Delirium (acute confusional state) is a sudden change in a person's
mental status, leading to confusion and unusual behavior.
Symptoms of delirium usually develop over the course of several
hours to a few days. Symptoms may fluctuate and often include:
Confusion and disorientation, including
hallucinations, delusions, or illusions.
Short attention span.
Problems with the
Periods of hyperactivity alternating with extreme
Delirium may be caused by withdrawal from alcohol or drugs or
medicines. The development or worsening of an infection or other health
problem can also lead to delirium. People with dementia, such as occurs with
Alzheimer's disease, are more prone to delirium.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology
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