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Decrease in My Cognitive Abilities: Is It Psychological or Physiological?

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I have been experiencing a decline in my mental capacity. This includes problems recalling the names of certain objects, remembering school work and generally feeling like my mind is blank. I’ve experienced this three years ago and I went to a neurologist who did an MRI, however at that time I was complaining about a numbness in my head which is what this feels like and at that time I also had insomnia, trouble concentrating. The neurologist said nothing was wrong with me however I should check back with him in case, but I never did (financial problems). Recently however things have gotten really bad compared to how they were three years ago, I remember staring at my laptop case and watching a velcro strap and I couldn’t remember for the life of me the name velcro. I only remembered it yesterday when I was reading a topic on materials that it was called velcro, bear in mind that I forgot the strap’s name three weeks ago. I even forgot my uncle’s birthday and my mum called and I had no idea it was his birthday until she told me. I constantly forget to do simple things for example I would leave my apartment to study but i would leave my charger in the apartment. Lately (2 weeks now) I’ve been sleeping a lot (16 hours), eating very little and generally missing classes because I can’t concentrate. Now I was a bit of a hypochondriac and I used to diagnose myself a lot using google (I still do right now I think it’s depression that I have) for example three years ago I thought I had CJD or FFI and I though I would die very soon. I also have bad anxiety which made me avoid people this stems from a rough set of teenage years because my mom had a mental illness and her episodes were very difficult,high stress periods. I stopped trusting people and in general avoided them for a long time(most of my life). Now I get stressed out around people even more (I think they see I’m pathetic) and I also get stressed out by myself now because I don’t know what’s wrong. I have thoughts that I may be making up my problems to get attention or that nothing’s wrong with me because some days everything feels normal but 90% of the time I feel horrible(memory problems,lack of purpose,difficulty concentrating,worrying,slightly suicidal).

Decrease in My Cognitive Abilities: Is It Psychological or Physiological?

Answered by on -


If I were your therapist, I would be trying to determine whether your memory concerns stem from your hypochondria and anxiety. People with hypochondriasis are overly concerned about developing medical problems in spite of receiving positive evaluations and reassurances by medical professionals.

You consulted a specialist a few years ago and it was determined that everything was fine. These same fears have returned but the question remains how accurate is your self-assessment?

It would be advantageous to have an objective evaluation with a memory or cognition specialist to determine if your fears are accurate. That said, your undergoing another evaluation could reinforce your worries and increase your anxiety.

You have had these health-related anxieties for years, but there was no mention in your letter about you having consulted a mental health professional. Having a professional evaluation is the best way to determine if your problem is psychological or physiological. Unfortunately, I can’t make that determination based upon a short letter and strongly encourage you to see a psychotherapist for an in-person evaluation. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Decrease in My Cognitive Abilities: Is It Psychological or Physiological?

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Decrease in My Cognitive Abilities: Is It Psychological or Physiological?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 2 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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