Amnestic syndrome

Amnestic syndrome

Amnestic syndrome is a mental disorder that occurs as a result of organic damage to the brain and is characterized by severe memory impairment. Most often noted in alcoholism (a consequence of vitamin B deficiency). Etiology. Amnestic disorder can be caused by any pathological process that damages the diencephalic and medial temporal structures (eg, mastoid bodies, hippocampus, fornix). Transient amnestic syndrome: epilepsy, cardiovascular insufficiency, benzodiazepine and barbiturate abuse. Permanent amnestic syndrome: TBI, carbon monoxide poisoning, hermetic encephalitis.

Classification and clinical picture

    • Amnestic syndrome due to somatic and/or neurological disease
    • Memory disorders (anterograde, retrograde, fixative amnesia, confabulations) that appear not only against the background of delirium or dementia
    • Disorientation in place, time, and self
    • Critical ability reduction
    • Emotional-volitional disorders (apathy, emotional flatness, lack of initiative)
    • The disorder is directly related to a somatic and/or neurological disease
    • Korsakov psychosis. The disorder is caused by a deficiency of B vitamins, especially thiamine. The prognosis is unfavorable in the development of Wernicke’s encephalopathy, the main manifestations of which are delirium, nystagmus, ophthalmoplegia, ataxia. The course is traditionally subacute, probably acute or chronic.

Differential diagnosis is aimed at identifying the cause of amnesia

    • Systemic somatic diseases
    • hypoglycemia
    • Primary disease (lesion) of the brain
    • Epilepsy temporal
    • TBI
    • Tumors
    • Cerebrovascular diseases (atherosclerosis, strokes)
    • Surgical interventions
    • Hypoxia (including hypoxia from attempted hanging or carbon monoxide poisoning)
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Herpetic encephalitis
    • Intoxications: carbon monoxide, isoniazid, arsenic, lead
    • Psychotropic substances
    • Alcohol
    • neurotoxins
    • Sedatives
    • Mental disorders
    • Dementia
    • Delirium
    • Psychogenic amnesia.

Treatment is etiotropic and symptomatic.

Current and forecast. In most cases, the course is chronic.


  • Korsakov’s syndrome
  • Korsakov’s psychosis
  • Alcoholic amnestic syndrome See also Alcoholism, Wernicke’s Encephalopathy ICD. F04 Organic amnestic syndrome not caused by alcohol or other psychoactive substances

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