Organic brain syndrome (OBS) is a general term that describes decreased mental function due to a medical disease other than a psychiatric illness. It is often used synonymously (but incorrectly) with dementia.
Listed below are disorders associated with OBS.
Brain injury caused by trauma
Drug and alcohol-related conditions
Complications of cancer can also lead to OBS.
Other conditions that may mimic organic brain syndrome include:
Symptoms can differ based on the disease. In general, organic brain syndromes cause:
Tests depend on the disorder, but may include:
Treatment depends on the disorder. Many of the disorders are treated mainly with rehabilitation and supportive care to assist the person in areas where brain function is lost.
Medications may be needed to reduce aggressive behaviors that can occur with some of the conditions.
Some disorders are short-term and treatable, but many are long-term or get worse over time.
People with OBS often lose the ability to interact with others or function on their own.
Call your health care provider if:
OBS; Organic mental disorder (OMS); Chronic organic brain syndrome
Apostolova LG, DeKosky ST, Cummings JL. Dementias. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 66.
Knopman DS. Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 409.
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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