Delirium is a condition of mental confusion, caused by some kind of extreme stress on the body or mind. It is sometimes referred to as an “acute confusional condition” because it occurs relatively quickly, while mental illness typically progresses over a long time due to Alzheimer’s or other dementia.
What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Delirium?
The main symptom of delirium is that the individual is unable to concentrate or pay attention. Delirium often also induces a variety of other cognitive symptoms, such as problems with memory, language issues, disorientation, or even vivid hallucinations. The symptoms “fluctuate” in most cases, with the person appearing at certain times better and at other times worse, especially later in the day.
Delirium is usually triggered by medical illness or hospitalization stress, particularly if there is surgery and anesthesia in the hospitalization. It’s much more common than many people realize at some stage during hospitalization, about 30 percent of seniors experience delirium.
What Are the Main Differences Between Delirium and Dementia?
People often confuse delirium and dementia because they both cause confusion and appear similar. In addition, people with dementia are quite likely to develop delirium.
The more fragile a person’s brain is, the easier it is to fall into delirium. Therefore, to get delirious, a younger person usually has to be very, very sick. But a fragile, older person with Alzheimer’s may become delirious just because they are exhausted and deprived of sleep while in hospital.
A term used to characterize brain changes that result in reduced cognitive abilities. It often progresses slowly, with symptoms increasing over time. It is caused by damaged brain cells, and very often begins with damage to the brain’s memory center.That’s why memory loss is typically the first sign of dementia.
It’s a temporary state of being, not evolving over time. Actually, this is one of the signs occurring over a short period of time. At a glance, the issues associated with it are somewhat close to dementia, as it involves problems with memory, hallucinations, and language problems.
What You Should Know About Delirium
Delirium is extremely common in seniors
At some point during hospitalization, about a third of seniors experience delirium, with delirium becoming even more prevalent in the intensive care unit, where 70 percent of patients have been found to be affected. Delirium is also normal in recovery facilities, one study found that symptoms occurred in 16 percent of patients.
Delirium can make a person quieter
Although people often think of delirium as a state of agitation or restlessness, it often makes people become quieter. This is termed delirium hypoactive. It is still associated with attention focused trouble, fluctuating symptoms, and worse-than-usual thought. It is also associated with poor performance.
Delirium is often missed by hospital staff
For senior patient accounts, although delirium is extremely common, it is often ignored. In fact, some studies suggest that 70% of the time is missed. That’s because busy hospital staff can find it difficult to see if the condition of an older person is new or worse than usual.
Delirium is common and can be the only visible sign of a serious medical issue. You will reduce the likelihood of harm from this disorder by educating yourself and helping your parents be vigilant about prevention. If you notice delirium symptoms, be sure to tell your doctors! This will help your parent get the assessment and care they need.
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Entrust of DeSoto is a memory care community that puts resident well-being at the center of everything we do. We know that each person is unique. That’s why we offer a wide range of services and lifestyle options to nourish the body and create community.
We understand the importance of home cooked meals and nutrition for seniors and this attitude is reflected in our dining experience. If you or a loved one live near Dallas, Texas and need assisted living, contact Entrust of DeSoto today to learn about our 24-hour care and find out how we can help.