Organic disorders

The central clinical feature of most organic psychiatric disorders is impaired cognitive functioning. Cerebral dysfunction can however also cause organic mood states, personality change as well as organic psychotic and even neurotic states. The cerebral dysfunction may be caused by a disruption of brain structures or by alterations in neurophysiology. A vast array of medical and surgical conditions are capable of producing this disruption, they may be systemic or originate within the brain.

The disorders most frequently seen by psychiatrists are the neurodegenerative conditions associated with brain ageing which cause the chronic organic brain syndrome of the dementias (dealt with in the Psychiatry of Old Age section). Delirium, an acute organic brain syndrome is frequently encountered amongst medical and surgical inpatients.


Organic psychiatric disorders handout (.pdf)

Link to blog posts featuring organic psychiatric disorders

Internal video resources
Cognitive testing with the MMSE

She couldn’t remember…”: Delirium

Delirium: Essential Facts – a slideshow lecture

External links
— A project by Gus Cummins where he strives to share some of the sensations of his temporal lobe seizures, episodes which leave him without language or memory (temporarily dysphasic and amnesic) yet still (partially) cognitive. He constructs choreographic maps of his movement during seizures using medical video. The soundtrack is intended to convey the quasi spiritual feeling typical of his seizures and the distorted receptive language of dysphasia.

— A 5 minute film in which the patient concerned had a post operative delirium and made a good recovery. He has a high degree of insight into the experience of delirium. The clip highlights the distressing nature of delirium and intensity of the symptoms. Furthermore¬† it draws atttention to the impact of good quality nursing care and the need to recognise the symptoms of delirium.

The neurologist Oliver Sacks in a series of three videos about Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3: