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WHAT IS DELIRIUM DISORDER

Introduction

Delirium disorder, also known as Acute delirium and Delirious, is a state of confusion with decreased awareness and reduced ability to focus, maintain attention or remember recent events. There must be a liaison between psychiatrist and physician for the treatment of this condition

What is Delirium

If you’re like most people, when you think of delirium, you probably associate it with an elderly person becoming confused and disoriented. But delirium can affect anyone of any age at any time. It’s usually temporary, from taking certain medications to serious underlying medical problems.

Some people have only one episode in their lifetime while others may experience multiple episodes over time. This type of acute confusion is caused by some kind of stressor such as surgery for example, but it is not a mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder—it’s simply a disturbance that affects how fully aware someone is at the moment they are experiencing it.

It can be caused by many things, from taking certain medications to serious underlying medical problems.

Delirium disorder may begin suddenly and fluctuate over time, but it usually worsens as the day progresses. People experiencing delirium have trouble orienting themselves in time (knowing what day it is) or place (determining where they are). They also have trouble with language — forgetting words or using them incorrectly — as well as with their memory and judgment.

Causes of Delirium

The most common causes of delirium disorder are:

  • Age-related delirium. It’s normal to experience some memory loss as you get older, but when it becomes severe or happens more often than usual, it can be a sign of dementia.
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Someone who has stopped drinking alcohol suddenly may have withdrawal symptoms that include confusion, hallucinations, and seizures.
  • Brain injury or disease (including brain tumor). Head trauma from things like falls or car accidents also can cause delirium. Other types of brain diseases include stroke; Alzheimer’s disease; Huntington’s disease; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease; Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which is related to mad cow disease; and Pick’s Disease

What is Age-Related Delirium

It can be difficult to know if someone is experiencing delirium or dementia. Both conditions have symptoms that include confusion, memory loss, changes in personality and mood, and problems with thinking and reasoning (for example, being unable to solve problems).

Delirium may also be mistaken for depression or other mental health issues. For example:

  • The person may become very anxious or agitated instead of confused.
  • They might not be able to get out of bed because they’re depressed rather than because their body won’t respond properly.

What Causes Age-Related Delirium

Delirium disorder is a mental disorder that’s characterized by confusion and memory loss. People with delirium may experience hallucinations, disorientation, anxiety, or mood swings. The term “delirium” comes from the Latin word for “madness.”

Age-related delirium can be caused by:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Vascular dementia (also known as multi-infarct dementia)

Common Symptoms of Age-Related Delirium

Common symptoms include:

  • Disorientation, which is a loss of your sense of direction or place (who are you? Where are you?)
  • Dissociation, which is the feeling that things aren’t real (this feels like a dream) or that your mind has left your body (I feel so far away from myself)
  • Depersonalization is the perception that others around you don’t seem like people anymore (they look like zombies) or that something about yourself doesn’t seem quite right (my hands look weird). People who experience depersonalization often report feeling as though they’re observing themselves from above.
  • Memory impairment – difficulty remembering what happened yesterday or last week; having trouble recalling information; forgetting things at inopportune moments; difficulty concentrating on the conversation when there’s background noise present.

 

Treatment for Age-Related Delirium

There is no specific delirium treatment. The primary goal of treatment is to identify and manage the underlying cause of the symptoms. The following therapies may help:

  • Medications (such as antidepressant drugs) can be used to treat specific symptoms that may accompany dementia, such as depression, anxiety, or sleep disturbances.
  • Psychotherapy (or talk therapy) can help people learn how to cope better with their stressors and improve their quality of life in general. In this type of therapy a trained professional regularly and discussing personal concerns so they can be addressed more effectively. Examples include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive counseling sessions where you express your feelings while receiving support from others who share similar experiences.
  • Physical therapy focuses on restoring movement skills after injury or illness; some forms target specific muscles affected by disease states like Parkinson’s disease while others focus on improving balance control through exercises designed around everyday activities like walking up stairs safely without falling over backward! This form helps prevent falls which could lead to broken bones when older adults become unsteady on their feet.”

Age-Related Delirium Treatment Results

Although it can be a temporary, reversible state, it may last for months or even years. Age-related delirium is diagnosed by the presence of four or more symptoms from the following list:

  • Inattention, such as failing to follow the patient’s name when being introduced to them.
  • Disorganized thinking, such as talking incoherently while ignoring questions or making up answers out of thin air. This may manifest as an inability to organize words into comprehensible sentences and using unrelated words within sentences that have no relation to each other (e.g., “I see you are wearing socks; I have also bought some new ones”).
  • Disorientation regarding time and place (e.g., not knowing what day it is).

Risks for Developing Age-related Delirium After Surgery in Elderly Patients

Some factors can increase your risk of developing age-related delirium after surgery. The most common of these is the elderly population. As we age, our brains have a tendency to lose cognitive function, which makes it more likely that we’ll experience some degree of confusion or disorientation following major surgeries.

Another factor that may contribute to an increased risk of developing age-related delirium after surgery is pre-existing cognitive impairment.

Delirium disorder, also known as Acute delirium

It can occur suddenly and may affect consciousness, attention, cognition, information processing, memory, and other higher brain functions. Delirium is caused by a disturbance in the function of neurotransmitters – chemical messengers that send signals between nerve cells in the brain. These neurotransmitters include norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-HT). The most common cause of delirium is drug toxicity or intoxication from alcohol, sedatives, or narcotics; however, it also may result from infections such as meningitis or encephalitis.

Conclusion

When an elderly loved one shows signs of confusion and memory loss, it can be difficult to know whether they are experiencing delirium. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from delirium, then take them to the hospital right away. This disorder can often be treated with medication or other therapies and if left untreated could lead to serious complications.

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