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ReachMDDiagnosing & Treating Neurocognitive Disorders in the Psychiatric Setting

Neurocognitive disorders often present similarly to psychiatric symptoms, making differentiation crucial for proper treatment.

In the psychiatric setting, the differentiation between neurocognitive and psychiatric disorders is a complex yet vital task. Drs. Charles Turck and Lokesh Shahani discuss the challenges and strategies in diagnosing and treating neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Their insights shed light on the importance of early diagnosis, appropriate screening, and the latest therapeutic options.

Key Points:

  • Importance of Differentiation: Different disorders require different treatments and resources; addressing the underlying neurocognitive disorder is essential.
  • Early Diagnosis Strategies: Screening for neurocognitive disorders in patients over 60 with new or worsening psychiatric symptoms is vital. Bedside memory screening and family history checks are key methods.
  • Treatment Options: Medications like acetylcholine esterase inhibitors and memantine are available for Alzheimer’s and other neurocognitive disorders.

Additional Points:

  • APA Presentation Focus: Emphasized the importance of keeping neurocognitive disorders in mind when treating older patients with psychiatric symptoms.
  • Patients at Risk: Individuals over the age of 60 presenting with new or worsening psychotic symptoms should be screened for neurocognitive disorders.


  • Accurate diagnosis and treatment of neurocognitive disorders are essential for patient care. Early screening and understanding the latest therapeutic options can lead to more effective management of these complex conditions.

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“I think the biggest takeaway that I want my colleagues to take away from my presentation is screening for neurocognitive disorders. If they asked me who are the patients at risk, I would say any person over the age of 60 who presents to you, either with worsening psychotic symptoms or new onset psychotic symptoms, definitely needs to be screened for neurocognitive disorders.”

Dr. Lokesh Shahani
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
UT Health Houston McGovern Medical School
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