Cognition In Psychopathology And Its Meaning

Cognitive processes play a fundamental role in many mental disorders. In fact, processes like attention, memory, or reasoning can work differently in connection with a mental illness.
Cognition in psychopathology and its meaning

The importance of cognition for psychopathology is pronounced. The presence and development of various cognitive factors is the variable that determines whether or not certain mental health problems are present.

We speak of emotions such as fear, sadness and guilt or poorly adjusted behavior. Some people may realize an anxiety attack, self-harming depressive crisis, or the rituals a person with OCD might perform.

However, processes such as attention, reasoning, and memory express themselves differently in different types of mental disorders. These processes are not the same in well-adapted people as they are in people with poorly adapted behavior that affects their daily lives. However, this does not mean that these processes are the same in all people with a mental disorder.

For example, the fact that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder have mismatched expectations. It doesn’t mean, however, that they always have or will have them forever.

The cognition in psychopathology

The cognition in psychopathology

The psychological processes that can be influenced by various mental disorders are:

  • the memory
  • the reasoning
  • the attention
  • the thinking
  • the perception
  • the emotional regulation

Using examples, we will talk about some of these processes related to a wide variety of disorders. The aim is to understand the importance of cognitive factors in psychopathology.

Attention: excessive or defective

Attention is a process that illustrates the importance of knowledge in psychopathology. It is a psychological process that shows a mismatched pattern in people with mental disorders.

This pattern has to do with hypervigilance, i.e. increased vigilance. People with mental illness tend to pay more attention to the stimuli that support their fears and worries.

For example, a person with a social phobia tends to pay more attention to negative information and personal function. Not only are they hypervigilant to signals that might indicate that they are not being well received by those around them, but also to the sensations in their body (change in heart rate and breathing, etc.). This is self-awareness.

Cognition in psychopathology and memory games

In the cognitive memory process, the phenomena that occur depend on the respective disorder. Some of them are:

  • Selective reminder. People with panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, mood disorders, or eating disorders tend to remember information that confirms their fears. Therefore, a person with depression can recall information that perpetuates the idea that their family does not understand or support them, and erase memories that contradict that idea.
  • Over-generalized memory. The autobiographical memory can be specific or over-generalized. People with certain mood disorders, eating disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder remember things vaguely or vaguely and suffer from memory distortions.
  • Recurring memories. In the case of post-traumatic stress or panic disorders, the memory process is often plagued by intrusive and unwanted memories of the traumatic situation.
  • The ability to trust memories. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder often feel like they cannot trust that their memory is working properly. If you can’t trust your memory, you will wonder if you really turned off the stove or actually closed the door. This insecurity, in turn, leads to compulsive behavior and compulsions.

Biased reasoning

Everyone has prejudices in their arguments. However, we can understand the importance of cognitive factors in psychopathology through these much more extreme biases. There are various skewed arguments associated with various disorders. For example:

  • Ambiguous stimulus interpretation bias. In disorders such as generalized anxiety disorders or mood disorders, there is a tendency to interpret ambiguous stimuli as negative. These stimuli can be gestures and facial expression changes, etc.
  • Negative attribution style. This argumentation distortion is typical of depressive disorders. The negative attribution style means that the negative events that take place come from internal causes. They are also stable and will not change. In the case of psychotic disorders, people tend to see a positive attribution style, that is, the “other” is always the one who is responsible for the bad events.
  • Probability Assessment. With certain disorders, there is a tendency to overestimate the likelihood that something bad will happen. Individuals suffering from these disorders also overestimate the dire consequences of this horrific visual event. As mentioned above, these are common with phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotic disorders, or depressive disorders.

Thought traps

Brooding, haunted thoughts, and worries are elements that tend to be aggravated in the context of a mental disorder. Hence, we can see the importance of cognition in psychopathology in disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, where the interventions and recurring thoughts are amplified. In addition, they not only appear more frequently, but are also more intense or powerful.

For people with depression, this thought is “I am worthless”. On the other hand, people with an anxiety disorder think, “You are going to stop loving me.” For people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, on the other hand, that thought is “I am going to contaminate myself . Generally, people with mental illnesses overestimate the importance of these thoughts. So much so that they eventually become their reality.

For example, thought suppression becomes particularly problematic for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. When they try to use their will to avoid thinking about certain things, to distract themselves, or to eliminate thoughts, the opposite usually happens.

Brooding, haunted thoughts, and worries are elements that tend to be aggravated in the context of a mental disorder

Conclusions: Change is difficult

Knowing the importance of cognition in psychopathology can better understand why it is so complicated to change these things when we are not working on them. In order to create a treatment plan for a patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder, a psychiatrist needs to understand:

  • Various cognitive factors make the problem difficult to get rid of.
  • These cognitive barriers can hinder the success of the prescribed treatment measures.

Therefore, when a person with depression has a negative attribution style, it is extremely difficult for them to break away from their systematic rule when faced with a routine that has both negative and positive events. As a result, the intervention of a specialist is so important.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button