Cognitive Deficits

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Cognitive deficit is a term used to describe an impairment relating to mental or cognitive processes (often called cognition). Examples of cognitive processes that may be disrupted in someone with a cognitive deficit include things like paying attention, problem-solving, memory, speaking and understanding language, and making decisions.

Cognitive deficits can occur as a result of a variety of different factors. Intellectual impairment, or mental retardation, is an example of significant cognitive deficits. Other people who may demonstrate cognitive deficits in some area include people with learning disabilities (such as dyslexia), those impaired by drug or alcohol usage, people with brain injuries or neurological disorders, and those with mental illnesses.

Different mental illnesses affect cognition in different ways, and even individuals with the same diagnosis will have varying degrees of cognitive impairment. People with affective disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression are particularly prone to cognitive dysfunction. For those with a mental illness, learning about the cognitive deficits associated with their diagnosis can greatly aid in the management of the disorder and improve overall functioning.

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