Delirium Vs Dementia – What’s the Difference?

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Delirium Vs Dementia: Confusing delirium with dementia isn’t unprecedented, as both conditions are characterized by confusion and disorientation and share several other symptoms. But they’re caused by different circumstances and have distinct diagnoses and treatment. most significantly, delirium may be a temporary and reversible condition, while an individual affected by dementia is seldom cured of it.

Delirium Vs Dementia
Delirium Vs Dementia

What is Dementia?

Dementia may be a broad category of brain diseases that causes a slow, chronic decline in brain function. These diseases include Alzheimer’s, stroke (vascular dementia), a mixture of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body dementia. There are currently quite 70 diseases which will cause dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the foremost common.

Dementia typically affects the elderly, but it also can present in people under the age of 65, referred to as early-onset dementia. This condition is more likely to be hereditary and is devastating to both the patients and their family because the patient is typically still within the productive years of his or her life.

What is Delirium?

Delirium may be a condition that causes a change to the brain’s function. It typically occurs over a couple of hours to days and has an underlying medical cause. Another feature of delirium may be a fluctuation in consciousness levels, with periods of drowsiness alternating with periods of hyper-vigilance. The patient’s brain will return to its natural state after the underlying medical condition has been treated. In some cases, it’s going to take up to 6 months for the patient to completely recover.

Delirium Vs Dementia
Delirium Vs Dementia

Types of Delirium Vs Dementia

Researchers have identified three distinct sorts of delirium, including:

  • Hyperactive delirium. Hyperactive delirium symptoms may include restlessness, agitation, sudden changes in mood or hallucinations.
  • Hypoactive delirium. Symptoms of hypoactive delirium can include inactivity or reduced motor activity, sluggishness, abnormal drowsiness, or seeming to be during a daze.
  • Mixed delirium. an individual affected by mixed delirium may quickly switch back and forth between states, displaying both hyperactive and hypoactive symptoms.

There are many various sorts of dementia, with the foremost common being Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s accounts for about 60-80% of all dementia cases. The second leading sort of dementia occurs following a stroke and is named vascular dementia. there’s also:

  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
  • Young-onset dementia (affecting those under the age of 65)
  • Alcohol-related brain damage
  • Rare diseases and conditions (about 5% of total dementia cases)

Symptoms of Delirium Vs Dementia

Symptoms of delirium can include:

  • Reduced awareness of the environment, like being easily distracted or extremely fixated on a thought.
  • Cognitive impairment, like disorientation, difficulty speaking, reading, or writing, and memory problems.
  • Behaviour changes, like hallucinations, agitation, sleep disturbances, and reversal of the night-day sleep-wake cycle.
  • Emotional disturbances, like depression, euphoria, anxiety, irritation, changes in personality, and rapid and unpredictable mood shifts.

In order for an individual to be diagnosed with dementia, least two core mental functions must be significantly impaired. Symptoms of dementia include progressive difficulty with:

  • Memory, like forgetting names of relations or regressing to childhood memories.
  • Communication and language, like forgetting the word for everyday items.
  • Ability to focus and concentrate, like “spacing out” or inability to finish tasks.
  • Reasoning and judgment, like going call at winter without a jacket or inappropriate sexual behaviour.
  • Visual perception, like not having the ability to differentiate contrast, not detecting movement, or maybe trouble with orientation.
Delirium Vs Dementia
Delirium Vs Dementia

Causes Of Delirium Vs Dementia

A number of illnesses and physical conditions can cause delirium. These include fever, infection, sensory impairment, oxygen deprivation, poor nutrition, dehydration, withdrawal from alcohol, illegal drugs or medications – interactions with SSRI like Zoloft, Lexapro, and other drugs may cause temporary delirium even within the prescribed dose. an individual can also experience delirium while under the influence of medicine (legal or illegal) or alcohol.

Dementia is caused by brain damage, which itself are often triggered by numerous conditions. Like delirium, it is often caused by infections, drug abuse, or poor diet; however, dementia is more commonly related to serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, or Pick’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is that the commonest sort of dementia, and genetics and/or environmental conditions could affect its development, but its exact cause remains unknown.

Diagnosing Delirium Vs Dementia

It is important to possess a health care professional trained in assessing neurological status evaluate you or your beloved , as delirium and dementia can present similarly.

In order for an individual to be diagnosed with delirium, a physician will take an in depth medical record , and order variety of tests to assess the patient. Tests include neurological and mental status exams, also as blood and/or urine tests, or brain imaging. Because delirium happens quickly, it’s often quite noticeable to most of the people .

Oftentimes it’s a person’s caregiver who will notice symptoms of dementia building over time, and flag them to their doctor. As there isn’t one specific test to diagnose dementia, careful review of medical record , a physical exam, lab tests, and therefore the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day function, and behavior related to each sort of dementia are wont to evaluate an individual .

Ways To Stop Delirium Vs Dementia

As with most illnesses, engaging during a healthy lifestyle can help to stop both delirium and dementia. Some key factors include:

  • Not smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a diet
  • Promoting good sleep habits
  • Closely monitoring medications
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol intake
  • Keeping the mind active
Delirium Vs Dementia
Delirium Vs Dementia

Treatment for Delirium vs. Dementia

If you or you’re beloved are diagnosed with delirium, treatment will depend upon the cause. If medication is that the culprit, stopping it should resolve the delirium. Likewise, rehydrating an individual affected by dehydration or having an overtired person rest can treat delirium. If necessary, there are some medications which will be wont to treat delirium.

If you or you’re beloved are diagnosed with dementia, there are many treatment options available counting on the sort of dementia. While some are progressive and haven’t any cure, others are often treated with:

  • Medications
  • Person-centred care
  • Talk therapy, including counselling
  • Alternative treatments
  • Speak together with your doctor to work out the simplest approach to treatment for yourself or a beloved.


Don’t neglect problems with thought skills or memory. Seeing a doctor at the primary sign of issues can detect a treatable condition, and early diagnosis allows you or your beloved to urge the foremost enjoy available treatment options and plan for the longer term.

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