Delirium is a mental disability of thinking and orientation about the environment. This is a serious condition with rapid onset. It can be due to some other illnesses or conditions like surgery, medication, withdrawal from drugs or their toxicity, infection, changes in electrolytes, chronic or debilitating illness.
The signs and symptoms with which patient appear are:
- Disoriented with the environment
- Poor cognition- thinking ability is low
- Changes in behavior- listlessness, fatiguability, hallucinations, etc.
- Disturbance in emotions
Delirium is basically due to impairment in the normal brain activity of receiving and sending impulses. Its causes are defined below:
- Intake of alcohol
- Drug intoxication or its withdrawal
- Any medical problem, like heart attack, lung or liver disease, head injury, stroke.
- Debilitating illness
- Any acute infection or fever (in children particularly)
- Surgeries that include anesthesia
- Certain medicines
- Dehydration, malnutrition, sleep disturbance or emotional distress.
Medical history and examination makes the diagnosis. The examinations that are done are as under:
- Neurological and physical exams
- Assessment of mental state thoroughly by conversation
- Some other tests like blood and urine tests, brain imaging.
Treat the underlying condition if there’s any. Additional treatment includes:
Is given to prevent complications.
- Pain treatment
- Airway protection
- Maintaining fluids and nutrients
- Avoid bladder tubes
- Check for Incontinence
Avoid medications that trigger the symptoms. Some other medications must be given to lessen the pain that might be causing delirium.