Bradypsychia is the term used to describe a condition where people experience slowed thinking and movement. It is named after Dr. Henry Maudsley who first described the symptoms in 1879.

People with bradypsychia have slower cognitive function with a slower thought process. Thought processes that are slightly slower than normal but do not adversely affect the person are not included in the term bradypsychia.

It is often accompanied by a decrease in motor activity. 

Bradypsychia is opposed to tachypsychia, which is characterized by the presence of excessively high and rapid thinking.

Bradypsychia is a condition that often appears in diseases that affect cognitive functions, such as dementia or schizophrenia.

Characteristics of bradypsychia

Bradypsychia is a thought disorder defined by an exaggerated slowness in cognitive processes.

Bradipsiquia is derived from the Greek words ‘bradi,’ which means slow, and ‘psiquia,’ which means spirit.

In this sense, bradypsychia is not used to denote a slightly subnormal thought process.

Bradypsychia is not related to the intellectual level that each person presents, but defines a pathological quality in which thought is abnormally slowed down due to the presence of a certain alteration or brain injury.

Related diseases

Bradypsychia is a disorder caused by damage or impairment to the subcortical regions of the brain.

In this way, since the upper or cortical areas are preserved, the thought content is generally unaffected.

People with bradypsychia generally exhibit significantly slow thinking processes, but have no loss of memory or other cognitive abilities.

However, this is not always the case, as the onset of bradypsychia depends on the underlying disease or disorder. Thus, depending on the pathology causing the symptom, bradypsychia may appear alongside other alterations and manifestations.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the main neurodegenerative pathology, which generates a wide variety of alterations in cognitive processes.

The main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are not associated with slow thinking, because the pathology first affects the cortical regions of the brain.

Therefore, the onset of the disease is usually associated with learning difficulties, memory loss or deterioration of cognitive functions such as attention, executive functions or orientation.

However, over time, the disease begins to affect all regions of the brain. Therefore, it is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease that bradypsychia appears.

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia encompasses a variety of pathologies characterized by the appearance of a dementia syndrome due to vascular lesions in regions of the brain.

The presence of bradypsychia will depend on which areas of the brain are damaged. These disorders often affect subcortical regions and frequently include bradypsychia among the symptoms.

Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease is a severe, hereditary and degenerative neurological disease.

The disorder causes psychic and motor changes that progress slowly over about 15 to 20 years. Specifically, three main groups of symptoms have been proposed.

The first would consist of signs of subcortical deterioration and would include bradypsychia. The second is the presence of signs of frontal deterioration such as impairments in mental or written arithmetic, and the third includes praxic disturbances.

Parkinson disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to progressive disability due to the destruction of substantia nigra neurons.

The most typical symptoms of this pathology are the motor, through the typical tremors and slowness of movement caused by Parkinson’s disease.

The slowness of movement caused by this disease also usually extends to cognitive areas, producing bradypsychia and deterioration of other subcortical mental processes.


Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that generates a variety of manifestations. Among them is alogy, an alteration that characterizes a series of cognitive dysfunctions caused by the disease.

The cognitive impairments of schizophrenia can be very varied and of all the symptoms, bradypsychia is one of the most important.


In recent years, research has grown and focused on the study of cognitive alterations that can lead to mood disorders.

In the case of depression, it is likely that mood disorders can generate alterations in attention, concentration and thought processes. All of these processes seem undamaged but are often slower than normal.

Chronic alcoholism

Finally, although there are many substances that can slow people’s cognitive functioning, alcoholism seems to be linked to the occurrence of bradypsychia.


Bradypsychia is a specific symptom that appears as a manifestation of a specific disease.

Its treatment must therefore be based on the treatment of the underlying pathology.

In some cases, such as depression, the cognitive alterations caused by the pathology may disappear when the disorder is reversed.