Delirium

Delirium is a medical condition characterized by acute disturbances in attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment and awareness. Symptoms may fluctuate during the course of a day and involve memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment deficits and disorientation Disorientation St. Louis Encephalitis Virus. There are many causes of delirium. Early recognition and accurate diagnosis constitute the 1st steps to adequate management. The primary goal of treatment is to identify and reverse the underlying cause and prevent future episodes. Pharmacotherapy is reserved for the most severe cases of agitation Agitation A feeling of restlessness associated with increased motor activity. This may occur as a manifestation of nervous system drug toxicity or other conditions. St. Louis Encephalitis Virus.

Last updated: Jul 11, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

  • Delirium is defined as an acute alteration in the levels of consciousness and cognition.
  • Signs and symptoms develop over a short period (hours to days), but can fluctuate throughout the day.
  • Delirium is considered an acute neurologic emergency with increased rates of morbidity Morbidity The proportion of patients with a particular disease during a given year per given unit of population. Measures of Health Status and mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status
  • While delirium is potentially a life-threatening condition, it is treatable and potentially reversible with early recognition and treatment.

Epidemiology

  • More prevalent in critically ill patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship such as those in ICUs
  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency may be as high as 80% in mechanically ventilated patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship
  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency is high among patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship who have undergone surgical procedures (up to 50% following hip fracture Fracture A fracture is a disruption of the cortex of any bone and periosteum and is commonly due to mechanical stress after an injury or accident. Open fractures due to trauma can be a medical emergency. Fractures are frequently associated with automobile accidents, workplace injuries, and trauma. Overview of Bone Fractures repair or cardiac procedures).

Pathophysiology

  • The exact pathophysiology of delirium is unknown.
  • Several hypotheses exist to explain potential mechanisms for delirium: 
    • Neuroinflammation secondary to elevated levels of cortisol Cortisol Glucocorticoids and cytokines Cytokines Non-antibody proteins secreted by inflammatory leukocytes and some non-leukocytic cells, that act as intercellular mediators. They differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialized glands. They generally act locally in a paracrine or autocrine rather than endocrine manner. Adaptive Immune Response
    • Impairments in the cholinergic pathway (as seen with the use of anticholinergic drugs Anticholinergic drugs Anticholinergic drugs block the effect of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the muscarinic receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Anticholinergic agents inhibit the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in effects on the smooth muscle in the respiratory tract, vascular system, urinary tract, GI tract, and pupils of the eyes. Anticholinergic Drugs)
    • Neurotransmitter imbalance, specifically excess dopaminergic activity

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Etiology

Predisposing and precipitating factors

Predisposing:

  • Age > 70 years (most common) 
  • History of cognitive impairment,  Parkinson disease Parkinson disease Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Although the cause is unknown, several genetic and environmental risk factors are currently being studied. Individuals present clinically with resting tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural instability. Parkinson’s Disease, or stroke
  • Sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep disturbances 

Precipitating:

Etiology

The acronym “DELIRIUM” can be helpful in remembering the most common etiologies of the condition.

  • Drug: 
    • Multiple medications (risk increases as the number of drugs increases)
    • Intoxication or withdrawal:
      • Prescription drugs
      • Illicit drugs
      • Alcohol
    • Drug classes that can cause delirium:
      • Opiates Opiates Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics/ opioids Opioids Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics
      • Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines work on the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor to produce inhibitory effects on the CNS. Benzodiazepines do not mimic GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in humans, but instead potentiate GABA activity. Benzodiazepines
      • Barbiturates Barbiturates A class of chemicals derived from barbituric acid or thiobarbituric acid. Many of these are gaba modulators used as hypnotics and sedatives, as anesthetics, or as anticonvulsants. Intravenous Anesthetics 
    • Also includes toxins
    • Also includes drug-drug interactions
  • Environmental and emotional factors: 
    • Environmental factors:
      • Hospitalization
      • Immobilization (e.g., lack of assistive devices) 
    • Emotional factors:
  • Low oxygen:
  • Infection:
    • Pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia
    • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions ulcers
    • Urinary tract Urinary tract The urinary tract is located in the abdomen and pelvis and consists of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. The structures permit the excretion of urine from the body. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder and out through the urethra. Urinary Tract: Anatomy infection
    • Sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock
  • Retention:
    • Urinary retention
    • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation 
    • Volume overload states
  • Intracranial abnormality:
    • Seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
    • Cerebrovascular accidents
    • Neoplasm
    • Trauma
  • Underhydration/undernutrition: 
    • Poor oral intake 
    • Chronic alcoholism Alcoholism A primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic. Wernicke Encephalopathy and Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Metabolic: 
    • Electrolyte imbalance
    • Elevated liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body’s constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes
    • Elevated ammonia Ammonia A colorless alkaline gas. It is formed in the body during decomposition of organic materials during a large number of metabolically important reactions. Note that the aqueous form of ammonia is referred to as ammonium hydroxide. Acid-Base Balance levels
    • Elevated kidney enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body’s constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes ( uremia Uremia A clinical syndrome associated with the retention of renal waste products or uremic toxins in the blood. It is usually the result of renal insufficiency. Most uremic toxins are end products of protein or nitrogen catabolism, such as urea or creatinine. Severe uremia can lead to multiple organ dysfunctions with a constellation of symptoms. Acute Kidney Injury)
    • Thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy hormone imbalance

Clinical Presentation

Hallmarks of delirium

  • Altered consciousness 
  • Disorientation Disorientation St. Louis Encephalitis Virus
  • Impairment in cognitive function and memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment
  • Rapid onset (within hours to days)
  • Unpredictable fluctuation of symptoms in a given day

Classification of delirium

Based on the main types of symptoms exhibited

  • Hyperactive delirium:
    • Hypervigilant and highly aroused
    • Restless
    • Agitated
    • May experience hallucinations Hallucinations Subjectively experienced sensations in the absence of an appropriate stimulus, but which are regarded by the individual as real. They may be of organic origin or associated with mental disorders. Schizophrenia
    • Sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep disturbances 
  • Hypoactive delirium:
    • Withdrawn, lethargic
    • Decreased levels of activity
    • Slowed thought process Thought process Psychiatric Assessment and speech
    • May experience hallucinations Hallucinations Subjectively experienced sensations in the absence of an appropriate stimulus, but which are regarded by the individual as real. They may be of organic origin or associated with mental disorders. Schizophrenia
    • Sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep disturbance 
  • Mixed delirium: a mix of features of both hyper- and hypoactive delirium

Diagnosis

History and exam

  • Delirium is usually a clinical diagnosis that is made on presentation with altered mental status Altered Mental Status Sepsis in Children.
  • Often misdiagnosed as dementia Dementia Major neurocognitive disorders (NCD), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders or depression
  • Owing to the patient’s confused state, it is imperative to obtain history from caregivers whenever possible.
  • A thorough physical exam including a complete neurologic exam is necessary.
  • Mental status exam and cognitive screening tests Screening tests Screening tests are used to identify people in the early stages of a disease and enable early intervention with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality. Epidemiological Values of Diagnostic Tests can set a baseline to document the clinical course of the patient: Confusion assessment method (CAM) can be quickly given to a caregiver or nurse to screen for delirium.

Lab studies and imaging

  • Standard studies: 
    • CBC
    • Electrolytes Electrolytes Electrolytes are mineral salts that dissolve in water and dissociate into charged particles called ions, which can be either be positively (cations) or negatively (anions) charged. Electrolytes are distributed in the extracellular and intracellular compartments in different concentrations. Electrolytes are essential for various basic life-sustaining functions. Electrolytes
    • Thyroid-stimulating hormone Thyroid-stimulating hormone A glycoprotein hormone secreted by the adenohypophysis. Thyrotropin stimulates thyroid gland by increasing the iodide transport, synthesis and release of thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine). Thyroid Hormones (TSH)
    • Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 A cobalt-containing coordination compound produced by intestinal microorganisms and found also in soil and water. Higher plants do not concentrate vitamin B 12 from the soil and so are a poor source of the substance as compared with animal tissues. Intrinsic factor is important for the assimilation of vitamin B 12. Folate and Vitamin B12 and folate Folate Folate and vitamin B12 are 2 of the most clinically important water-soluble vitamins. Deficiencies can present with megaloblastic anemia, GI symptoms, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and adverse pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects. Folate and Vitamin B12 
    • Urinalysis Urinalysis Examination of urine by chemical, physical, or microscopic means. Routine urinalysis usually includes performing chemical screening tests, determining specific gravity, observing any unusual color or odor, screening for bacteriuria, and examining the sediment microscopically. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children
    • HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions 
    • Rapid plasma Plasma The residual portion of blood that is left after removal of blood cells by centrifugation without prior blood coagulation. Transfusion Products reagin 
    • Chest radiography
    • ECG ECG An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a graphic representation of the electrical activity of the heart plotted against time. Adhesive electrodes are affixed to the skin surface allowing measurement of cardiac impulses from many angles. The ECG provides 3-dimensional information about the conduction system of the heart, the myocardium, and other cardiac structures. Electrocardiogram (ECG)
    • EEG EEG Seizures
  • Ancillary tests: 

Management

Overview

  • Mainstays of management include decreasing both predisposing and precipitating factors.
  • Any underlying causes of delirium must be found and treated. 
  • There are no FDA-approved medications for the management of delirium.

Nonpharmacologic interventions

  • Provide sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology, environmental, and physical support: 
    • Presence of family or regular Regular Insulin patient sitter 
    • The patient’s environment must not have sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology deprivation or overload. 
  • Maintain adequate hydration and nutritional status. 
  • Prevent skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions breakdown and bedsores. 
  • Physical restraints must only be used as the last resort in the case of severe agitation Agitation A feeling of restlessness associated with increased motor activity. This may occur as a manifestation of nervous system drug toxicity or other conditions. St. Louis Encephalitis Virus.

Pharmacotherapy

  • Pharmacotherapy is reserved for severe cases when a patient becomes severely agitated, placing their own or others’ safety at risk.
  • 1st-line treatment of aggression Aggression Behavior which may be manifested by destructive and attacking action which is verbal or physical, by covert attitudes of hostility or by obstructionism. Oppositional Defiant Disorder: 1st-generation antipsychotics (e.g., haloperidol Haloperidol A phenyl-piperidinyl-butyrophenone that is used primarily to treat schizophrenia and other psychoses. It is also used in schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorders, ballism, and tourette syndrome (a drug of choice) and occasionally as adjunctive therapy in intellectual disability and the chorea of huntington disease. It is a potent antiemetic and is used in the treatment of intractable hiccups. First-Generation Antipsychotics
  • 2nd-line treatment of aggression Aggression Behavior which may be manifested by destructive and attacking action which is verbal or physical, by covert attitudes of hostility or by obstructionism. Oppositional Defiant Disorder: 2nd-generation antipsychotics (e.g., quetiapine Quetiapine A dibenzothiazepine and antipsychotic agent that targets the serotonin 5-HT2 receptor; histamine h1 receptor, adrenergic alpha1 and alpha2 receptors, as well as the dopamine d1 receptor and dopamine D2 receptor. It is used in the treatment of schizophrenia; bipolar disorder and depressive disorder. Second-Generation Antipsychotics, olanzapine Olanzapine A benzodiazepine derivative that binds serotonin receptors; muscarinic receptors; histamine h1 receptors; adrenergic alpha-1 receptors; and dopamine receptors. It is an antipsychotic agent used in the treatment of schizophrenia; bipolar disorder; and major depressive disorder; it may also reduce nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Second-Generation Antipsychotics
  • Cholinesterase Cholinesterase Liver Function Tests inhibitors have no role in decreasing the incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of delirium.
Table: Commonly prescribed medications for the management of delirium
Drug class Indications Adverse effects
1st-generation antipsychotics Small dosages as needed to control severe agitation Agitation A feeling of restlessness associated with increased motor activity. This may occur as a manifestation of nervous system drug toxicity or other conditions. St. Louis Encephalitis Virus
2nd-generation antipsychotics
  • Small dosages as needed to control severe agitation Agitation A feeling of restlessness associated with increased motor activity. This may occur as a manifestation of nervous system drug toxicity or other conditions. St. Louis Encephalitis Virus
  • Better tolerated than 1st-generation antipsychotics
Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines work on the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor to produce inhibitory effects on the CNS. Benzodiazepines do not mimic GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in humans, but instead potentiate GABA activity. Benzodiazepines
  • In cases of delirium resulting from withdrawal of sedatives or alcohol
  • When antipsychotics are contraindicated
  • Can worsen delirium
  • Can cause respiratory depression
Melatonin Small doses at night for sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep
  • Stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy ache
  • Headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  • Daytime sleepiness Daytime sleepiness Narcolepsy
  • Higher doses may prolong delirium.
Dexmedetomidine
  • For rapid sedation in case of aggression Aggression Behavior which may be manifested by destructive and attacking action which is verbal or physical, by covert attitudes of hostility or by obstructionism. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • When benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines work on the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor to produce inhibitory effects on the CNS. Benzodiazepines do not mimic GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in humans, but instead potentiate GABA activity. Benzodiazepines cannot be used
  • Hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension
  • No evidence in preventing delirium
Gabapentin Gabapentin A cyclohexane-gamma-aminobutyric acid derivative that is used for the treatment of partial seizures; neuralgia; and restless legs syndrome. Second-Generation Anticonvulsant Drugs Nonopioid pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways control Sedation, peripheral edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema

Prevention

  • Avoid precipitating and/or predisposing factors:
    • Minimize polypharmacy.
    • Avoid intoxicants.
    • Hydration/nutrition plan
  • Avoid sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology deprivation:
    • Provide:
      • Clocks
      • Calendars
      • Window with outside view
      • Access to personal possessions (e.g., family photos, personal keepsakes)
  • Prevention of physical and cognitive decline:
    • Regular Regular Insulin opportunities to exercise:
      • Scheduled recreation
      • Scheduled outings
    • Regular Regular Insulin opportunities for social interactions:
      • Allow friend/family visits
      • Communal meals
    • Availability of visual aids AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS (glasses) and hearing aids AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS
    • Availability of mobility-assistance devices:
      • Cane
      • Walker
      • Wheelchair
  • Sleep-hygiene and sleep-maintenance interventions:
    • Avoid sedating/mind-altering medications if possible.
    • Consistent sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep schedule
    • Provide earplugs.
  • Pro re nata sedatives for the control of acute episodes may be warranted. 
  • Management of underlying chronic disease states
  • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways management ( opiates Opiates Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics/ opioids Opioids Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics as the last resort)

Differential Diagnosis

  • Dementia Dementia Major neurocognitive disorders (NCD), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders major neurocognitive disorders Major Neurocognitive Disorders Major neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders ( NCDs NCDs Major neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders), also known as dementia Dementia Major neurocognitive disorders (NCD), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders, are a group of diseases characterized by a progressive and persistent decline in a person’s memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment and executive function. Dementia Dementia Major neurocognitive disorders (NCD), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders is the leading cause of disability Disability Determination of the degree of a physical, mental, or emotional handicap. The diagnosis is applied to legal qualification for benefits and income under disability insurance and to eligibility for social security and workman’s compensation benefits. ABCDE Assessment worldwide among the elderly. There are several distinct etiologies for major NCDs NCDs Major neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders. Delirium can be differentiated from dementia Dementia Major neurocognitive disorders (NCD), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders by its rapid onset and altered consciousness levels. 
  • Sundowning: worsening of cognition and orientation Orientation Awareness of oneself in relation to time, place and person. Psychiatric Assessment in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship during the evening and at night. Sundowning is common among people with major NCDs NCDs Major neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders. While there is no clear etiology, there are poor outcomes, such as hospitalization, hastening of cognitive decline, and increased caregiver burden, associated with sundowning. The history of symptoms specifically worsening at night and improving during the day distinguishes sundowning from delirium; however, a clinical workup is necessary to rule out delirium. 
  • Schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are traditionally separated into 2 groups: positive (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative (flat affect, avolition, anhedonia, poor attention, and alogia). Schizophrenia: a psychotic disorder characterized by positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations Hallucinations Subjectively experienced sensations in the absence of an appropriate stimulus, but which are regarded by the individual as real. They may be of organic origin or associated with mental disorders. Schizophrenia, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative symptoms (flat affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment, avolition Avolition Lack of initiative. Schizophrenia, anhedonia Anhedonia Inability to experience pleasure due to impairment or dysfunction of normal psychological and neurobiological mechanisms. It is a symptom of many psychotic disorders (e.g., depressive disorder, major; and schizophrenia). Schizophrenia, poor attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment, and alogia Alogia Poverty of speech. Schizophrenia). Schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are traditionally separated into 2 groups: positive (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative (flat affect, avolition, anhedonia, poor attention, and alogia). Schizophrenia is associated with a decline in function lasting > 6 months. While periods of agitation Agitation A feeling of restlessness associated with increased motor activity. This may occur as a manifestation of nervous system drug toxicity or other conditions. St. Louis Encephalitis Virus are common in delirium, patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are traditionally separated into 2 groups: positive (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative (flat affect, avolition, anhedonia, poor attention, and alogia). Schizophrenia do not exhibit changes in their orientation Orientation Awareness of oneself in relation to time, place and person. Psychiatric Assessment or alertness. New onset of schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are traditionally separated into 2 groups: positive (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative (flat affect, avolition, anhedonia, poor attention, and alogia). Schizophrenia in the typical demographic that fits delirium is also extremely unlikely.

References

  1. Kennedy, M. (2018). Delirium in the emergency department: Diagnosis, evaluation, and management. DeckerMed Medicine. Retrieved July 6, 2021, from https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jgs.16437
  2. Sadock, B.J., Sadock, V.A., Ruiz, P. (2014). Kaplan and Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed.). Chapter 21, Neurocognitive disorders, pages 697–704. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  3. Francis, J. (2019). Delirium and acute confusional states: Prevention, treatment, and prognosis. UpToDate. Retrieved July 9, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/delirium-and-acute-confusional-states-prevention-treatment-and-prognosis 
  4. Echeverría, MdL. R., Paul, M. Delirium. [Updated 2020 Nov 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470399/
  5. Lange, P.W., Lamanna, M., Watson, R., Maier, A.B. (2019). Undiagnosed delirium is frequent and difficult to predict: Results from a prevalence survey of a tertiary hospital. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28, 2537–2542. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14833

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