Vascular Neurocognitive Disorder Essay

Diagnostic Criteria for Vascular Neurocognitive Disorder

As defined by Sachdev, et al., (2014), a vascular neurocognitive disorder is a mental health disorder that is characterized by a disruption in the supply of blood to the brain resulting to impairment of cognitive functioning. Previously, it was often referred to as vascular dementia or vascular neurocognitive impairment. Sachdev, et al., (2014) refer to the DSM-V guidelines of diagnosing VND and highlight that, a diagnosis is made when a client meets all the criteria for either major or minor neurocognitive disorder. Therefore, in major depressive disorder, the client should meet the following criterion: a significant decline in the performance levels of cognitive domains, cognitive deficits largely interfere with performance of the activities of daily life and independence, the deficits do not occur solely in case of hallucinations and lastly, the cognitive deficits do not occur as a result of other mental health disorders (Sachdev, et al., 2014).


With reference to mild neurocognitive disorders, the following criterion should be met: evidence of a moderate decline in the performance levels of one or more cognitive domains, The deficits are not a hindrance to independence capacity in activities of daily life, the deficits do not exclusively occur in the context of hallucinations and that they are not explained better by other mental health disorders (Sachdev, et al., 2014). The clinical features should be consistent with a vascular etiology with evidence of cerebrovascular disease from either physical, historical or neuroimaging studies. Lastly, the symptoms of a patient are not related to either a systemic or brain disease. Vascular Neurocognitive Disorder Essay

Evidence-Based Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacologic Treatment for Vascular Neurocognitive Disorder

Vascular neurocognitive disorder has no cure. Therefore, therapy aims at improving the functional status, cognitive function and alleviating the severity of symptoms. Its management utilizes both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches. For the pharmacological treatment, anticholinesterase inhibitors have proven to be highly effective in improving cognitive function, independence, and performance of activities of daily life (Cooper, et al., 2015). In instances where there is evidence of aggression, severe distress and risk of physical harm to those who either live or work with a patient, atypical antipsychotics may be prescribed.

The most widely known non-pharmacological treatment for vascular neurocognitive disorders is psychotherapy. More specifically, clients are likely to benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy which aims at stimulating the thought process and how to engage people (Cooper, et al., 2015). In most cases, group therapy is preferred when using CBT and patients also participate in games with an aim of enjoying.

Risks of Different Types of Therapy and Benefits That Outweigh the Risks

For patients diagnosed with vascular neurocognitive disorder, different therapies may be utilized to alleviate the severity of symptoms and promote independence and social functioning. Occupational therapy and physiotherapy are therapies whose risk is associated with fatigue, back pain, and musculoskeletal issues that are as a result of lifting and moving objects (Townsend & Morgan, 2017). However, they have proven to be highly effective in identifying the areas with a problem in daily life and through collaboration with a mental health expert, they manage to get practical solutions. Besides, clients who present with movement difficulties are able to regain movement independence thus highly commendable. Vascular Neurocognitive Disorder Essay

Another form of therapy that is used is CBT. The major risk of CBT is in the emotional form where exploring traumatic or painful experiences and feelings are stressful (Townsend & Morgan, 2017). However, since it encourages participation in exercises and activities which aim at improving memory, language, and problem solving, it is highly recommended.


Cooper, C., Sommerlad, A., Lyketsos, C. G., & Livingston, G. (2015). Modifiable predictors of dementia in mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(4), 323-334.

Sachdev, P., Kalaria, R., O’brien, J., Skoog, I., Alladi, S., Black, S. E., … & Ganguli, M. (2014). Diagnostic criteria for vascular cognitive disorders: a VASCOG statement. Alzheimer disease and associated disorders, 28(3), 206.

Townsend, M. C., & Morgan, K. I. (2017). Psychiatric mental health nursing: Concepts of care in evidence-based practice. FA Davis.

Vascular Neurocognitive Disorder Essay

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