Diagnostic Criteria

A. A marked change in behavior or personality involving at least one of the following:

  1. emotional lability, e.g., explosive temper outbursts, sudden crying
  2. impairment in impulse control, e.g., poor social judgment, sexual indiscretions, shoplifting
  3. marked apathy and indifference, e.g., no interest in usual hobbies
  4. suspiciousness or paranoid ideation

B. No clouding of consciousness, as in Delirium; no significant loss of intellectual abilities, as in Dementia; no predominant disturbance of mood, as in Organic Affective Syndrome; no predominant delusions or hallucinations, as in Organic Delusional Syndrome or Organic Hallucinosis.

C. Evidence, from the history, physical examination, or laboratory tests, of a specific organic factor that is judged to be etiologically related to the disturbance.

D. This diagnosis is not given to a child or adolescent if the clinical picture is limited to the features that characterize Attention Deficit Disorder.

Differential Diagnosis


In Dementia, personality change is but one facet of an overall syndrome that also includes significant loss of intellectual abilities. Occasionally, personality change may be the first sign of an organic brain syndrome that will eventually evolve into Dementia. In these instances the initial diagnosis of Organic Personality Syndrome will have to be changed to Dementia as intellectual deficits increase and become the predominant feature.

Organic Affective Syndrome

In Organic Affective Syndrome there may be a personality change, but a mood disturbance is the predominant clinical feature.

Attention Deficit Disorder

When Attention Deficit Disorder develops in a child or adolescent and is due to a specific organic factor, such as a known neurological disease, the additional diagnosis of Organic Personality Syndrome should not be made if the disturbance is limited to an impairment of impulse control and attention.

Schizophrenia, Paranoid Disorders, Affective Disorders, and Disorders of Impulse Control Not Elsewhere Classified

In Schizophrenia, Paranoid Disorders, Affective Disorders, and Disorders of Impulse Control Not Elsewhere Classified, marked personality changes may occur. In these disorders, however, no specific organic factor is judged etiologically related to the personality change.


As of DSM-IV, this disorder is no longer part of the DSM.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.