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    Amnestic and Other Cognitive Disorders

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    Diagnosis of elderly clients may pose multiple challenges. Coupled with other symptoms from age and/or medical conditions, psychologists may encounter complications in making an accurate, differential diagnosis between cognitive disorders and psychological disorders. For example, as cognitive disorders involve a deficit or dysfunction in cognition, psychologists need eliminate alternate possibilities for the cognitive impairment to make an accurate diagnosis.

    For this Discussion, consider various complications that may arise with diagnoses of elderly clients. Select one cognitive impairment (delirium, dementia, amnestic disorders) and one psychological disorder and consider the factors that may influence an accurate differential diagnosis in elderly clients. Then, consider how medications for elderly clients may complicate an accurate diagnosis.

    A description of the cognitive impairment and the psychological disorder you selected. Then describe three factors you must consider in making a differential diagnosis and explain why. Finally, explain how medications for elderly clients may complicate an accurate diagnosis.

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    (1) A description of the cognitive impairment and the psychological disorder you selected.

    Dementia--aging is associated with changes and challenges in many areas including emotional changes that occur as people age, and create a shift in focus. For instance, factors associated with aging include the social environment and cognitive changes such as a decline in cognitive processes that takes place with the onset of dementia. For instance, Hoefler (2000) notes, many patients suffer from severe dementia. Dementia is described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR [APA], 2000) as "the development of multiple cognitive deficits (including memory impairment) that are due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition, to the persisting effects of a substance, or to multiple etiologies" (p. 147). Based on DSM-IV-TR descriptors, dementia is characterized by the development of multiple cognitive deficits. These deficits are evidenced in several disorders including: (a) Alzheimer's , (b) vascular dementia, (c) dementia due to HIV disease, (d) dementia due to head trauma, (e) Parkinson's disease, (f) Huntington's disease , (g) Pick's disease, (h) Creutzfeldt-Iakob, due to Other general medical conditions, and (i) Substance-induced persisting dementia (p. 147). The essential feature of dementia is cognitive impairment, or disturbance to executive functioning (e.g., inattention, lack of memory, etc.). The deficits must involve impairment in social, or occupational functioning, and "represent a decline from previously ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution considers problems that can arise in diagnosing the elderly such as dementia, amnestic, and other cognitive disorders.