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Research and Advances in Psychiatry

The importance of cognitive assessment in the management of psychiatric disorders

Letter to the Editor, 44 - 45
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The rationale of this article is to emphasize the importance of cognitive assessment in the management of psychiatric syndromes. Many studies have investigated and have clearly shown the existence of cognitive dysfunction in most of the psychiatric disorders. These deficits occur with different severity which seems to trace a dimensional continuum between the various clinical manifestations.
Cognitive impairment is not merely a result of the damage caused during the time by the psychiatric symptoms but an integral part of the disorder itself. The alterations of different cognitive domains found in mental illnesses are often detectable as prodromal symptoms of the disease, showing indirectly a predisposition to the later development of the disorder, particularly schizophrenia.
Considering that cognitive impairment is not only a feature of schizophrenia but also of affective psychoses and bipolar disorder, some authors have suggested using the cognitive impairment as an endophenotype.
Moreover, cognitive assessment is essential for the formulation of effective strategies capable also of recovery of cognitive functions through structured and specific rehabilitative strategies.