Neurocognitive Disorders

This entry offers a general overview of neurocognitive disorders (NCDs)—a term that refers to a group of cognitive impairments caused by a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease (e.g., stroke) and degenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body disease), accidents (e.g., head trauma, gunshot wounds), and other processes that affect the brain (e.g., toxicity, HIV/AIDS). NCDs are acquired (rather than developmental) conditions that have not been present since birth or very early life.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), guides clinicians in diagnosing NCDs. The DSM-5 guidelines stipulate general criteria for mild and major forms of NCD based on overall levels of decline and independence in everyday activities. Under the umbrella of mild or major NCD, NCDs ...

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