Cognitive Problem Treatment Program Options
Cognitive problems are common across all demographics of people. Thankfully, there are many treatment options available that can address cognitive issues and help individuals suffering from these disorders to live balanced, healthy lives.
What Causes Cognitive Issues?
There is no single, overarching cause for cognitive impairment. By the same token, there is no one ideal treatment or uniform outcome for patients seeking relief. Certain commonalities have been discovered, however, in the brains of people who have been diagnosed with cognitive impairments. According to the Mayo Clinic, in the search for what causes cognitive issues these factors have been found to hold across a wide range of impaired brains:
- Plaque deposits form to an abnormal extent
- The brain reduces its consumption of glucose in certain key areas, thus having less energy at its disposal
- The afflicted brain’s ventricles, or fluid-filled spaces, enlarge
- The hippocampus shrinks, indicating difficulty with certain aspects of memory formation
Nobody is entirely sure what triggers the onset of degenerative brain disorders in many cases, but some factors are known to encourage, if not directly cause, seriously impaired cognition. Problems as diverse as the presence of a tumor, the occurrence of a stroke or closed-head injury, an untreated infection and exposure to an environmental toxin have all been known to play roles in causing mild to severe cognitive issues.
Is There a Cure for Cognitive Issues?
Just as there is no single cure for these issues, there can never be a single treatment much less a guarantee of a cure in most cases. While some cognitive issues will go away on their own, sometimes just as mysteriously as they came, at other times, the focus of treatment centers is more on rehabilitation and management of ineradicable symptoms.
Therapies for Cognitive Disorders
The great diversity of causes and outcomes of neurological impairments has motivated a wide-ranging search for effective therapies for cognitive disorders. Quite a few have been hit upon, such as these examples from the Mayo Clinic:
- Drugs to boost neurotransmitter levels, such as Aricept, Razadyne and Exelon
- A drug called memantine, which works via a different pathway to regulate the activity of the neurotransmitter glutamate to improve memory and learning
- Occupational therapy that focuses on teaching the patient strategies to minimize the effect that cognitive impairment has on day-to-day living
- Environmental approaches, such as reducing clutter and noise around the patient to make it easier to focus on tasks and reduce confusion and frustration
Cognitive Therapy Treatments
Each of the above approaches to cognitive treatment has its place in the constellation of medical and therapeutic interventions available to patients with cognition issues. Each has its supporters and its detractors as well. Final authority regarding decisions on treatment options will ultimately rest in the hands of either the patient or the patient’s designated decision-maker, working in partnership with medical providers. With such a wide variety of treatment options available, it becomes possible to tailor an approach to treatment that’s as unique as the person who seeks it.
If you have or somebody close to you has been showing any signs and symptoms of a cognitive disorder, it’s important to seek out help to quickly obtain a diagnosis. The sooner signs of potentially serious cognitive issues are identified, the better the treatment options to manage or even reverse the disability should be. Finding such help isn’t always easy, particularly for people who have begun to show signs of neurological illnesses.
Other Therapeutic Methods
Faced with various drug-centered and clinical options for treatment, some patients opt for alternative complementary approaches. While cognitive behavioral therapy can sometimes be effective in teaching strategies to help with managing the effects of impaired function and the diminished capacity that goes with it, in the case of degenerative neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, the efficacy of such treatments can be limited.
Genuinely non-medical, or alternative, therapies are said to provide relief for some, but in the absence of controlled double-blind trials with repeatable results, it is not at all clear what improvements, if any, they offer over traditional medical approaches.
Residential Inpatient Cognitive Treatment Centers
There may come a point when medication and occasional visits to a neurologist are no longer sufficient to manage a person’s issues with cognition. Sometimes, following a hospital visit for what are essentially unrelated issues, it isn’t felt to be advisable for the patient to be released back home without adequate supervision. In a case such as this, a doctor might recommend placement with one of the many residential inpatient cognitive treatment centers that exist to serve the needs of impaired individuals who need more than the usual amount of daily care and supervision.
The Benefits of Residential Cognitive Disorder Treatment
Foremost among the benefits of residential cognitive disorder treatment centers has to be the increased safety that comes from leaving a difficult and potentially dangerous living situation and entering a controlled environment that has been designed specifically to cater to the needs of people with cognition issues. In such a place, it may be confidently expected that the appropriate medications will be delivered on time every day, and that threats to the residents’ physical well-being will not be permitted. An environment of support will be established around the patient to reduce the strain of living with limited function.
Luxury Cognitive Treatment Facilities
One class of very desirable centers is generally known as luxury cognitive treatment facilities. These plush centers have been designed to offer a far less clinical look and feel and to more closely resemble a resort-like environment. Cold parquet floors may be replaced with hardwood, or even soft carpeting, gentle music may play in the common areas, and all manner of recreation might be arranged, such as supervised swimming, horseback riding and other activities. The idea behind this is to make the treatment of mild to severe cognition issues less like a trip to the repair shop and more in keeping with a relaxing vacation.
Executive Cognitive Treatment Programs
For patients who show reasonable prospects of restored function and who wish to pursue inpatient treatments without necessarily shutting out the outside world, executive cognitive treatment programs may be the answer. These programs exist in areas all over the country. The basic idea behind these centers is to allow people who need treatment but are unwilling to entirely leave their home environments or jobs behind to get the care they need while maintaining contact with the outside world.
Outpatient Cognitive Rehab and Treatment Programs
Sometimes, inpatient treatment simply isn’t necessary for the care and maintenance of an individual with a milder form of cognition issue. In cases such as this, an outpatient cognitive rehab and treatment program can be an ideal solution. Usually taking the form of adult daycares or other facility-based programs, these clinics can supervise and care for patients whose impairments simply don’t merit placement with an inpatient center.
Whatever the approach that’s ultimately decided upon, it’s important to seek out the necessary help for a person with cognition issues as early as possible. The sooner you recognize the signs and symptoms of a cognitive impairment in yourself or in somebody you care for, the better the treatment options and range of therapies that stand a chance of stalling the effects of a neurological impairment will be. To this end, it’s important not to delay your call to , where you’ll be connected to somebody who knows what you’re facing and who can help you to sort through the options available to you for treatment.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
As discussed above, many different drug-based approaches to therapy are available for individuals undergoing treatment for cognitive issues. Both prescription and over-the-counter medications are available for you as part of a comprehensive approach to treatment. Many different classes of medications are intended to help with the symptoms of neurological impairments, and they work in different ways. Some drugs are aimed at preventing the onset or worsening of the symptoms of cognition issues, while others are intended to manage the effects of the impairment. Aspirin, which is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world and available over the counter without a prescription, falls into both categories at once, according to numerous studies, including one recently published in the journal BMJ Open. It is sometimes prescribed for daily use in the hopes of preventing the development of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and continues to be used as an analgesic for the treatment of pain associated with many degenerative ailments.
For drugs that are available only by prescription, the best course is to discuss your options with a doctor and develop a treatment plan around your needs. Always be as open and honest with the doctor as possible, if only so that the effectiveness of the prescribed medications can be assessed accurately. Always follow the directions for use that you get from the doctor or pharmacist because some medications can cause harm if they’re not taken the right way. If you find your disability is causing you trouble with understanding the directions, or if you’re just having trouble using the medications as intended, it’s important to seek out some kind of help with taking the drugs that have been prescribed.
How to Find the Best Cognitive Treatment Facility
When the need is felt to seek out and enter inpatient care, whether for a limited time or as part of a more permanent solution for yourself or somebody you care for, the concern that should be uppermost in your mind is how to find the best cognitive treatment facility for you. Because each patient is unique, and no two sets of family circumstances are an exact match, there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. The best course is usually to seek out the widest possible range of options before collaborating with a professional who understands what’s going on and can help you to identify the center that will best meet your needs.