What is delirium?
Delirium is a confused mental state. It involves illusions, movement changes, inattentiveness, agitation, and hallucinations. Although it can happen at the later stage of life, many episodes can occur due to the medicines or dehydration which are reversible.
A person might suddenly get very sleepy and unaware of their surroundings. A person may act very upset and nervous. Most often such changes are noted by others.
How bad is my delirium?
Mild: It involves mild acute confusional state. It is characterized by disturbed consciousness, cognitive function, or perception. You may feel feel disorientated.
Moderate: It involves moderate disturbed consciousness. You may not be able to think or speak clearly or quickly. It may limit instrumental activities of daily life (medication management, housekeeping activities, ability to manage finances).
Severe: You may become forgetful, confused or hallucinated. It may limit self-care activities of daily life (eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath, and using the toilet).
How to manage mild to moderate delirium?
- Control surroundings to keep the room quiet and well-lit.
- Have family members around. Keeping the same caregivers may also help.
- Take prescribed medicines to treat the symptoms.
- Promote good sleep habits.
- Remain calm and well-oriented.
How to manage severe delirium?
What causes delirium?
- Advanced cancer
- Cancer treatments (radiation therapy, chemotherapy)
- Older age
- Brain tumors
- Taking certain medicines, such as high doses of opioids
- Stopping certain medicines
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