Organic Mental Disorders

  • Gerald Goldstein


The organic mental disorders are not a single entity, but rather, constitute a collection of syndromes that have in common the fact that they are caused by some presumed or established impairment of brain function. They are basically brain disorders or diseases produced by pathological agents that may impair any organ of the body. Thus, the major known bases for the organic mental disorders are such processes as trauma, infection, cancer, compromise of cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary function, toxicity produced by metabolic or exogenous agents, nutritional deficiencies, degenerative processes of only partially understood or unknown causation, and genetic and developmental deviations. Some of these disorders are at least partially reversible, some are stable once acquired, and some are slowly or rapidly progressive. Inclusion of all of these disorders under a single heading has been controversial in medicine, but the intent of doing so was to systematically characterize the abnormalities of behavior these disorders produce. Thus, to be an organic mental disorder or syndrome, the illness must in some way be directly related to abnormal behavior. In that these disorders are all also neurological diseases, the disciplines of neurology, neurosurgery, and other neurosciences share an interest in patients with such disorders. Thus, the assessment, treatment, and management of organic disorders is typically interdisciplinary in nature.


Multiple Sclerosis Neuropsychological Assessment Fetal Alcohol Syndrome General Medical Condition Organic Mental Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Psychiatric Association (1987). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 3rd Edition, Revised. Washington DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association (1993). DSM-ÎV draft criteria. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Blass, J. P., & Gibson, G. E. (1977). Abnormality of a thiamine-requiring enzyme in patients with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine, 297, 1367–1370.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Heilman, K. M., & Valenstein, E. (Eds.). (1985). Clinical neuropsychology (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Kolb, B., & Wishaw, I. Q. (1980). Fundamentals of human neuropsychology. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  6. Levin, H. S., Benton, A. L., & Grossman, R. G. (1982). Neurobehavioral consequences of closed head injury. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Mesulam, M. M. (1985). Principles of behavioral neurology. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company.Google Scholar
  8. Walsh, K. W. (1978). Neuropsychology. New York: Churchill Livingstone/Longman.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Goldstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Highland Drive VA HospitalPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations