Treatment of cognitive disorder with Ayurveda



Definition of Cognitive Disorder

At its basic level, the term cognitive disorder is applied to any type of disorder, disease, or condition that impairs the cognitive functioning of a person. The ability of a person to function becomes extremely difficult or impossible without treatment or without some form of assistance.

Cognition is a term that refers to:

  • various mental functions such as learning and memory
  • perceiving or identifying and understanding the relationships of objects in one's environment
  • solving problems
  • understanding of the language
  • communicating with others
  • make decisions
  • be able to think about things from different perspectives.

People with cognitive disorders have problems that affect their ability to perform one or more of these actions.

The main neurocognitive disorders listed in DSM-5 are:

  • Delirium:A change in thinking that develops over a short period of time and involves a loss of awareness of the environment, situation and ability to think clearly.
  • Dementia:A progressive decline in the thinking of the person most often involving memory loss, concentration problems, and loss of other thinking abilities.
  • Amnesia:memory loss without significant loss of other thinking abilities.
  • Other: Many other conditions that may be due to medical conditions, drug use, etc.


Some of the main causes of cognitive disorders / dysfunctions include:

Genetic: Genetic influences seem to play a role in many different cognitive disorders. For example, Huntington's disease is a severe disorder of the movement that often involves significant changes in thinking. The dementia that comes with the disorder is thought to be due to genetic causes. Developmental disorders such as Down Syndrome often cause significant cognitive dysfunction and are often the result of genetic factors.

Head Injury: Injuries to the head can lead to significant cognitive dysfunction. They can be a source of disorders such as dementia or amnesia. Depending on the severity and severity of the head injury, the effects may be specific to the part of the brain that is injured or may affect the overall functioning of the person.

Closed head injuries often lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that occur when the brain is not penetrated by any object. Diseases and infections: There are many bacteria, viruses and disease states that can affect the brain and lead to cognitive dysfunction or cognitive disorder.  Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective lining of the brain and the spinal cord, which can be caused by bacteria or a virus. This can lead to significant cognitive dysfunction and even death.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS)is a disease that is thought to occur when the body's immune system begins to attack a substance known as myelin. Myelin is part of the cells in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that help cells signal to each other. When myelin is severely damaged, cells cannot communicate and people begin to have problems with their thinking and movement. Parkinson's disease occurs when cells in the brain that produce a chemical known as  dopamine they start to die. Cells that use dopamine cannot communicate effectively with each other.

Brain tumors

Tumors are abnormal cells that grow and penetrate the areas of the body where they are. Tumors can be either benign or malignant. Benignity means that they will not spread to other areas. Malignancies mean that they will spread to other areas and can continue to grow even after most of the tumor has been removed. Tumors that occur in the brain or in the lining of the brain can affect the area of ​​the brain where they are. This can lead to cognitive dysfunction associated with this area of ​​the brain.

Exposure to toxic substances

There are many substances that can affect brain function and lead to cognitive disorders or cognitive dysfunction. These substances are often called neurotoxins. People exposed to lead or other heavy metals can develop problems with their memory and other cognitive functions.

Exposed to paint fumes, fumes from certain types of adhesives, cements, petrol or aerosol cans, and more. They can also lead to significant brain damage. This impairment can lead to cognitive dysfunction. The use of alcohol or drugs such as cocaine or heroin can lead to significant cognitive dysfunction or the development of a cognitive disorder. For example, some people who abuse alcohol over time may develop a form of dementia due to brain damage associated with their alcohol abuse.

Malnutrition or other lifestyle factors: Not eating properly, getting enough exercise or other factors related to a person's lifestyle can lead to the development of a cognitive disorder. People who suffer from  obesity are also vulnerable to many different types of cognitive disorders such as stroke and even dementia. Severe malnutrition can lead to delirium problems.

What is the theory behind the cognitive disorders underlying Ayurveda?

From the point of view of Ayurveda, humans can be classified according to their dosha or biological humor. Ayurveda identifies three Doshi: Vata,  Pita and Kafa. Ayurveda also talks about four basic components that make up a person: the body (Sarira), the mind (Manas), the physical / psychological senses (Indria), and the soul (Atma). The practice of Ayurveda is to promote health by striking a balance between all of the above. Let's take a closer look at the concept of mind.

Manas: The mind

Manas is said to have three distinct qualities or traits. They are referred to as the three gunas. The first (Sattva) is associated with positive qualities such as self-control, wisdom, spiritual awareness, patience, and happiness. The second (Rajas) is associated with anger, greed and violence. The third (tamas) is associated with qualities such as lethargy. , depressive symptoms and selfishness.

Mental illness is thought to occur when an imbalance arises between these three gunas and this can occur as a result of problems related to Dosha and a person's lifestyle.

How to treat cognitive disorders with Ayurveda medicine?

Treatment includes a complete combination of diet and lifestyle changes, yoga, massage, aromatherapy and what can be compared to ethical or spiritual advice. Mantras, meditation, fasting and vows can also be used. specific herbs are also prescribed for the treatment of psychological disorders: examples include Bacopa monnieri, Kava, Centella asiatica and Saffron.

There is also another Ayurvedic technique known as Sattavaya, which can be used to improve mental health. Literally translated, this means "conquering the mind" – and it is the  ayurvedic equivalent of Western psychotherapy. Sattvavajaya involves helping the patient to calm, direct and structure the mind by challenging and replacing problematic ideas and thoughts with more functional ones – a similar approach to the Western brand of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

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