Home Disorders Brain Disorders Delirium



The alternative names of delirium are Acute confusional state and Acute brain syndrome. Delirium is sudden severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function that occur with physical or mental illness. Delirium is an abnormal mental state and not the disease. People who are cued with delirium need immediate medical attention.

Delirium affects t one in out of 10 hospitalized patients. Delirium occurs at any stage of age but is more common among older people. Delirium affects 15 to 50% of people aged 70 or older.

Causes of Delirium

Researchers pointed out an exact cause of delirium. Usually main factors play important role to cause the delirium.

  • Many disorders and drugs can cause to the delirium such as Drugs with anticholinergic effects, Corticosteroids and Amphetamines and cocaine, which are stimulants.
  • Drug intoxication is a main cause of delirium.
  • After sugary delirium is very common. It causes due to stress of surgery, the anesthetics used during surgery and the pain relievers used after surgery.
  • Infection., alcohol withdrawal and metabolic changes due to blood loss, dehydration, heart disease also causes to the delirium.
  • Antipsychotics, Antidepressants and Urinary medications causes to the delirium.

Symptoms of Delirium

The sign and symptoms of the delirium are as follows -

  • Changes in movement
  • Disorientation to time or place
  • Changes in sleep patterns and awaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Decrease in short-term memory and recall

Diagnosis of Delirium

The diagnosis of delirium is based on observed changes in the mental state. Several formal equipments help to diagnose and monitor the clinical course of delirium. Some test like CT scan, MRI scan, EEG, ECG and blood test are used to diagnosed the delirium. The symptoms also help to diagnosed the delirium easily. Diagnosis of delirium take place by testing the nervous system.

Treatment of Delirium

Treatment of delirium is achieved by treating the underlying dysfunction cause in many cases. Symptomatic treatment of delirium is necessary to make a patient comfortable.

  • Supportive care - Supportive care prevents complications. A number of simple, nondrug methods give the support to the delirium such as open blinds during the day, a calm, comfortable environment that includes clocks, calendars and familiar objects, regular verbal reminders of location and what's happening, involvement of family members and avoidance of changes in surrounding and caregivers.
  • Medication - Drug treatment only for people who are very agitated. The drug antipsychotic medication which is e helpful in treating the disorganized thinking that accompanies delirium. Benzodiazepines are help to treat delirium which is associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Preventions of Delirium

Treating the conditions that cause delirium can reduce its risk. The most successful approach to prevent the delirium is to reduce the risk factors. There are some strategies which help to prevent delirium are as follows -

  • Stimulating activities
  • Minimal use of psychoactive drugs
  • Simple communication about current place and time

What is the prognosis of Delirium?

Acute conditions that cause delirium develops with chronic disorders that cause dementia. Delirium is only about 1 week, or it may take several weeks for mental function to return to normal levels. Full recovery is common delirium. In r some patients the cognitive effects of delirium resolve very slowly and some time not at all.