Previously known as “Dementias”, these disorders are related mainly to memory loss, but it is important to be clear that there are some memory difficulties that appear with aging that are not necessarily a cognitive disorder per se.
The main symptoms include memory loss associated to problems with performing complex tasks, unable to recognize family members or familiar objects, not able to understand the context of situations of daily life, disorientation, repeating conversations or phrases with no awareness, erratic or even impulsive and aggressive behaviors.
In the diagnosing and treating these conditions it is important to differentiate Primary Cognitive Disorders from acute and chronic medical conditions as well as side effects from psychiatric and non-psychiatric medications presenting with cognitive symptoms. In most of these cases we can offer interventions that can provide complete recovery from symptoms.
Along these lines, we want to establish an early diagnosis of what we know as Minor Cognitive Disorder (MCI) which implies a higher level of impairment compared to normal aging memory loss. This disorder has an important possibility of transitioning into a full-blown Neurocognitive Disorder. This is why early detection is important in order to work on early interventions.
Some types of Neurocognitive Disorders include Alzheimer Disease, Vascular, Frontotemporal, Lewy Body Dementia. It is also important to know that there are many reversible causes of dementia that can be successfully treated.
In treating these conditions, it is important to coordinate care with the Primary Care Physician, Neurologist, Psychologist and Family as these disorders tend to have many symptoms impacting on many different aspect of the patient’s physical health.