What is delirium?

Delirium

Delirium, or acute confusional state, is severe confusion that develops quickly, and often fluctuates in intensity. It is a common neuropsychiatric syndrome with a core feature of acute onset, meaning it has been present from hours to days, but not months or years. Delirium represents an organically caused decline from a previously-attained level of cognitive functioning. Delirium typically appears suddenly with a readily-identifiable time of onset, such as a time space of a few hours, or overnight. It is typified by fluctuating course, attentional deficits and generalized severe disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal (hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed), perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions. Delirium itself is not a disease, but rather a clinical syndrome (a set of symptoms), which result from an underlying disease or new problem with mentation.

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