Delirium

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Delirium is a common and severe condition that can include sudden severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function that occur with physical or mental illness. Dr. Edward Hill discusses delirium in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Delirium is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of your environment. The start of delirium is usually rapid within hours or a few days.

Delirium also changes basic mental functions such as memory impairment, disorientation to time or place and language disturbance. There also may be disturbances of perception such as hallucinations, abnormal speech, abnormal movements, disruptive or violent behavior and sudden shifts in emotions.

Delirium can often be traced to one or more contributing factors, such as a severe or chronic illness, medication, infection, or alcohol or drug withdrawal.

Because symptoms of delirium and dementia can be similar, input from a family member or caregiver may be important for a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.

In cases of delirium, the signs and symptoms must have a short onset and change over the course of the day. It is important to make a clear distinction between delirium and dementia. Identifying and treating the underlying cause of delirium is essential.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.