Delirium is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of your environment. The start of delirium is usually rapid — within hours or a few days.

Delirium can often be traced to one or more contributing factors, such as a severe or chronic medical illness, changes in your metabolic balance (such as low sodium), medication, infection, surgery, or alcohol or drug withdrawal.

Because symptoms of delirium and dementia can be similar, input from a family member or caregiver may be important for a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.

Sept. 05, 2015