Encephalitis

Encephalitis may be caused primarily by a viral disease affecting the brain or can be a complication of bacterial meningitis, septicaemia, or brain abscesses. It can occur after influenza, herpes simplex, measles, rubella infections and also after vaccination. In the acute stage, the patient may present with headache, vomiting, and seizures. Patients may develop a confusional syndrome. In rare cases, the encephalitis may present with predominantly psychiatric symptoms. That is the case of herpesvirus encephalitis, which due to its damage to temporal lobes can cause a serious amnestic syndrome.

In clinical practice, the psychiatrist is more likely to see the complications that appear after the acute episode in the form of anxiety and depressive syndromes, personality change, and dementia. In the early years of life, encephalitides may be followed by behavioural disorders. (!6)

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