What is it?

Organic personality disorder defines the personality or behavioral changes caused by any medical condition which is not psychiatric. The most common cause of organic personality disorder is a traumatic brain injury, such as after a motor accident or a fall from high altitude. Other causes include brain tumors, Huntington dementia, or any other disease affecting the brain. Frontal lobe syndrome is a specific condition focusing on the changes caused by damage to the brain’s frontal area.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Cognitive changes due to general medical condition
- Enduring personality change after catastrophic experience

Signs & symptoms

Patients with organic personality disorder can present various signs and symptoms, depending on the specific brain area damaged and its severity and extent. Symptoms may include:
- Unstable emotional expressions, for example, crying and laughing interchangeably.
- Impulsive or sexual behavior.
- Psychosis - a reality distortion where the patients might hear, see or believe things that aren’t real.
- Changes in character – patients may become irritated, angry, paranoid, etc.
- Cognitive changes, such as memory problems and language difficulties.
- Aggressive behavior that may damage the patients’ relationships.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made via different tests and evaluations to identify the cause and exclude other possible medical factors, including:
- Blood tests.
- Radiology tests – such as brain CT or MRI.
- Psychiatric and neurologic assessments conducted by specialized physicians. This assessment includes questioning, physical exams, cognitive exams, and other tests that might exclude other diseases or conditions.

Treatment

Organic personality disorder treatment depends on the symptoms and the disorder’s cause. It includes psychotherapy, such as psychological therapy and behavioral therapy, combined with medical treatment, including anti-depressant drugs, mood-stabilizing drugs, and antipsychotic drugs.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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