Dementia and Delirium are perplexing conditions both to differentiate and experience. Dementia is a progressive intellectual function and other cognitive skills decline condition which results to a decline in an individual’s performance of their daily activities. Unlike dementia, delirium also known as acute confusional state is an acute medical condition which results in confusion and other disruptions in a person’s thinking and behavior including attention, activity level and perception. It is very important to distinguish between the two conditions because, delirium can be found in a person that already has dementia. A study done by Fick and Mion (2008) indicated that, about 22% of adults with dementia develop delirium.
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It can also be caused by under nutrition, infections, emotional distress, and withdrawal from drugs and illegal use of drugs. Delirium is an acute temporary condition and, if its cause is identified and treated, it only lasts for a couple of months or days. On the other hand, dementia is a chronic, insidious and progressive condition that is incurable; however, some dementia causes such as hydrocephalus and normal pressure are reversible. In addition, the communication abilities of the two conditions vary. In dementia, individuals experience the difficulty of finding the right words during communications. Moreover, the ability to express themselves deteriorates gradually as the disease progresses. Conversely, delirium can notably impair a person’s ability to communicate coherently.
In delirium, the changes in intellect and memory are more abrupt while in dementia, the changes are slowly and are gradually noticed after months or years. The changes in delirium are sudden and cause severe confusion of the brain with unclear and disorganized thinking. In dementia, an individual’s alertness level is typically not affected until the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia patients are always alert and aware to their surroundings. Also, the person’s memory is always affected throughout the disease. Comparably, in delirium, the opposite is true as an individual’s memory is less affected and his/her