Cognitive Health Services
Cognitive Health in Mental illness
Mental illness affects many people, but what most do not realize is that it does not just cause emotional problems – it causes cognitive problems, too. People with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder, Asperger’s disorder, and other psychiatric disorders may find it difficult to think clearly, pay attention, and remember. For some, the cognitive problems are only evident during the episodes of illness. For others, the cognitive problems are more persistent. If psychiatric illness is managed well, the person can lead a more productive life and have longer periods of stability.
At the Lieber Clinic, we offer state-of-the-art treatment to promote optimal cognitive health in persons with mental illness. Here, individuals who are experiencing cognitive problems can receive treatment to improve their thinking skills.
1. Mindfulness Training: Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice. There is a growing body of research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain. We offer mindfulness training in a variety of contexts within the program.
2. Computer-based cognitive skills groups: These groups offer highly individualized training using the widely recognized NEAR model (Neuropsychological and Educational Approach to Remediation). In these groups, individuals work at their own computer on tasks identified as helpful for them. Each participant works at his or her own pace, so while a group of people works, the group differs from a group where everyone is doing the same task at the same time.
3. Verbally-based cognitive skills groups: These groups discuss strategies to improve cognitive skills and develop ways to use new cognitive abilities to improve performance of everyday tasks.
4. Social skills groups: These groups focus on social cognition, which has been defined as cognitive skills used in social interactions. These groups help people become more accurate at perceiving the intentions and dispositions of others and act appropriately in social contexts.
5. Task groups: These groups are task oriented groups, where participants work on projects that they have been having difficulty completing on their own. For example, work may be focused on the completion of a resume or application, learning time management skills and calendar use, managing the home and independent living skills, and so on.
How do you know if these groups would be right for you?
There are different mental illnesses and they affect cognition differently. Furthermore, not every person is affected in the same way. Some of the problems people often experience include the ability to:
pay attention and concentrate
remember and recall information
process and respond to information quickly
plan, organize and problem-solve
How can cognitive dysfunction be treated?
At the Lieber Clinic, we treat cognitive dysfunction in three ways:
1. Your psychiatrist will make sure that your medications are best for your overall condition, including the cognitive problems you may be having.
2. We offer cognitive skills training groups for people with different diagnoses. Since each disorder may affect cognition differently, it can be helpful to work with people who share similar problems. We offer groups for people with ADHD, psychotic disorders, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, affective disorders and early onset dementia.
3. We offer education and information so you will be informed about your condition and how to best treat it.