Organic Mental Disorder

Organic Mental Disorder

Organic mental disorders are not just psychological diseases, but also cause actual damage to the brain. Descriptions of some of the important diseases in this category are presented in the article below...
PsycholoGenie Staff
Organic mental disorder, which is also referred to as organic brain syndrome, can be described as a set of different conditions which alter the proper functioning of the brain due to a variety of causes. The different causes of such disorders include metabolic irregularities, aging, cardiovascular disorders, regenerative diseases, drug abuse, etc. In organic mental disorder, a temporary or permanent dysfunction of the brain is caused. Specific causes of this medical problem determine their associated symptoms. The commonly observed symptoms include the following: confusion, dementia, impaired memory, agitation, impaired judgment & logic, etc. Some of these are transient disorders (i.e., they affect the patient for a temporary period).

What is Organic Mental Disorder?

An organic mental disorder is not just a psychological disorder. It actually affects the functioning of brain. The normal working of the brain is, therefore, altered. Functional mental disorder is a bit different in nature. The major difference between organic and functional mental disorder is that the latter results from malfunctioning of the mind. In the functional mental disorder, there is no damage caused to the brain.

The state of delirium is characterized by confusion of an acute nature. Attention deficit is one of the signs seen in patients. Infection and drug abuse are amongst the important causes of delirium. It is not a psychiatric disorder, however, a clinical syndrome. Delusions and hallucinations are observed in delirium; however, these symptoms may not necessarily be the part of delirium.

Dementia (Alzheimer's Type)
In this type of dementia, there is a decline in mental abilities of the patient. This condition hampers the patient's ability to think, memorize, learn, make decisions, etc. Physical manifestation of this form of dementia is seen in the form of amyloid plaques and fiber tangles (between nerve cells). Deposits of proteins found in between nerve cells are referred to as amyloid plaques.

In this mental disorder, the thought processes of patient undergo disintegration. Their ability of emotional responsiveness too is hampered to a great extent. The symptoms of schizophrenia include the following: paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, disorganized speech, etc. The age group between teenage and adulthood is considered as most susceptible to schizophrenia.

Alcohol Amnestic Disorder
In this disorder, the patient suffers from loss of memory. Alcohol intake for a prolonged period is the cause of this mental disorder. Deficiency of thiamine is caused by alcohol abuse. As the level of thiamine is lowered, the patient suffers from the above mentioned problems. Neuronal damage, along with alcohol abuse is one of the main causes of memory loss that occurs in this disorder. Nutritional therapy is generally used to treat this problem.

Multiple Sclerosis
In this inflammatory disease, the myelin sheaths and brain get damaged. These myelin sheaths are present around the axons of the brain and spinal cord. This disease is characterized by physical and cognitive disability. Since the ability of nerve cells to communicate with each other is affected, this disease can manifest itself through any of the symptoms of organic mental disorder.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
This disorder is characterized by repetitive behavior, fear, apprehension and other such symptoms. The symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder include extensive hoarding, repetitive hand washing, preoccupation with particular religious beliefs, aggressive impulses, etc. A short list of these disorders is presented below:
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autism
  • Mental Retardation
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Anxiety Disorders
The causes, symptoms and related facts presented in this article should help in understanding these diseases in a better manner. There are many diseases classified under organic mental disorders. The above mentioned ones are amongst the most important ones.