Neurocognitive disorder

  • Definition
    • 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.

  • Alternative Names
    • Organic mental disorder (OMS); Organic brain syndrome

  • Causes
  • Symptoms
    • Symptoms can differ based on the disease. In general, organic brain syndromes cause:

  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment
    • 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.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Some disorders are short-term and treatable. But many are long-term or get worse over time.

  • Possible Complications
    • 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.
  • References
    • 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.