10 (Not so Obvious) Signs of Cognitive Dysfunction


Over 16 million people in the United States suffer from cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment can affect people in many different ways. Autism, dyslexia, dementia, and learning disorders are only a few examples of a cognitive disorder. 

Many people don’t realize that they have a cognitive disorder until it is too late and causing harm to their life. 

Continue reading to discover the signs and symptoms of cognitive dysfunction. Along with health tips that may help prevent dysfunction. 

What Is Cognitive Impairment?

Many people tend to think of Alzheimer’s and dementia when cognitive impairment is brought up.

Many other disorders are considered to be cognitive disabilities as well. Cognitive dysfunction is a difficulty with thinking, concentrating, memory, and other brain functions. These difficulties interfere with daily life and can become severe. 

Cognitive dysfunction can happen to anyone. Many times it gradually comes, while other times it is a sudden onset. 

Luckily there are many signs that we can watch out for, to get help at the first signs. Below are some of the not so obvious signs to look out for. 

1. Reactions to Medications

One of the not so obvious signs of cognitive dysfunction is a reaction to a medication.

Many people tend to overlook these symptoms. They often believe it is just how the medications work. Unfortunately, these medications can cause harm to their brain functioning.  

If you or someone you love is starting a new medication, be sure to talk to the doctor. Asking them about side effects can help you determine if there is cognitive impairment or if it’s a normal side-effect. 

2. Feeling Cold and Tired

Have you been suddenly feeling cold and tired for no apparent reason? 

Many people that feel fatigued, cold, and sluggish have a thyroid problem. Thyroid problems deal with hormones and are a sign that cognitive dysfunction may be affecting you. 

Don’t worry if you get cold in normal settings. Thyroid problems tend to be more obvious than just being cold all the time. Going to your doctor can help you determine if you have a thyroid problem.  

3. Dry Hair and Brittle Nails

Notice someone you love having dry hair and brittle nails?

If someone if aging and experiencing these symptoms, there is a good chance they are also dealing with a cognitive disorder. 

Studies have shown that people with cognitive dysfunction lack certain vitamins and nutrients. The body requires these nutrients to function. Metabolic and hormonal imbalances also occur with cognitive impairment. 

4. Depression and Anxiety

Sad and anxious feelings can arise anytime, but those with cognitive dysfunction may be impacted more by these disorders.

Paranoia, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can all impact the brain and thought processes. These illnesses impair the brain and cause issues with thinking, concentrating, and remembering. 

Chronic anxiety can lead to cognitive dysfunction as well. If your anxiety is interfering with thought processes, you should speak with your doctor. 

5. Substance Abuse 

Substance abuse is its problem, but with it can come cognitive dysfunction.

If someone you know has a drinking or drug problem that disrupts normal thinking and processing, they may be dealing with a larger issue. Overusing harmful products can impair brain functioning. 

It is important to know the normal side effects of medications and drugs. Alcohol, illegal drugs and even prescription drugs can be abused and cause cognitive dysfunction. 

6. Aging

If someone you know is older and having difficulty thinking, pay attention to the signs. They may be dealing with cognitive dysfunction. 

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are two of the most well-known causes of cognitive impairment. They prevent the person from being able to remember details about their life. These cognitive disorders are hard on the person suffering from them, but also their family and loved ones. 

The more that someone ages, the more they run the risk of cognitive impairment. Some cases show up slowly over time. Other times, the onset can be sudden. It is important to have a plan for our loved ones as they age. 

What Can You Do to Help Prevent Cognitive Dysfunction?

Cognitive dysfunction can lead to long-term problems if untreated. The best way to start preparing yourself is to learn about brain health and signs of dysfunction. 

There are many other things you can do to help yourself as well. 

Going to the doctor once or twice a year for a physical can help you prepare for cognitive dysfunction. Many cognitive problems occur because of underlying problems. A doctor visit will help ensure that no problems go unnoticed. 

If you begin to notice thinking or memory impairments, medical help should be sought immediately. 

Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd

There are many, not so obvious, signs of cognitive dysfunction. 

Utilizing this guide can help you quickly identify if you or someone you love is suffering from a cognitive disorder. It is easy to miss the red flags if you aren’t paying attention. Learning as much as you can, will help prepare you.

If someone has a cognitive disorder, they may experience anxiety and depression. Taking prescriptions and illegal drugs impair memory and concentration, leading to cognitive impairment. 

Pay attention to dry hair and brittle nails. These are signs of a lack of nutrients and vitamins, along with hormone imbalances. 

Substance abuse is another large factor for people suffering from cognitive dysfunction. As people age, they are more likely to suffer from thinking and memory problems. 

Be sure to check out our blog for more articles on mental health and wellness! 

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