Neurocognitive disorderOrganic mental disorder (OMS); Organic brain syndrome
Neurocognitive disorder 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 .
Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior.
Listed below are conditions associated with neurocognitive disorder.
BRAIN INJURY CAUSED BY TRAUMA
- Bleeding into the brain (intracerebral hemorrhage)
- Bleeding into the space around the brain ( subarachnoid hemorrhage )
- Blood clot inside the skull causing pressure on brain ( subdural hematoma )
- Low oxygen in the body (hypoxia)
- High carbon dioxide level in the body (hypercapnia)
- Dementia due to many strokes ( multi-infarct dementia )
Heart infections (
Endocarditis is inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium). It is caused by a bacterial or, rarely a fun...
- Transient ischemic attack ( TIA )
- Alzheimer disease (also called senile dementia, Alzheimer type)
- Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease
- Diffuse Lewy Body disease
- Huntington disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus
- Parkinson disease
- Pick disease
DEMENTIA DUE TO METABOLIC CAUSES
Dementia is loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Dementia due to metabolic causes is a loss of brain function that can occur wit...
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
Thyroid disease (
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. The condition is often called overactive thyroid.
- Vitamin deficiency (B1, B12, or folate)
DRUG AND ALCOHOL-RELATED CONDITIONS
- Alcohol withdrawal state
- Intoxication from drug or alcohol use
(a long-term effect of excessive alcohol consumption or
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a brain disorder due to vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency.
- Withdrawal from drugs (especially sedative-hypnotics and corticosteroids)
- Any sudden onset (acute) or long-term (chronic) infection
- Blood poisoning ( septicemia )
- Brain infection ( encephalitis )
- Meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)
- Prion infections, such as mad cow disease
- Late-stage syphilis
Complications of cancer can also lead to neurocognitive disorder.
Other conditions that may mimic organic brain syndrome include:
Symptoms can differ based on the disease. In general, organic brain syndromes cause:
- Long-term loss of brain function ( dementia )
- Severe, short-term loss of brain function ( delirium )
Exams and Tests
Tests depend on the disorder, but may include:
Treatment depends on the underlying condition. Many conditions are treated mainly with rehabilitation and supportive care to help the person with activities lost due to areas where brain function is affected.
Medicines 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 neurocognitive disorder often lose the ability to interact with others or function on their own.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:
- You have been diagnosed with organic brain syndrome and you are uncertain about the exact disorder.
- You have symptoms of this condition.
- You have been diagnosed with neurocognitive disorder and your symptoms become worse.
Beck BJ, Tompkins KJ. Mental disorders due to another medical condition. In: Stern TA, Fava M, Wilens TE, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry . 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 21.
Douglas VC, Josephson SA. Dementia and systemic disease. In: Aminoff MJ, ed. Aminoff's Neurology and General Medicine . 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:chap 61.
Review Date: 2/27/2016
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.