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04/28/2022 Daniella Johnson


State of Severe Confusion: Delirium

State of Severe Confusion: Delirium

Mental health is as important as the physical health of a person. Multiple changes occur in the brain every day which makes it difficult to think, remember, sleep, pay attention, and more. One of the similar mental confusion and emotional disruption in the brain causes Delirium. It is a state of severe confusion which causes hallucinations and hyperactivity. This is the result of rapid change in your brain that causes mental confusion and emotional disruption making it difficult to think, remember, sleep, pay attention, and more.

Delirium is the result of a head injury, drug use or withdrawal, poisonings, brain tumors, infections, mental illness, and metabolic disturbances. But sometimes in old age, it can also be caused by urinary tract infection or pneumonia. It sometimes is very common among hospitalized patients which is a result of drugs, dehydration, and infections but can have many other causes.

How can doctors treat Delirium?

What causes Delirium?

Delirium is usually temporary and can be treated effectively. Delirium is categorized on basis of its cause, severity, and characteristics:

  • Delirium tremens: This is a serious type of condition experienced by individuals who are attempting to quit drinking. As a rule, they've been drinking a lot of liquor for a long time.
  • Hyperactive delirium: This is defined as being exceptionally ready and uncooperative.
  • Hypoactive delirium: This is a more common type of delirium. This causes you to rest more, become careless, and disrupted with day to day tasks. You could even miss meals or arrangements.

Various diseases causing inflammation and infection, including pneumonia, might interfere with your brain function. Moreover, taking specific prescriptions, (including, pulse medication) or abusing medications can disturb synthetic substances in the cerebrum.

Alcohol withdrawal and eating or drinking harmful substances can likewise cause ridiculousness.

At the point when you experience difficulty breathing because of asthma or another condition, your cerebrum doesn't get the oxygen it needs. Any condition or component that altogether changes your mental capacity can create serious mental turmoil.

Delirium happens more often in older people and hospitalized patients. “Hospital Delirium” can affect 10% to 30% of those patients.

You might be at high risk of developing delirium, if

  • You have had surgery.
  • You are at the end of life.
  • You are in intensive care units (ICUs).
  • You are over the age of 75 and in nursing homes.
  • You are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • You are diagnosed with cancer.
  • You are on dialysis.
  • You can’t move due to catheters or restraints.
  • You don’t get enough sleep or are dehydrated.
  • You have burned.
  • You have multiple illnesses.
  • You have a chronic condition or take multiple medications.
  • You have Parkinson’s disease, chronic liver disease, or had a stroke.
  • You have trouble hearing or seeing.
  • You suddenly stop using alcohol or drugs (withdrawal).

Causes of Delirium

How can you identify if you have Delirium?

The symptoms of delirium are not same always. They might change over minutes to hours and may worsen or increase overnight. Some common symptoms are - changes in alertness or level of consciousness, confusion, drowsiness, incontinence, delusions, changes in speech, emotional changes, decreases in memory, concentration problems, disorientation, disorganized thinking, and changes in perception. People may experience irritability, agitated, hyperactive, and hyperalert, or they may become quiet, withdrawn, and lethargic. They also experience hallucinations, anxiety, depression as well as poor thinking skills.

Delirium is different from dementia particularly difficult to distinguish but delirium frequently occurs in people with dementia. Doctors use the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) to diagnose delirium.

Symptoms of hyperactive delirium include:

  • Acting disoriented.
  • Anxiety.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Rambling.
  • Rapid changes in emotion.
  • Restlessness.
  • Trouble concentrating.

Symptoms of hypoactive delirium include:

  • Apathy.
  • Decreased responsiveness.
  • Flat affect.
  • Laziness.
  • Withdrawal.

Recovering from Delirium

Is delirium the same as dementia?

Delirium and dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease) have some similarities, but they are not the same. Delirium usually influences your quality to be attention, whereas dementia affects your memory.

Delirium begins suddenly and is temporary. Whereas, dementia is long-term or chronic confusion that begins gradually worsening over time.

But, someone can have both delirium and dementia. It is important to seek care quickly someone around you, especially one with dementia, begins to show symptoms of delirium.

Symptoms of Delirium

How do Doctors Confirm Delirium?

Your doctor would look for problems related to attention, memory, orientation, and visual ability. They would ask you to perform a few simple tasks, like spelling a short word backward or solving a basic math problem.

Your healthcare provider may diagnose delirium if you:

  • Can’t focus or shift attention.
  • Has changes in thinking.
  • Has a rapid onset of thinking problems, which may change throughout the day.

For this, your doctor may perform physical tests along with the above tests, including:

  • Blood test.
  • Urine test.
  • Imaging tests, including chest X-ray, CT, or MRI scan.

How can doctors treat Delirium?

Treatment of delirium depends on the cause of the issue. It is important to correct the cause as well as remove the aggravating factors of the problem. Doctors suggest proper nutritional requirements like thiamin or vitamin B12 in the diet. If delirium is caused by a medical condition like asthma, bacterial infection, etc. doctors prescribe medications to treat the underlying causes.

The treatment options may include:

  • Antibiotics for infections.
  • Fluids and electrolytes for dehydration.
  • Benzodiazepines for problems due to drug and alcohol withdrawal.

It is important that people get good sleep habits, remain calm and well-oriented, and prevent medical problems or other complications that might worsen the condition. Controlling these may help stabilize the mental state.

Counseling is likewise utilized as a treatment for individuals whose delirium was welcomed by medication or alcohol use. In these cases, the treatment can assist you with keeping away from utilizing the substances that are welcomed in delirium.

Can Delirium be prevented?

Treating the circumstances that can cause delirium might decrease the gamble of getting it. Medical clinics can assist with bringing down the gamble of delirium by staying away from narcotics and ensuring that the room is stayed silent, quiet, and sufficiently bright. It can likewise assist with having relatives around and have similar staff individuals treat the individual.

Recovering from Delirium

Delirium indicates an abrupt change in mental status, which can bring about disarray, memory issues, or changes in an individual's passionate state or condition of awareness. People can recover completely from delirium if treatment is started on time and followed properly. It might take weeks for the person to recover completely as well as think, speak, and feel physically like their old self.

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If you or anyone you know is suffering from a from delirium, our expert providers at Specialty Care Clinics will take care of your health and help you recover.

Call us on (469) 545-9983 to book an appointment with our specialists.

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