What are the Different Types of Cognitive Disorder?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2019
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Cognition is the brain’s ability to retain and use information. A cognitive disorder refers to any medical condition that affects how the brain processes and stores information. It can result in memory loss, faulty perceptions or a combination of both. These disorders can be genetic, environmental, or caused by an injury.

Delirium is a cognitive disorder that appears in episodes and can be temporary or reoccurring. It deteriorates the brain’s ability to process new information or be aware of its surroundings. Hypoactive delirium is when a person who is unaware of his or her surroundings appears to be lethargic or unresponsive, while hyperactive delirium episodes make a person hostile or aggressive. Mixed delirium is a combination of hypoactive and hyperactive symptoms. Delirium has no definitive cause, although stress, alcohol, or medications may contribute to episodes.

While delirium is temporary, it can eventually turn into dementia in some individuals. Dementia is an incurable cognitive disorder that typically causes partial or total memory loss. The disorder also makes learning new information difficult and may inhibit the brain’s ability to evaluate surroundings and make judgments. Dementia can be genetic or caused by brain trauma, stroke, or heart valve infection. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia and usually affects people over age 60.


Amnestic disorder, more commonly referred to as amnesia, is a cognitive disorder in which a person either no longer has long-term memories or cannot retain short-term memories. A person with this disorder is usually coherent, unlike some other cognitive disorders. Amnestic disorder can be caused by brain trauma or damage, such as infection, loss of oxygen, or tumors.

A cognitive disorder that can occur in fetuses or young children is mental retardation. It is a condition in which a person has low cognitive abilities due to developmental delays. He or she cannot learn new concepts or function at the same level as other people his or her age. Although the severity of mental retardation can vary, many individuals with the condition do not have the mental skills to safely care for themselves.

Mental retardation is usually diagnosed in children and is typically a condition that they are born with or develop as infants. It can be caused by a variety of bacterial infections while they are in the womb or shortly after they are born. Severe head injuries or nutritional deficiencies can cause an infant to have mental retardation; however, many instances of mental retardation do not have definitive causes.


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Post 4

Crispety-I know that some cognitive disorders are difficult to isolate because they mirror so many other conditions.

It is important to go to a children’s hospital if you feel that your child may have cognitive disorders. A children’s hospital will offer a holistic approach to treating your child.

They will have psychologists and neuropsychologists that will be able to measure the child’s cognitive abilities as well as determine with the use of a cat scan where the impairment in the brain is in order to truly understand the disorder in depth and be able to correctly diagnose it.

It is important to seek a team of experts because many disorders are so complicated that an average pediatrician

is not equipped to diagnose it.

For example, you can have a child that has learning disability and at the same time is considered gifted.

A teacher or a pediatrician may just think that the child is lazy, but children with superior intellect can also experience cognitive difficulty in other area because gifted children are not gifted in all aspects of intelligence.

Post 3

Sunny27-I know that cognitive disorder NOS is also a troubling diagnosis because although there is mental impairment and behavioral issues it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact condition for this diagnosis.

It is often a catch all phrase that is given to children that may also be diagnosed with ADHD. It is believed that the children who may have experienced fetal alcohol effects or have a family history of cognitive disorders may be most susceptible to this disorder.

Post 2

GreenWeaver- Mild cognitive disorder is a mild form of temporary loss of memory in the early stages of old age or transitional age.

Often these individuals tend to eventually develop Alzheimer’s at rate of 15% a year. This condition is also referred to as incipient dementia.

People also develop cognitive communication disorders of dementia and may need speech therapy in order to assist in correcting the speech impediments.

Post 1

There are a lot of cognitive impairment disorders with include frontotemporal dementia, bipolar disorder which impair cognitive reasoning along with multiple sclerosis.

Many of these cognition disorders occur because there is a form of imbalance in the brain that impairs cognition.

For example, people afflicted with multiple sclerosis often experience memory loss, difficulty finding the right words to express themselves in addition to coordination problems.

These problems are also a result of the improper messages that receptors in the brain are receiving. This is why they may have a cognition disorder that causes memory loss which can be acute or chronic.

People with a cognitive behavior disorder like manic depression or bipolar as it is otherwise

known, experience a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes them to feel exuberant one moment and sad the next.

Treatment for this disorder is often a combination of drug therapy along with cognitive behavioral therapy. Lithium is the most common drug prescribed to people suffering from this cognitive behavioral disorder.

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