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Cognitive Testing

Cognition refers to the different mental processes that occur in the brain. These are largely different from neurologic mechanisms that exert control over the different organs of the body. Cognitive testing provide an invaluable assessment tool in which the overall cognitive performance of the human brain can be evaluated.

cognitive testingIn substance addictions or chemical dependencies, the brain’s natural and normal chemistry is significantly altered. Normally, the brain is able to collect, analyze, process, and interpret information for a variety of purposes but nonetheless specific and relevant to the initiating event. In it’s chemically- or substance- altered state, the brain can no longer efficiently process such information which, otherwise would have been easily managed. Cognitive testing therefore is indicated to evaluate the extent to which these cognitive processes have been affected or altered by the use of certain drugs or substances.

An individual who has either a mental illness or substance abuse problems or even both typically presents with the following cognitive impairments:

  • Difficulty maintaining attention or focus – Individuals with chemical dependence or mental health issues may find it difficult to follow a conversation, finish an article, or even accomplish simple tasks simply because of very short attention span. Prolonging the attention span can significantly lead to extreme cases of anxiety.
  • Problems with memory – Forgetfulness among the 80-something or 90-something is understandable. However, if it develops on an otherwise healthy-looking 20-something or 30-something, then it often signals a serious mental health problem or even a severe substance addiction. Issues with memory retention and recall will be a challenge especially in terms of adherence to therapeutic protocols.
  • Issues with problem-solving skills – Daily living requires the performance of very simple tasks. Each of these tasks, such as opening a door using a key, involves very simple problem-solving processes. Unfortunately, for the individual who may have substance addiction or mental health issues, even the simplest tasks can become huge obstacles which can significantly overwhelm them.
  • Changes in the degree of motivation – The desire to complete a task or accomplish an objective is largely dependent on the level of motivation of the individual. If motivation is low, achieving success at mental health or substance addiction recovery may not be that easy. There are also those who are fast-starters but often end up in a cloud of smoke.

In addition to the above-mentioned cognitive issues, cognitive testing also evaluates fatigue levels, learning retention, rule acquisition, reaction speed, cognitive flexibility and vigilance. The individual’s ability to coordinate his hand and eye movements can also provide an accurate description of the state of health of his cognition. Cognitive testing also determines the individual’s level of impulse control which is very helpful in determining the likelihood of the individual going into a relapse. Additionally, one’s ability to formulate relevant, appropriate, and situation-specific responses is also evaluated in cognitive testing.

“Cognitive testing provide an invaluable assessment tool in which the overall cognitive performance of the human brain can be evaluated.”

Studies show that individuals with higher scores during cognitive testing are more likely to complete their treatment programs. Sprout Health Group knows this very well and as such has instituted cognitive testing as one of the key elements to successful treatments.

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