Delirium

Delirium or acute confusional state is a common and severe neuropsychiatric syndrome with core features of acute onset and fluctuating course, attentional deficits and generalized severe disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal (hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed), perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions. It is often caused by a disease process outside the brain, such as infection (urinary tract infection, pneumonia) or drug effects, particularly anticholinergics or other CNS depressants (benzodiazepines and opioids). Although hallucinations and delusions are sometimes present, these are not required for the diagnosis, and the symptoms of delirium are clinically distinct from those induced by psychosis or hallucinogens (with the exception of deliriants.)

Delirium itself is not a disease, but rather a clinical syndrome (a set of symptoms), which result from an underlying disease or new problem with mentation. Like its components (inability to focus attention, mental confusion and various impairments in awareness and temporal and spatial orientation), delirium is simply the common symptomatic manifestation of early brain or mental dysfunction (for any reason). Without careful assessment, delirium can easily be confused with a number of psychiatric disorders because many of the signs and symptoms are conditions present in dementia, depression, and psychosis.

Treatment of delirium requires treatment of the underlying causes. In some cases, temporary or palliative or symptomatic treatments are used to comfort patients or to allow better patient management (for example, a patient who, without understanding, is trying to pull out a ventilation tube that is required for survival). Delirium is probably the single most common acute disorder affecting adults in general hospitals. It affects 10-20% of all hospitalized adults, and 30-40% of elderly hospitalized patients and up to 80% of ICU patients.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

First vaccine developed against grass pollen allergy

Around 400 million people worldwide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis), with the usual symptoms of runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. In collaboration with the Viennese firm ...

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...