Organic brain syndrome is a medical term used for many physical disorders which cause impaired mental function and cognitive abilities. The term generally does not include any psychiatric disorders. Organic brain syndrome does not refer to any particular disease. It basically includes all the conditions which cause damage to the brain and subsequent mental problems.
The very term was conceived by the psychiatrists and used for diagnosing the conditions of the brain. If during setting of the diagnosis a doctor- psychiatrist could not find any physical damage to the brain, the condition was classified as a functional disorder. On the other hand, if there were structural changes the condition was classified under the organic brain syndrome. Further steps included narrowing down and final setting of the diagnosis of a specific disease.
Symptoms of Organic Brain Syndrome
Since organic brain syndrome does not represent a single disease, the actual symptoms and signs will vary according to the actual disorder. Many illnesses classified as organic brain syndrome have mutual characteristics. Some of the most common symptoms of organic brain syndrome are confusion, agitation, impairment of cognitive functions, delirium and dementia.
Causes of Organic Brain Syndrome
The syndrome predominantly affects elderly people. Still, it is not age-related. It usually develops as a consequence of brain trauma and/or injuries and exposure to toxins. The syndrome can be classified as acute and chronic. Acute organic brain syndrome most commonly occurs due to intoxication, drug overuse, infections, pain. Chronic organic brain syndrome is long-term and can be a consequence of chronic drug or alcohol abuse or prolonged exposure of the brain to toxins.
Apart from the previously mentioned organic brain syndrome can be associated with many medical conditions such as certain degenerative brain disorders, breathing conditions, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic disorders, endocrine abnormalities, liver diseases, kidney disorders and cardiovascular disorders. In children organic brain disorder affects children suffering from various types of dementia (Niemann-Pick disease, Batten disease and Lafora body disease).
Treatment for Organic Brain Syndrome
The treatment for organic brain syndrome may start only when the particular disease or disorder has been identified. Prior definitive setting of the diagnosis the patient regularly undergoes physical, neurological and psychiatric examination. Imaging techniques such as CT scan and MRI of the brain, electroencephalogram (EEG) and blood tests are also performed. Depending on the underlying disease patients are treated accordingly. Most of the disorders are treated with specific medications. Chronic organic brain syndrome leads to severe loss of brain functions and personality changes which requires proper monitoring and adequate support as well as life- long care of the patients.