Neurocognitive Disorders

Everyone experiences forgetfulness and short bouts of depression during periods of stress. If a person experiences noticeable symptoms regularly, he or she may have a neurocognitive disorder and may consider exploring Neurocognitive disorder treatment.

In this article, you will discover the various neurocognitive disorders as well as how Neurocognitive disorder treatment can help.

Neurocognitive Disorder Treatment

In the past, dementia was the common term used to describe a neurocognitive disorder or a disorder that affects the brain. Today, however, advancements in medicine have shown us that many types of neurocognitive disorders fall on a spectrum ranging from mild to severe.

Further, the disorders’ causes vary greatly, from injuries and substance abuse to infections and autoimmune problems.

If an individual is diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder today, a doctor will likely state the medical condition in which the disease originated. For example, rather than being diagnosed with “neurocognitive disorder,” the patient would be diagnosed with “neurocognitive disorder due to Alzheimer’s” or “neurocognitive disorder due to Parkinson’s.”

Learn more about the various Neurocognitive Disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and discover how Neurocognitive disorder treatment can help.

Alzheimer’s Disease

The Alzheimer’s Association reports nearly 700,000 California residents 65 years of age or older living with Alzheimer’s. Of everyone with dementia around the world, Alzheimer’s affects around three-fourths.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be cognitive, behavioral, and psychological. The more common symptoms include confusion, especially in the evening hours, forgetfulness, disorientation, and mental decline. Some find it hard to complete simple tasks, ones they should know how to do automatically and without much thought.

Additional symptoms may include mood changes, paranoia, anger outbursts, aggression, wandering, and appetite loss.

These are just some of the symptoms. If any unexpected changes occur, it is best to seek help from a licensed psychiatrist specializing in diagnosing neurocognitive disorders.


Parkinson’s is a neurocognitive disorder known most for its effect on a person’s bodily functions. Tremors and shaking seem to be the most well-known. However, there are multiple other symptoms, including cognitive and psychological.

Sleep patterns of a person with Parkinson’s can be affected by nightmares or persistent disturbed sleep. Functions of the body affected include changes in sense of smell, difficulty speaking, reduced ability to make facial expressions, and urinary leaking.

Psychologically, Parkinson’s is directly related to anxiety and depression. A psychiatrist should evaluate anyone experiencing these symptoms so proper treatment can be provided as early as possible.


Huntington’s disease is a neurocognitive disorder that significantly affects a person’s psychological and cognitive functions. This disorder also may cause involuntary movements, muscle spasms, and a lack of coordination.

Cognitively, Huntington’s may appear similar to Alzheimer’s, with confusion, disorientation, and struggling to understand and process what is being said to them. Mood changes can range from anxiety and depression to apathy, hallucinations, and paranoia.

Because the diseases can appear similar, patients must get an accurate diagnosis from a psychiatrist, so the treatment plan is beneficial.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy bodies are proteins named after Fritz Heinrich Lewy, the scientist who found them in the brain. The proteins typically develop in the nerve cells or neurons of the brainstem and spinal cord, making it hard for them to carry important messages to the body, like how to think, feel and act.

Interferences with these functions appear in several stages, with cognitive decline increasing over time. Other symptoms can include visual hallucinations, tremors, shuffling walk, and sleep disorders, like acting out REM sleep behaviors.

Other symptoms include drowsiness and fatigue during the daytime, even after an individual has gotten sleep at night. Patients with Lewy Body Dementia may also start to lose interest in activities that were once enjoyable, motivation in accomplishing tasks, and the ability to pay attention.

Not everyone with dementia has Lewy bodies, making it crucial to work with a psychiatrist for a lengthy, all-conclusive evaluation and diagnosis.

Causes of Neurocognitive Disorders

Causes of neurocognitive disorders vary, and one person may have one specific reason, while others may have multiple factors leading to their disease. Nerve cell damage seems to be a factor seen more commonly among those diagnosed with neurocognitive disorders.

Common causes that can lead to nerve cell damage include alcohol and substance abuse and addiction, brain injuries, infections, and autoimmune disorders, like Type 2 Diabetes. Hormone imbalances with the thyroid may also contribute, as it regulates many vital functions of the body. Vitamin deficiencies, especially with the B vitamins, have been found in some people.

Mild vs. Major Neurocognitive Disorders

Mild neurocognitive disorders go beyond what we consider to be normal aging. Cognitive decline is more significant and rapid for those with the disorder than without. Greater sleep disturbances and mood swings are usually more frequent and harder to manage.

Major neurocognitive disorders lead to more severe symptoms and have become a concern of not only the patient but loved ones too. At this point, neuropsychological assessments are needed.

Both mild and major diagnoses can be treated with pharmacological therapies. If the individual has an infection, antibiotics are essential in the treatment. If the patient has psychological symptoms, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicines can help.

If unusual symptoms arise, or symptoms have been persistent, the best course of action is to reach out. We can create a treatment plan for where the patient is now that will lead to long-term satisfaction. We have professionals who can meet online or in-person to start the healing process today.

Contact the Mental Health Center to learn more about neurocognitive disorder treatment today or book an appointment here.


The good news is that treatments for neurocognitive disorders have come a long way in a short time. For doctors, the goal is to reduce and shorten symptoms so patients can enjoy independence and a productive lifestyle for many years to come.

The first line of treatment is to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Psychiatrists do this using brain scans like CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, and EEGs.

CT Scans are x-rays that provide imaging of the brain, skull, sinuses, and soft tissues. MRIs use magnets and radio waves to determine whether brain damage is present. PET scans use special dyes with tracers that are injected into the veins and travel throughout the body. They allow doctors to see damage anywhere in the body. Further, EEGs determine if the activity in the brain is healthy or damaged.

Tests like these can help determine whether a certain disorder is present and whether that disorder is mild or major.

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