Acute confusional state; Acute brain syndrome
The goal of treatment is to control or reverse the cause of the symptoms. Treatment depends on the condition causing delirium. Diagnosis and care should take place in a pleasant, comfortable, nonthreatening, physically safe environment. The person may need to stay in the hospital for a short time.
Stopping or changing medications that worsen confusion, or that are not necessary, may improve mental function significantly. Medications that may worsen confusion include:
Analgesics, especially narcotics such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, or oxycodone
Central nervous systemdepressants
- Illicit drugs
Disorders that contribute to confusion should be treated. These may include:
- Decreased oxygen (
hypoxia) Heart failure
- High carbon dioxide levels (
- Liver failure
- Nutritional disorders
- Psychiatric conditions (such as depression)
Treating medical and mental disorders often greatly improves mental function.
Medications may be needed to control aggressive or agitated behaviors. These are usually started at very low doses and adjusted as needed.
- Antidepresssants (fluoxetine, citalopram), if depression is present
Dopamineblockers (haloperidol, quetiapine, or risperidone are most commonly used)
- Sedatives (clonazepam or diazepam) in cases of delirium due to alcohol or sedative withdrawal
Some people with delirium may benefit from hearing aids, glasses, or
Other treatments that may be helpful:
- Behavior modification to control unacceptable or dangerous behaviors
orientationto reduce disorientation
Acute conditions that cause delirium may occur with
Delirium often lasts only about 1 week, although it may take several weeks for mental function to return to normal levels. Full recovery is common.
- Loss of ability to function or care for self
- Loss of ability to interact
- Progression to
- Side effects of medications used to treat the disorder
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if there is a rapid