Health - Wellness
If You Have Sudden Confusion, This Could
Be Why
By Robin Rothstein
If you or someone you know has suddenly had trouble thinking clearly or appeared disoriented, it could be a sign of delirium — an unexpected shift in mental status. Delirium tends to affect older people, and while it can occur in individuals suffering from dementia, it is a condition rather than a long-term disease.
There are two types of delirium: hyperactive (where the person becomes overactive and restless) and hypoactive (where the person will have slowed responses and fatigue). Hypoactive delirium is the more common type and accounts for about 75% of cases, but it’s not impossible for someone to experience both kinds of delirium at the same time.
Causes for delirium range from alcohol consumption and tiredness to medical conditions like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. Prevention, recovery time, and treatment all depend on the affected individual and doctors’ test results, so it is critical for caregivers to be familiar with the individual’s medications and have an action plan for when delirium occurs.