Delirium is a mental condition you might not hear too much about. With so many other definitions and names for mental conditions, terminology is often tossed around, and specific issues and names of conditions are used. However, delirium is still a mental condition that needs to be understood. From comprehending the definition to learning about the symptoms, it is necessary to dive further into the condition and learn about what causes it and how it comes about. Whether you have heard about delirium, or just know it as reference to a beer brewed in Belgium, learning more about what is delirium is an educational experience and is something that you probably do not have much knowledge about.
Definition of Delirium
Starting with the definition of delirium is an important way to go. Delirium means a sudden state of confusion due to an extremely fast change in brain functionality that occurs with a physical or mental illness. Chances are, you have heard of the delirious. Delirium is the mental state and delirious is what a person is when this issue comes about. Due to this, when you define delirious, it is the same thing, only one is in reference observing someone going through these kinds of issues while the other is someone experiencing the issues surrounding it.
Some Causes of Delirium
There are different causes behind someone going delirious. To truly understand the delirious meaning, it is necessary to understand what the causes of the mental condition is. First off, hypoactive delirium is most often the cause of a physical or mental condition. However, this condition is generally temporary and is not something that happens all that often. Regardless of how often it happens or takes place, it is due to the brain not receiving enough oxygen and other necessary chemicals at a given time. Outside of just the mental state, other causes include both alcohol and sedative drug withdrawal. People who are enrolled in detox centers after extensive usage of drugs or alcohol are likely to experience delirious episodes. This is because their body and brain have become accustomed to receiving the specific chemical compounds, so once the brain no longer receives these chemicals, it is not able to function, which can cause the lack of oxygen and chemicals.
Outside of drug and alcohol abuse though, electrolyte, or other body chemical disturbances can lead to delirium tremens, as does the absorption of certain poisons into the body and going through different kinds of surgery, where medications might cause the person to experience acute delirium. Lastly, infections in the body can cause a person to experience a delirious state of mind. This includes UTIs, and pneumonia in people who have experienced some sort of brain damage earlier, including a stroke or dementia.
Symptoms of Delirium
Understanding whether you or someone else is experiencing a delirious episode is important, so being able to point out these different symptoms is necessary. There are all sorts of different symptoms, which is why knowing about the different kinds of issues is necessary. First, one of the most common symptoms includes a quick change in mental state, such as going fro lethargic to agitated and back to lethargic in a short period of time. The reasoning behind this happening has several different causes though. A person might have a significant change in alertness, as they feel alert in the morning and this start to wen down towards the end of the day. A person might have a change in feeling and sensation, a change in their level of consciousness and a change in their overall movement, such as going from being extremely bogged down and slow to almost hyperactive. Additional issues and symptoms includes changes in sleep patterns, confusions about the particular time or place, a decrease in short term memory, a disorganized way of thinking, a sudden change in the emotional state of a person, including anger, depression, irritability, agitation or being overly happy, and incontinence. Lastly, a person might have problems concentrating or have movements that are triggered by changes in their nervous system.
Testing for Delirium
There are different ways the medical community tests to see if a person is suffering from delirium or if there is a different mental state. There are two tests that have been used in the past, but do not always provide the best results. These tests include an exam of a person’s nervous system or even neuropsychological studies. While these tests can be telling and provide helpful information, neither is always accurate, so receiving additional tests is usually recommended. Some of the additional tests can include blood and urine tests, a mental status test, head CT and MRI scans, chest x-ray, electroencephalogram and a cerebrospinal fluid analysis (which is a spinal tap). A medical staff might recommend one particular test, or they might point out the need to undergo several different tests. Regardless of the reasoning, it is very important to have tests done in order to see the exact problem with the mental state.
Medical Conditions that Aid Delirium
While delirium can come about all on its own, most people who experience state of delusion do so on account of other medical conditions they are suffering from. While stopping alcohol and drug abuse is important, these are not the only culprits that increase the chances of experiencing delirium. Some other medical issues include an anemia, thyroid disorders, nutritional disorder, liver and/or kidney failure, psychiatric conditions that include depression and extreme anxiety, infections, decreased oxygen running to the body (also known as hypoxia), heart failure, and high carbon dioxide levels (hypercapnia). Many of these medical conditions can cause a reduction to the amount of oxygen running to the brain or how the body filters out certain chemicals and toxins from the rest of the body. When the body starts to suffer from these different kinds of medical conditions, the chance of going through delirium increases significantly.
There are some complications of experiencing delirium. This can include the loss of ability to care for oneself. While this is rather extreme, it usually is combined with other medical conditions, which is why it is necessary to have it looked into quickly. On top of this, additional complications include the loss of ability to interact with other humans and even a progression to a stupor or even a coma. Most of these are not likely to happen, but it is an important to understand what some of the complications might include.
There are all sorts of different mental conditions that can cause issues with a person’s overall level of health. However, the majority of these issues come about due to issues with the rest of their body. In terms of delirium, this kind of mental state is usually due to a reduction of oxygen or a problem with the chemicals released in the body. Regardless of why a person suffers from delirium, it is always important to seek out medical attention in order to have it diagnosed as quickly as possible. It might be a sign to significant medical problems further on down the road or even issues the person is suffering from that they do not know about before hand.