Mild Neurocognitive Disorders and Substance Use

Mild Neurocognitive Disorders and Substance Use

As people age, losing a measure of mental acuity is inevitable. Forgetfulness, confusion, and loss of focus are a few of the common symptoms of aging. However, certain people experience a greater amount of cognitive degeneration, and their symptoms can foretell serious neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Recognized in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), mild neurocognitive disorder (MND) is characterized by the onset of symptoms that, if unrecognized and untreated, could progress into more serious disorders.

Neurocognitive Disorders Leading to Substance Abuse

People who suffer from these disorders face a great deal of pain and frustration, as do their loved ones. The initial recognition of the symptoms of cognitive decline is troubling and can alert people of the risk of a future loss of independence. While it is important to recognize these symptoms early so that one can take measures to halt their progression, recognizing the onset of these disorders can be troubling.

Aging individuals who face disorders that could grow into major issues may try to find ways to cope with the fear and frustration. Due to both psychological and physical decline, many elderly people have access to medications that can temporarily relieve these worrisome burdens. Opiate medications can help them relax and not worry for a time. The decision to use alcohol or other substances could numb the pain or make them feel in control of their emotions, even if they are not in control of their bodies and minds.

Many people are unwilling to confront aging people about drug abuse out of respect. Others may be unable to recognize the symptoms of substance abuse because of the already increasingly undependable physical and mental health that elderly people experience. However, recognizing the signs of substance abuse is as important as recognizing the signs of mild neurocognitive disorders and seeking treatment.

Treatment for Co-Occurring MND and Substance Abuse

While drugs may seem like the answer to the emotional pain associated with recognizing a neurocognitive disorder, substance abuse will complicate treatment for the disorder and make both cognitive and physical decline more likely. Treatment for mild neurocognitive disorders includes changing and accommodating behaviors to help maintain independence in everyday life.

Identifying mild neurocognitive disorders early enhances the chances of treatment success. Identifying co-occurring substance abuse disorders can help medical and treatment professionals offer comprehensive help for both disorders and begin to help patients defend themselves against the onset of disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Help for Co-Occurring MND and Substance Abuse

If you or a loved one is turning to drugs to deal with the onset of a mild neurocognitive disorder, call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about your treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment program that addresses your needs and helps you fight the progression of your symptoms. Don’t wait any longer. Please call today.