What is the difference between cognitive problems and dementia?
Although dementia shows impairment in cognitive thinking, cognitive impairment is not dementia. Dementia is a gradual loss of memory and other cognitive functions, such as language, reasoning and decision making that worsens over time, and is primarily seen in the elderly population. Dementia is a progressive disease, and there are currently no medications that successfully treat it. Due to the deteriorating loss of neurons in the brain, dementia will eventually impair an individual’s ability to live independently.
On the other hand, a cognitive impairment can be related to a mental disorder, such as depression or schizophrenia. Although cognitive impairment causes cognitive changes that are serious enough to be noticed by the individuals experiencing them or to other people, the changes are not severe enough to interfere with daily life or independent function. Cognitive problems may remain subtle, often can be treated successfully with medication and therapy, and may improve over time.
Understanding Cognitive Impairment- Video: produced by the State Bar of New Mexico