Delirium is a condition when the person faces abrupt confusion and emotional disruption due to changes in the brain. In such a condition, it becomes tough to think properly, pay attention to the regular day-to-day functioning and remember important things. It is more common amongst adults and they feel disoriented.
What Are The Types Of Delirium?
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The condition is divided into different categories based on causes and characteristics.
- Delirium tremens: This condition occurs in people who are trying to withdraw from alcohol and have been drinking for many years now.
- Hyperactive delirium: People with such conditions are very uncooperative and alert in nature.
- Hypoactive delirium: Such a condition makes a person lazy, inattentive and disorganized in their everyday life. The condition could be so severe that a person can forget to consume his or her meals on time and important appointments on schedule.
It can be noted that some people can have a combination of hyperactive as well as hypoactive delirium and show signs of a mixing nature.
What Are The Causes Of Delirium?
- Delirium is most common in the senior age when they get older, face memory loss and have trouble understanding and remembering anything.
- Apart from old age, delirium can be caused due to those diseases which give higher infection and inflammation such as pneumonia.
- Consuming certain medications can have side effects which make a person feel delirious.
- Consumption of drugs and alcohol and even their withdrawal alter the chemical changes in the brain which causes a delirious state of mind.
- Kidney failure or liver failure because of which oxygen level in the blood goes low.
- Stress and sleep deprivation
Delirium & Dementia: Are They Same?
Although delirium and dementia share similar features and characteristics if seen properly, they are not the same. If differences are seen then:
- Delirium affects an individual’s attention whereas dementia affects memory.
- Delirium can be called a temporary state whereas dementia is a long-term condition and gradually worsens over time.
Hence, a person dealing with delirium must visit the doctor immediately and seek medical attention.
Who Is At The Risk Of Developing Delirium?
People who are at the high risk of developing delirium includes:
Those who have had surgery can face delirium at about 80% if they are at the end of their life, 70% if they are admitted in ICU, 30% to 40% who have HIV, and 25% to those who are dealing with cancer.
Apart from this, others who can feel delirious are those who are on regular dialysis, cannot move from their place due to restraints, have high burns, don’t drink water properly, have Parkinson’s disease and suddenly stop consuming alcohol.
Symptoms Of Delirium
As there are different types of delirium, the symptoms may also vary. Symptoms of delirium may start suddenly and can get worse in the next few days. One of the major symptoms is the inability to pay attention which becomes worse within a few days. Other symptoms include:
- Being disoriented
- Trouble in concentrating on their work
- Quick changes in emotions
- Decrease in response time
Doctors may go for different methods to diagnose delirium with methods such as:
- Confusion assessment method: Doctors here will find out the symptoms and find if you can think, speak and act normally. The observation is based on finding if your behavior has changed throughout the day, if you are having any hard time paying attention to the surroundings or if you are rambling.
- Some other common tests like blood tests, head scans, thyroid tests, etc. are recommended by the doctor to diagnose delirium.
How To Get Delirium Treated?
In order to treat delirium, some medications like antidepressants or sedatives may be given by the doctor. Apart from that, counseling or therapy can help you bind your thoughts. Counseling can help in treatment as it gives a safe space for discussion of thoughts and feelings.
It is important to understand that full recovery happens with the right treatment only and may take up a few weeks to actually feel like the older version of yourself. You must speak to your doctor about any particular concerns related to the disorder for the earliest improvement.