Oligophrenia is a congenital or early acquired dementia, expressed in the underdevelopment of the intellect and psyche as a whole. Oligophrenia is not a progressive process, but a consequence of an illness. The degree of mental insufficiency is quantified using an intellectual coefficient according to standard psychological tests. Oligophrenia is not often accompanied by malformations of physical development.

Causes of oligophrenia

    • hereditary factors, including the pathology of the generative cells of the parents (this group of oligophrenia includes Down’s disease, true microcephaly, enzymopathic forms);
    • intrauterine damage to the embryo and fetus (hormonal disorders, rubella and other viral infections, congenital syphilis, toxoplasmosis);
    • harmful factors of the perinatal period and the first 3 years of life (asphyxia of the fetus and newborn, birth trauma, immunological incompatibility of the blood of the mother and fetus – conflict over the Rh factor, head injuries in early childhood, childhood infections, congenital hydrocephalus).

The severity of oligophrenia oligophrenia

Idiocy is the deepest degree of oligophrenia, characterized by an almost complete absence of speech and thinking. Idiots do not have meaningful activity. Emotional life is exhausted by primitive reactions of pleasure and displeasure. In some, viciously angry outbursts predominate, while in others, lethargy and indifference to everything around them. Idiots utter only separate sounds and words, often do not understand the speech of others, do not distinguish relatives from strangers. They do not have basic self-care skills, they cannot eat on their own, sometimes they do not even chew food, they are untidy, they need constant care and supervision.

Imbecility is the degree of oligophrenia of moderate severity. Imbeciles understand the speech of others, they themselves can pronounce short phrases. Some imbeciles are able to perform elementary counting operations, learn the simplest labor skills and self-service skills. Emotions of imbeciles are more differentiated, they are attached to relatives, adequately respond to praise or censure. The thinking of imbeciles is primitive, they are devoid of initiative, inert, suggestible, easily lost when the situation changes, they need constant supervision and care.

Debility is the mildest degree of dementia. Morons traditionally graduate from an auxiliary school, are able to lead an independent life. The concrete-descriptive type of thinking prevails in them, while the ability to abstract is almost absent. Some morons with a delay in general mental development and low productivity of thinking are characterized by partial giftedness (excellent mechanical or visual memory, the ability to perform complex arithmetic operations in the mind, etc.). Among morons, there are eretic (excitable), lethargic, apathetic, viciously stubborn, vindictive and torpid (inhibited).

The main symptoms of oligophrenia

With all the variety of clinical forms of oligophrenia, there are signs of mental underdevelopment common to all patients. Firstly, dementia covers not only the underdevelopment of the cognitive process, but also the personality as a whole, i.e. perception, memory, attention, speech, motor skills, emotions, will, thinking and intellect suffer. Secondly, the leading role in the structure of a mental defect belongs to the insufficiency of abstract thinking, the improbability of generalization. Thinking concrete, figurative, situational. Speech is characterized by a poor vocabulary, an elementary construction of a phrase, and illiteracy. Attention and memory are generally weakened, although mechanical memory is well developed with selective memorization, for example, phone numbers, surnames, numbers. Patients have a reduced level of motives and initiatives. The immaturity of the personality is manifested in increased suggestibility without a logical understanding of the situation, improbability to make an adequate decision in ordinary everyday situations, insufficient criticality to one’s condition. Physical development also proceeds with a delay. The degree of delay and the severity of malformations depend on the degree of dementia.

Treatment of oligophrenia

Specific therapy is carried out for certain types of oligophrenia with an established etiology (congenital syphilis, toxoplasmosis, etc.); with oligophrenia associated with metabolic disorders (phenylketonuria, etc.), diet therapy is prescribed; with endocrinopathies (cretinism, myxedema) – hormonal treatment. To stimulate mental activity, piracetam, aminalon (gammalon), as well as other psychoactive drugs and vitamins of group B are used. Drugs are also prescribed to correct affective lability and suppress perverted cravings (neuleptil, phenazepam, sonapax). Of great importance for compensating for an oligophrenic defect are medical and educational measures, labor training and professional adaptation.

In the rehabilitation and social adaptation of oligophrenics, along with health authorities, auxiliary schools, boarding schools, specialized vocational schools, workshops for the mentally retarded, etc. play a role.

Prevention of oligophrenia

Prevention of some hereditary forms of oligophrenia begins during pregnancy: examination of pregnant women to detect syphilis, toxoplasmosis, Rh-negative factor in the blood; prevention of pregnant women with rubella and other viral infections; skilled care during childbirth, as well as the prevention of injuries and severe infections in newborns and young babies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *