Bradipsychia: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

The decline in cognitive functioning is manifested by a general decline in intellectual functions.

In the field of neurology, it is seen in all conditions that touch on the general level of cortical activity.

Particularly during attacks of the basal ganglia (such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease), or after some encephalitis, the aftermath of carbon monoxide poisoning or severe head injury, to psychic viscosity of the epileptics.

In psychiatry, it is found especially in severe depressive states, especially melancholy and mental confusion.

In the concept of bradypsychia, cognitive processes develop more slowly than normal thoughts.

However, bradypsychia defines a pathological quality in which thinking is unusually slowed down due to the presence of a particular disorder or brain damage .

People do not usually have memory loss due to bradypsychia or other cognitive abilities, but simply clearly slowed-down thought processes.

Causes of bradypsychia

The poor functioning of the subcortical regions of the brain is what causes bradypsychia.

Therefore, as the upper or cortical areas are preserved, the content of thought is generally unaffected.

Some conditional conditions of bradypsychia are:

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the main neurodegenerative disorder that progressively and chronically produces a variety of changes in cognitive processes.

The main manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease have nothing to do with slow thinking, because the disease first affects the cortical regions of the brain.

But later symptoms such as bradypsychia occur.

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is caused by the appearance of vascular lesions in certain regions of the brain.

Bradypsychia occurs when the subcortical areas that regularly cause the symptom are in common with those that caused the vascular dementia to the microinfarction.

Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease causes mental and motor disorders to progress slowly for about 15 to 20 years.

In particular, there are main groups of symptoms such as: subcortical signs of deterioration and bradypsychia, presence of frontal deterioration characteristics and the aphasic-apraxo agnosic sign.

Parkinson’s disease

This disease presents typical signs such as tremor and slow movements.

This slowness also affects the cognitive areas, and therefore causes bradypsychia and other subcortical worsening of mental processes.

The Depression

An alteration in the processes of attention, concentration and thought causes depression.

In this psychological condition, all these aspects are not permanently damaged, but they will often be slower than normal, with bradypsychia appearing.

Substance abuse

There are many substances that cause a delay in cognitive abilities and are positively related to the appearance of bradypsychia (alcoholism, carbon monoxide poisoning, among others).


Severe head injury may include manifestations of bradypsychia.

Symptoms of bradypsychia

Psychomotor retardation is defined as the loss of vital impulse. This mainly causes a psychomotor inhibition that translates into a reduction in activities, as well as a decrease in performance, linked to asthenia, or physical and mental fatigue.

The intellectual slowdown is manifested by a slowness of ideation, or bradypsychia with a bland or monoidism.

Nesting is an absence of the total idea, while the term monoidism refers to the persistence of a very simple content idea.

The subject is sometimes unable to make a decision, which implies an interruption of executive functions.

He suffers from apathy with a loss of will or the inability to act despite the will due to a lack of energy.

The subject’s speech is characterized by its poverty, a deceleration of the verbal flow with greater response latency.

The patient may suffer from memory, attention and concentration problems.

Finally, he may underestimate the passage of time in relation to impaired judgment and memory disturbances.

Psychomotor retardation is manifested by vital asthenia. The term asthenia is a decrease in strength, fatigue.

The movements of the individuals are slow and rare, sometimes we will speak of amimia, which corresponds to the loss of expression of the gestures and the voice of the subject can be monotonous and of low intensity.

Ultimately, this translates into neglect to carry out personal or environmental hygiene.

In general, the subject can present a psychomotor decline going as far as the inability to act.

Diagnosis of bradypsychia

Psychiatric diagnoses are common in memory units.

The complete diagnosis generally requires a careful medical history and a neuropsychological examination followed by a clear joint explanation to the patient.

There are no good validated clinical signs to distinguish organic memory complaints from psychological disorders, but a nonorganic pattern, as seen in somatic conversion disorder, may suggest a “cognitive-form” disorder.

Cognitive doubt is a frequent symptom of anxiety. Bradypsychia is a common symptom of depression. .

In the memory unit, listening carefully to determine the psychic, somatic and social situation of each individual patient appears to be as important as assessing cognition.

The neurologist can rule out organic disorders and determine the precise etiology to construct a rationale for treatment. The neurologist can also avoid excessive consumption of complementary examinations.

Treatment of bradypsychia

Bradypsychia is a symptom, so treatment is aimed at the pathologies that cause it.

In some cases, such as depression, the cognitive decline of the disease disappears when the individual overcomes the crisis.

When bradypsychia is caused by chronic conditions, the symptom can only be lessened.