What is Delirium?

Delirium is a confusional mental state in which the mental processing of a person is disturbed and low surroundings awareness which usually includes the level of consciousness, way of thinking, and behavior. It interrupts a person’s mental functioning, the person’s ability to focus, remember, think and sleep gets disrupted.

3 Types of Delirium:

  • Hyperactive delirium: Causes aggression, agitation, and restlessness.
  • Hypoactive delirium: causes tiredness and make a person feel depressed, it also slows down our ability to work
  • Mixed Delirium: In this, a person experiences both types of delirium – Hypoactive and Hyperactive.


  • Loss of memory
  • Restlessness
  • Change of sleep pattern
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Change in personality
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty in Concentration


  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • High level of emotional stress
  • Aging
  • Medical condition
  • The extreme level of sleep deprivation
  • Consumption of toxic substances
  • Imbalance in dopamine levels
  • Brain tumors

Males in this case are affected more as compared to females. There could be many other Causes for this disease as there is no underlying disease that affects it. The worst-case scenario is Dementia and Alzheimers.

Misconceptions about delirium:

  • Delirium and Dementia are the same.
  • It is just a confusional state.
  • If the person is depressed, he/she might have delirium.
  • Delirium is not a big deal, so it doesn’t matter if a person is suffering from it.
  • Delirium cannot be treated.

How can delirium be diagnosed?

  •  A method called confusion assessment method: In this, the doctor will observe the state of confusion. The Doctor will observe your way of speech, your behavior, your speed of working, your way of thinking, and change in personality or mood swings.
  • There could be a few tests done: Head scans, blood tests, drug tests, liver tests, thyroid tests, urine tests, X-ray of the chest.


  • Medication: Antidepressant, sedatives, antibiotics(in case of unhealed disease), and thiamine
  • Proper Counselling by the therapist. Do not Self Diagnose and must visit a doctor.

What do you think?

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Written by Shreshtha Negi

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