To navigate our way through the world, we constantly make choices. While we’ve all made our fair share of regrettable ones, most of us eventually learn from these – and we generally take this ability for granted.
For some people suffering from illnesses such as schizophrenia and substance use disorder – previously referred to as “substance abuse” – making the right choices can be extremely difficult.
In fact, many mental illnesses feature problems with cognition (thinking and comprehension), including depression and bipolar disorder. Decision-making ability varies in healthy people, too, sometimes as a consequence of differences in genetics.
What’s happening in the brains of these people that puts them on unequal footing to the rest of us?
Even simple decisions are complex
It’s important to note in day-to-day situations, there’s often no distinctly “right” or “wrong” choice to be made. However, some choices do result in healthier or more productive