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Mild neurocognitive disorder (mNCD) is also known as mild cognitive impairment. It is a mental health disorder that occurs most commonly in older adults or individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Mild neurocognitive disorder causes mild cognitive changes to a person’s cognitive functions, such as difficulty remembering things. It does not typically affect a person’s ability to function in their daily routines as with other neurocognitive disorders.
Symptoms of Mild Neurocognitive Disorder
The symptoms of mNCD are subtle and sometimes hard to discern. They can be confused with the signs of everyday mental fatigue or the natural aging process. Knowing what to watch for and what sets mNCD apart from other mental health challenges can be crucial to getting ahead of cognitive deterioration early on.
- Forgetfulness: Forgetfulness can present as frequently losing things, forgetting what you are doing mid-task, having trouble finding the words you are looking for while speaking, or struggling to retain new information.
- Judgment lapses: Sometimes, mNCD can affect your ability to analyze possible outcomes and make sound judgment calls. You might find yourself being uncharacteristically impulsive.
- General confusion and anxiety: Difficulty thinking clearly, struggling to concentrate, and being challenged by tasks that came easily to you in the past can generate feelings of anxiety.
- Memory loss: Memory loss is more severe than forgetfulness. You might have trouble recalling important names or events. Or you might also forget important appointments or conversations.
There are key differences between mNCD and more severe cognitive disorders like dementia. The symptoms generally do not interfere with your independence or ability to go about your daily routine.
Managing Symptoms of Mild Neurocognitive Disorder
There are things you can do to manage the symptoms of mNCD or any other cognitive issues. Keeping your physical body healthy and your mind active is very important. Here are some other tips to keep you feeling good and exercise your brain. The following tips may help you feel better and improve your mental abilities.
- Follow the same routine every day
- Exercise, get enough sleep, and eat regular, healthy meals
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Use notes, planners, calendars, and to-do lists to help you remember things
- Learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, or donate some time to a church or volunteer organization
- If you are feeling unusually depressed, anxious, or concerned about your symptoms, talk to your doctor
Why Early Detection Is Critical
A mild neurocognitive disorder can sometimes be a precursor to more serious cognitive disorders. They can also exacerbate symptoms of co-occurring disorders, such as depression or anxiety. It is important that you talk with your doctor if you don’t feel like your brain is functioning as well as it used to. Memory problems and mental confusion can be signs of more serious problems, so it’s important to check in with your doctor on a regular basis to monitor your symptoms carefully.
Warning Signs of More Serious Cognitive Issues
You have to be prepared to recognize if your mNCD symptoms are developing into something more serious. Experiencing memory loss or mental fog that is affecting your ability to function daily can be a sign of something more serious going on. Being forgetful occasionally is normal. If you find yourself struggling to remember important obligations and daily routines, it may be time to check in with your doctor.
Worsening mental confusion is also something to watch out for. If your symptoms are getting worse you might find yourself becoming disoriented more often. You might forget things like the time of day or days of the week. You might forget where you are, how you got there, or how to get home. Pay attention if you find yourself forgetting or using the wrong words or phrases. Any of these symptoms are cause for concern.
Any drastic change in your mood, personality, or behavior should be discussed with your doctor. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize all of these symptoms on your own. You should rely on feedback from the people closest to you. If they are noticing things that are concerning, you should have a conversation with them so that you have e better information to discuss with your doctor.
Finding Support and Resources
Experiencing cognitive problems can be confusing and scary. At Alter Wellness Care, we understand that our clients are experiencing things that leave them feeling vulnerable. Our compassionate team is committed to empowering clients through evidence-based therapies and a variety of support groups.
We help our clients with psychoeducational and skills development. Our intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs are also available to those who need a more intense level of support. Alter Wellness Care strives to provide the best care possible to each individual who comes through our doors.
Symptoms of mild neurocognitive can be difficult to recognize. There are some ways that you can manage the symptoms and prevent further decline. Alter Wellness Care has a variety of resources that can help you with any mental health challenges you may be facing. We are committed to providing our clients with compassionate support through every step of the process, from intake to recovery. Our clients have access to evidence-based therapies and support groups that will help them develop the skills they need to achieve their mental wellness goals. For more information on cognitive disorders and other mental health concerns, call (866) 311-3510 and find out how Alter Wellness Care can help you.