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Chapter 15

Chapter 15 - Cognitive Disorders

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PSYC 3140
Stephen Fleming

Chapter 15 Brain disorders that affect cognitive processes: o Learning o Memory o Consciousness  Most cognitive disorders develop much later in life Three classes of cognitive disorders: 1) Delirium – an often temporary condition displayed as confusion and disorientation 2) Dementia – a progressive condition marked by gradual deterioration of a broad range of cognitive abilities 3) Amnestic Disorders – dysfunctions of memory due to a medical condition or a drug or toxin Once the term organic mental disorders (brain damage or dysfunction was believed to be involved), the term cognitive disorders has been used – an impairment of cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, perception and thinking.  Incidence of these disorders rises with increasing age, with rates being highest for those aged 65 and older. Delirium  One of the earliest recognized mental disorders – reported more than 2500 years ago  Rapid-onset  Reduced clarity of consciousness and cognition, with confusion, disorientation, and deficits in memory and language.  Appear confused, disorientated and out of touch with their surroundings  Cannot focus and sustain attention on the simplest of tasks  Develops over hours or a few days and the symptoms can vary over the course of a day  Affects older adults, people undergoing medical procedures, cancer and AIDS patients  Common risk factors for older patients include: o Dementia o Medication o Medical illness  Delirium subsides relatively quickly, with full recovery expected within a several weeks. Dementia  Gradual-onset deterioration of brain functioning, affecting: o Memory loss o Inability to recognize objects or faces o Problems in planning and abstract reasoning o Judgement o Language These are associated with frustration and discouragement.  Caused by several medical conditions and the abuse of drugs or alcohol o Stroke – which destroys the blood vessels o Infectious diseases of syphilis and HIV o Severe head injury o Toxic and poisonous substances  Diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s disease Symptoms  Memory impairment – inability to register ongoing events o A person can remember how to talk and remember events from years ago, but not the past hour  Visuospatial skills impairment – can’t find way home  Agnosia – the inability to recognize and name objects  Facial agnosia – the inability to recognize familiar face  Delusions – irrational beliefs  Depression  Agitation  Aggression  Apathy  Can occur at any age but the Alzheimer’s type rarely occurs in people under 45 years  Six classes of dementia based on etiology have been identified: 1) Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type 2) Vascular dementia 3) Dementia due to other general medical conditions 4) Substance-induced persisting dementia 5) Dementia due to multiple etiologies 6) Dementia not otherwise specified Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type Alzheimer’s Disease - The "strange disease of the cerebral cortex" that causes an "atypical form of senile dementia," discovered in 1906 by the German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer. Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type:  Gradual onset of cognitive deficits caused by Alzheimer's disease  Principally identified by a person's inability to recall newly or previously learned material  The most common form of dementia  Predominant is the impairment of: o Memory o Orientation o Judgement o Reasoning  Forget about important events and lose objects  Sundowner Syndrome – difficulties such as agitation, confusion, depression, anxiety which become pronounced late in the day  Aphasia – difficulty with language o Anomia – problems with naming objects  Apraxia – impaired motor functioning  Agnosia – failure to recognize objects  Difficulty with activities – planning, organizing, sequencing, abstracting information  Mini Mental
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