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How To Define Cognitive Impairment Disorders

Updated on December 2, 2014


Delirium is a condition characterized by a confused mental state, usually resulting from shock or fever, accompanied by alterations in attention and by hallucinations, delusions, and incoherence. There are four general causes of delirium; brain disease, a disease or infection in another part of the body that affects the brain, intoxication, and withdrawal from a substance to which an individual is addicted. DT’s is a dramatic form of delirium resulting from excessive alcohol consumption which features tremors, and visual hallucinations that result in a state of terror. DT’s can last for a week or even longer and typically leads to the affected person being hospitalized.


Dementia is a progressive atrophy of brain tissue that results in lapses of memory, poor judgment, and disorientation.  It is called pre-senile dementia if it occurs before the age of 65 and senile dementia if it begins after age 65. 

Alzheimer’s disease which is marked by memory lapses and confusion is the leading cause of mental deterioration among the elderly and is also the most common form of pre-senile dementia. 

Picks disease is a type of progressive dementia caused by atrophy of the cerebral cortex, less common than Alzheimer’s it is most likely to develop between the ages of 60 and 70.

Huntington’s disease is a rare hereditary disorder transmitted by a single dominant gene and characterized by progressive degeneration of the brain. 

Symptoms for Parkinson’s disease include tremor, muscular rigidity, and a loss of vocal power. 

Brain injuries, tumors and infections also can cause dementia and other chronic conditions. 


Amnesic disorders are memory disturbances due to either a medical condition or the persistent effects of some chemical substance. 

Localized amnesia involves inability to recall events that occurred in a specific period of time. 

Generalized amnesia refers to the inability to recall any events of the persons past life. 

Continuous amnesia means the inability to recall events that occurred after a specific point in time and extends to the present time. 

Systematized amnesia is the loss of memories for certain categories of information, such as those pertaining to a particular place or person. 

Factors which determine vulnerability to brain disorders include age, social support, stress, personality factors and physical condition.


Sarason, B. R., & Sarason, I. G. (2005). Abnormal psychology: The problem of maladaptive behavior (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc


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