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What is organic dementia?

Updated February 21, 2017

Organic dementia or dementia describes loss of social skills, rationality, memory, intellect and normal emotional reactions. Not a normal part of the ageing process, most people with dementia are mature in age, although dementia can happen to anybody according the to Australia Government website JobAccess.

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Affecting mostly the elderly, dementia is a progressive, permanent disease according to the website PsychNet-UK. Organic dementia affects decision making, problem-solving abilities, judgment, ability to put together simple sentences, communicate and understand with words and is often associated with personality change. Requiring mostly 24/7 care, people with dementia are unable to care for themselves. Symptoms of dementia can also include difficulty walking, lack of bladder control, lethargy and emotional ups and downs.


Although Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases are the most common cause of organic dementia, there are a number of other causes including multi-infarct disease a vascular disorder or infections that affect the central nervous system. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and the HIV virus, certain types of hydrocephalus (an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain), depression and chronic drug use are some examples of infections of the central nervous system according to the website psychnet-uk.com. Organic dementia should be properly diagnosed as there are some partially treatable or treatable forms of the disease.

Vascular Organic Dementia

A blockage of arteries, small blood vessels, within the brain is the most common type of vascular dementia according to the website psychnet-uk.com. An infarct is caused when any part of the body is deprived of blood, which carries nutrients and oxygen, such blockages may due to plaque build-up inside the arterial wall or broken off clots clogging the arteries. Abnormal heart rhythms or other heart pathology can cause these clots which can also form on the inside of the carotid arteries that supply the brain and are located on the side of the neck.


Caused by strokes, the vascular dementia risk factors include diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure and heart disease. Treatment to prevent strokes or an additional stroke is very important even though damage already done cannot be reversed. Normal pressure hydrocephalus, dementia due to metabolic causes and brain tumours are treatable causes of organic dementia, however dementia disorders are still generally degenerative, progressive and irreversible conditions according to the website psychnet-uk.com.

Curable Dementia

There are some types of dementia that are curable according to the website wrongdiagnosis.com. Some of these types include dementia due to folate deficiency, hypercalcemia, hypoglycaemia, hypothyroidism, B1 deficiency and cardiovascular disease. The various types of dementia include the most common being Alzheimer’s, but also Binswanger’s disease (cerebrovascular lesions in the brain’s white matter), Pick’s disease (slowly progressive deterioration of social skills and changes in personality), Multi-Infarct Dementia (blood clots in the brain and strokes) and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (a neurodegenerative disease).

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.

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