Organic mental disorder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Organic mental disorders

An organic mental disorder (OMD), also known as organic brain syndrome or chronic organic brain syndrome, is a form of decreased mental function due to a medical or physical disease, rather than a psychiatric illness. This differs from dementia.[1] While mental or behavioral abnormalities related to the dysfunction can be permanent,[2] treating the disease early may prevent permanent damage in addition to fully restoring mental functions. An organic cause to brain dysfunction is suspected when there is no indication of a clearly defined psychiatric or "inorganic" cause, such as a mood disorder.[3]

Now the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision) has broken up the diagnoses that once fell under the diagnostic category organic mental disorder into three categories: delirium, dementia, and amnestic.[3]

Delirium, a mental confusion and emotional disruption, is caused by the sudden change in the brain. Thinking, remembering, sleeping, and paying attention can become difficult during alcohol withdrawal, after surgery, or with dementia.[4] Dementia, a decline in mental ability, can be severe or not, and can interfere with daily life and cause memory loss in most instances.[5] Amnestic pertains to amnesia and is the impairment in ability to learn or recall new information, or recall previously learned information. Although similar, it is not coupled with dementia or delirium.[6]

Organic brain syndrome can be divided into 2 major subgroups: acute (delirium or acute confusional state) and chronic (dementia). A third entity, encephalopathy (subacute organic brain syndrome), denotes a gray zone between delirium and dementia; its early course may fluctuate, but it is often persistent and progressive.[7] Damage to brain functioning could be due not only to organic (physical) injury (a severe blow to the head, stroke, chemical and toxic exposures, organic brain disease, substance abuse, etc.) and also to non-organic means such as severe deprivation, abuse, neglect, and severe psychological trauma.[8]

Alternative names[edit]


Many of the symptoms of Organic Mental Disorder depend on the cause of the disorder, but are similar and include physical or behavioral elements. Dementia and delirium are the cause of the confusion, orientation, cognition or alertness impairment.[9] Therefore, these symptoms require more attention because hallucinations, delusions, amnesia, and personality changes are the result. These effects of the dementia and delirium are not joined with the changes of sensory or perception abilities. Memory impairment, judgment, logical function and agitation are also some extremely common symptoms.[10]


While the treatment depends on which particular disorder is involved in Organic Mental Disorder, a few that are possible. Treatments can include, but are not limited to, rehabilitation therapy such as physical or occupational, pharmacological modification of the neurotransmitter function, or medication.[11] The affected parts of the brain can recover some function with the help of different types of therapy. Online therapy can be just as intense and helpful as rehabilitation therapy, in person, and can help those affected regain function in daily life.[12]


Some disorders are short-term and treatable, and their prognosis is not as lengthy.[1] Rest and medication are the most common courses of action for these treatable cases to help the patient return to proper health. Many of the cases are long-term, and there is not as much of a set and defined prognosis. The course of action can include extensive counseling and therapy.[13] There are many reasons that the long-term cases are harder to treat and these include these cases normally get worse over time, and medication or therapy could not work.[14] In this case, many of the prognosis tracks are to help the patient and their family become more comfortable and understand what will happen.

Associated conditions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Organic brain syndrome: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  2. ^ "Organic mental disorders". Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  3. ^ a b "Organic Psychosis - Medical Disability Guidelines". Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  4. ^ "What Causes Delirium".
  5. ^ "What is Dementia".
  6. ^ "Amnestic".
  7. ^ "Delirium, Dementia, and Amnesia in Emergency Medicine". Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  8. ^ "Differences between psychological and neuropsychological evaluation". Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2012-10-12.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "What are the Symptoms of Organic Mental Disorder?".
  10. ^ "Benefits For Organic Mental Disorders".
  11. ^ "Treatment of Chronic Organic Mental Disorder".
  12. ^ "Treatment for Organic Mental Disorders".
  13. ^ "Organic Mental Disorders".
  14. ^ "Getting Treatment for Organic Mental Disorder".
  15. ^ Evans, Larry (1970-01-01). "A Case of Lithium Poisoning?, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Informa Healthcare". Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 12 (2): 133–135. doi:10.3109/00048677809159607. PMID 278604.