Slow cognitive time: causes and associated disorders

Although slow cognitive tempo (SLT) was previously thought to be a subtype of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with a predominance of inattentive symptoms, it is now known to be a syndrome. differentiated which is also manifested in other psychopathological alterations.

In this article we will describe the clinical features, the causes of slow cognitive rhythm and its relationship to other disorders. Research around this set of symptoms is in its infancy, but has been advancing at a significant rate for a few years now.

    What is slow cognitive tempo?

    The concept of “slow cognitive tempo” refers to a cognitive-emotional style that is characterized primarily by the continued presence of a state of confusion, lost gaze, reverie, lack of motivation and slowness or lazy. If these manifestations are understood as symptoms, we can conceptualize TCL as a syndrome.

    In addition to these five cardinal signs, it is common to also detect the following in people with a slow cognitive tempo:

    • Low precision and speed in processing information.
    • Frequent onset of feelings of fatigue or chronic fatigue.
    • Relatively low energy and activity levels.
    • Drowsiness during the day.
    • Difficulty maintaining alertness or vigilance in low stimulus situations.
    • Withdrawal, less interest and participation in activities.
    • Difficulty turning thoughts into words.
    • Loss of the thread of thought, blockages by forgetting when speaking.

    The cognitive tempo was initially thought to be slow was a subtype of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in which symptoms of inattention predominated. Advances in scientific research have shown that it is in fact an independent clinical category, although there is no agreement on whether it is a disorder or not.

    In this regard, the clinical characteristics of a slow cognitive tempo they appear against the background of various psychological disorders and psychiatric disorders, including major depression, generalized anxiety, intellectual functional diversity or various learning-related disorders, in addition to ADHD.

      Causes of this syndrome

      The causes of slow cognitive tempo are not yet fully understood. However, it is believed that nerve networks associated with attention to the back of the brainIn the parietal lobes, they are more associated with this syndrome than the frontal lobes, as in the case of ADHD.

      On the other hand, it has been found that exposure to large amounts of alcohol during fetal development promotes the appearance of these neurocognitive signs.

      A slow cognitive tempo seems to have a biological basis similar to that of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, the heritability of ADHD is highest in the subtype in which symptoms of hyperactivity predominate.

      In contrast, ADHD cases that are linked to the presence of a slow cognitive tempo are those with a lower genetic inheritance weight. It has been hypothesized that this style of thinking and emotion results from changes in environmental influences caused by the very presence of symptoms of inattention.

      Relationship to other disorders

      There is currently an unresolved debate around the clinical nature of slow cognitive tempo. Its correlation with other psychological disorders may shed light on this point.

      1. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

      Research indicates that between 30 and 50% of children diagnosed with ADHD show the characteristic syndrome of slow cognitive tempo. The clinical similarities between this model and ADHD with a predominance of inattention are significant, but the two constructs differ in certain characteristics both neurologically and cognitively.

      For many experts, the growing interest in slow cognitive tempo presents an opportunity to question one’s own diagnosis of ADHD, which encompasses a wide variety of manifestations and has become restrictive in the area of ​​inattention in the process. IV, but gains in explanatory capacity if TCL is included among the criteria.

      2. Major depression

      Find a clear association between a slow cognitive rhythm and the presence of symptoms of internalization, Especially those that are typical of mood and anxiety disorders.

      Although this relationship has a modest intensity, it is somewhat more powerful in the case of depression than in the case of anxiety. Additionally, some authors argue that slow cognitive rhythm is more associated with internalization than with ADHD.

      3. Anxiety disorders

      Regarding the category of anxiety disorders, co-morbidities were found between slow cognitive time and alterations. like social phobia, obsessive thoughts and in particular generalized anxiety disorder, which is closely linked to depression from a biological point of view.

      Signs of inattention concern the relationship between anxiety disorders and slow cognitive tempo: the attention difficulties inherent in TCL are increased by the effects of anxiety, which in itself leads to alterations in this psychological function. .

      4. Behavior disorders

      Children and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are more likely to develop behavioral problems, such as dissocial disorder, negative challenger, or substance abuse. However, in cases with a slow cognitive tempo, this relationship is reduced; therefore, TCL acts as a protective factor.

      5. Learning difficulties

      A slow cognitive rhythm interferes with learning by the appearance of self-organizing deficits and problem solving, As well as in other executive functions. The severity of the associated difficulties depends on the intensity of the symptoms in each particular case.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Camprodon, I., Duñó, L., Batlle, S., Estrada, X., Aceña, M., Marró, M., Torrubia, R., Pujals, E., Martí, LM and Ribas-Fitó, N. (2013). Slow cognitive time: review of a construct. Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Psychology, 18 (2): 151-168.
      • Mueller, AK, Tucha, L., Koerts, J., Groen, T., Lange, KW and Tucha, O. (2014). Slow cognitive time and its neurocognitive, social, and emotional correlates: a systematic review of the current literature. Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, 2: 5.

      Leave a Comment