function resulting in impairment of memory, perception, or problem solving. They are often organic mental disorders. Delirium and dementia are two related disorders. Delirium is a state of confusion and can cause a person to be agitated or aggressive. It can sometimes last for months. Dementia is a global loss of cognitive ability. It must last for more than six months. If it is less than that, it is considered delirium. Alzheimer’s is an example of dementia. Amnesia is usually caused by damage to parts of the brain related to memory. Treatments are usually medical in nature.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Erick Taggart

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    A form of cognitive dementia where the person begins to lose long-term memory, and eventually loses language and body functions, resulting in death.

  • Dementia

    A global loss of cognitive ability, which affects primarily memory but can also affect attention, language, and problem solving.

  • Organic Mental Disorders

    Mental problems that are inherited or the result of brain injury or disease.