Delirium is a major disturbance in attention and orientation to the environment. As the person’s focus becomes less clear, he or she has great difficulty concentrating and thinking in an organized way, leading to misinterpretations, illusions, and on occasion, hallucinations. Sufferers may believe that it is morning in the middle of the night or that they are home when actually they are in a hospital room. Generally, delirium has a sudden onset (hours or days), a brief and fluctuating course, and rapid improvement. Delirium may occur in any age group, including children, but is most common in elderly people. Fever, certain diseases and infections, poor nutrition, head injuries, strokes, and stress (including the trauma of surgery) may all cause delirium. Delirium often involves perceptual disturbances, abnormal psychomotor activity, and sleep cycle impairment.
Worried that your loved one may suffer from Delirium?
- Does your loved one have difficulty focusing attention, for example being easily distractible, or having difficulty keeping track of what was being said?
- Is his/her thinking disorganized or incoherent, such as rambling or irrelevant conversation, unclear or illogical flow of ideas, or unpredictable switching from subject to subject?
- Is he/she able to adequately respond to stimulation?
- Does he/she tend to get disoriented, such as misjudging the time of day or place where he is in or fail to recognise people around him?
- Has he demonstrated any memory problems, such as inability to remember events or difficulty remembering instructions?
- Did he/she show evidence of disturbance of the sleep‐wake cycle, such as excessive daytime sleepiness with insomnia at night?
If you have said yes to most of the above, we might be able to help you.
Treatments that can help you or your loved one: