Friday, March 10, 2017

APA Using NCD not Dementia

Photo by Keoni Cabral.
If the Sapir-Whorft theory is to be believed, the language we use shapes our reality.

For this reason, the American Psychological Association (APA) scrutinized the origins of "dementia"-- which is tied to "madness" -- and introduced a new term.

Neurocognitive Disorders

"Neuro" refers to the physical brain.

"Cognititive" refers to the thought processes within the brain.

The term "disorder" recognizes that there is a medical cause for problems residing in the brain or thoughts.

Furthermore, disorders are categorized as "major" or "minor" NCD.

This term took shape in 2008 as a result of an APA workgroup.

However, neurocognitive disorder did not become formally recognized until the May 2013 publication of the APA's DSM 5 Manual--one of many changes.

Dementias, such as those addressed by the Alzheimer's Organization,  are not the only type of disorders falling under this new umbrella term NCD.

For example, problems due traumatic brain injury (TBI) and problems due to advanced HIV are also types of neurocognitive disorder.

I first encountered the term NCD while reading the introduction to Marc Agrogin's 2015 book, The Dementia Caregiver: A Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's Disease and Other Neurocognitive Disorders.  

Doctors and hospitals must now use DSM 5 classification systems in order to file insurance, so NCD is becoming established in those realms.

While medical researchers and clinicians might be using "neurocognitive disorder" to describe various disorders of the brain/mind, most lay people, including support groups, persist in using the more recognized--and shorter--term "dementia."


Cognitive Changes: The Usual Suspects


  1. If coding with the DSM means more medicare/insurance coverage all the better. It is interesting to hear diseases take on name changes.

    1. I hope this renaming does increase coverage. I'm not sure. It seems the impact is greater on research perspectives. We'll have to see. I remember when dementia used to be called "senility."

  2. Very interesting. good to know!

    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog, Michelle.

  3. My Mother had dementia. I don't care what they call it, just hope they find a cure or something to help those that have it. It is very hard for the one who has it...and the family....

    1. Renee: I am sorry to hear that your mother had dementia. It's so hard on the person and their family. Yes, I hope that medical researchers do find a cure. It's such a devastating disease.

  4. I imagine this will cause all types of headaches until everyone is on the same page, but at least it seems like a step in the right direction.