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Organic brain syndromes
ICD-10 F069
ICD-9 310.9
OMIM [1]
DiseasesDB 9266
MedlinePlus 001401
eMedicine emerg/345
MeSH {{{MeshNumber}}}

Organic brain syndrome is a general term referring to many acute and chronic physical disorders that cause impaired mental function. It does not usually include psychiatric disorders. Though OBS is a common diagnosis in the elderly, it is related to disease processes and is not an inevitable part of aging.

Acute organic brain syndrome is an often temporary state of mental impairment, recently appearing as a result of intoxication, drug overdose, infection, pain, and many other physical problems affecting mental status. A more specific medical term for the acute subset of organic brain syndromes, is delirium.

Organic brain syndrome can also have a chronic cause with chronic exposure to a toxin. For example some forms of chronic drug or alcohol dependence can cause organic brain syndrome due to their toxic effects on brain function.[1]

Associated conditionsEdit

Disorders that cause injury or damage to the brain and contribute to OBS include, but are not limited to:

Other conditions that may be related to organic brain syndrome include: clinical depression, neuroses, and psychoses, which may occur simultaneously with the OBS.


Symptoms of OBS vary with the disease that is responsible. However, the more common symptoms of OBS are confusion; impairment of memory, judgment, and intellectual function; and agitation. Often these symptoms are attributed to psychiatric illness, which causes a difficulty in diagnosis.


Treatment of OBS varies with the causative disorder or disease. It is important to note that it is not a primary diagnosis and a cause needs to be sought out and treated.

Other namesEdit

  • Chronic organic brain syndrome
  • OBS
  • Organic mental disorder

See alsoEdit


  1. Luderer HJ, Schulz M, Mayer M (November 1995). [Long-term administration of benzodiazepines--disease follow-up, sequelae, treatment. A retrospective clinical record evaluation of 194 patients]. Psychiatr Prax 22 (6): 231–4.

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