Delirium as a Mental Problem


Delirium can be said to be a neuropsychological state where there is an acute confusion in the mind of an individual (Reed, 1991). Delirium though is not a medical disease, it is mental disorder that is characterized by a variety if factors and symptoms. Most prominently, the individual who experiences the Delirium state in their mind always experiences an abrupt confusion of the mind and the person may drastically not be in a position to remember what is taking place in their environment if there is an immediate shift in the environmental conditions.

These states mean that the person would experiences a much severe disorganization of behaviour. Other characteristics of the Delirium condition include either hyper reactive state of the individual or hypo reactive behaviors (Soldán, 2003). In some other individuals, both the hyper reactive and the hypo reactive conditions can be manifested. Hallucinations and delusions are also common occurrences in such persons who are experiencing delirium, in addition to the occasional abnormal sleep- a wake cycles (Soldán, 2003).

Causes of delirium

The causes of delirium are also varied. Studies have shown that the major causes of this mental condition are closely related to the nonfunctioning of the brain conditions. The nonfunctioning of the brain as the major organ of the body can therefore be categorized into various components. These may be outlined to include critical mental illness, neurological disorders, substance withdrawal, circulatory problems; gross structural brain did orders among others. It is worth noting that in all these cases, the underlying principle is the destruction of the brain and the brain system functionality (Soldán, 2003).

The main and major cause of delirium is associated with the patients who are taken care of in the intensive care units with critical illnesses. Studies show that for patients who leave ICU, less amount of care is given to them to prevent the advancement of delirium top such patients (Reed, 1991). Surgical and the physically ventilated medical cases addressed in the intensive care units have shown that they have a likely hood of developing delirium of up to 80%. The patients taken care of in the intensive care units but with non ventilated process have up to 70% chances of experiencing delirium (Reed, 1991). These are very critical figures and effective control management processes should therefore be in place to ensure that patients with critical illness who are made to recover in the intensive care units are well taken care of to prevent the acquisition of the said conditions.

In some other situations, delirium have been noted and evidenced by people who are drug addicts at the time of withdrawals (Reed, 1991). When a person who had been drug addicts for longer durations are alienated from the drugs and made to recover naturally. They do experience memory losses. Benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawals are some of the most recognized drugs which have caused delirium when a person quits using them. However, other studies have shown that some other drugs, both the illicit and the licit drugs have been noted to cause delirium when a person withdraws from them (Reed, 1991).

Apart from the use of drugs, gross structural disorders of the brain as well as the neurological disorders have been also confirmed to be among the major causes of delirium (Reed, 1991). Gross brain structural disorders may result from the physical damages to the brain like the ones resulting from stroke. Tumors and spontaneous bleeding in the brain have also been noted to result to the physical damages to the brain and consequently leading to the development of delirium (Reed, 1991). Head traumas like the traumatic bleeding and concussions are some of the well known causes of brain damage and delirium.

Moreover, some other causes of delirium have also been noted from other factors. Notably, intracranial bleeding is one of the major causes of the development of delirium (Reed, 1991). In addition, neurological disorders and insufficient sleep are also known to cause the condition. All these conditions which have been advanced to cause delirium have one thing in common. They all interfere with the normal functioning of the brain and the resultant effect being the mental memory loss to the person.

Treatments of delirium

The treatment methods which can be advanced to treat the delirium condition majorly depend on the nature and symptoms of the occurrence. This can be viewed as the first aid mechanisms which should be put in order so that the person can be brought back to normal conditions (Soldán, 2003). In cases where the patient become hyper reactive for example, they need to be restrained and contained to avoid harming themselves and others. The delirium caused by the physical damage to the brain should first of all see the person being relieved from the injurious conditions and then giving them the necessary first aid.

The second phase of the treatment of delirium involves the diagnosis and the actual treatments. This situation involves the provision of the optimum conditions to the brain to ensure that the necessary conditions for the normal brain functionality are achieved. Ensuring that there is enough oxygen to the brain is one of the diagnoses which the person can be made to undergo.  Importantly, it is worth noting that the treatment of delirium also focuses on the nature and cause of delirium which the person requires.


Delirium is one of the conditions which many people have not come to realize. It is therefore important that each and every person get informed of the menace. Early identification and administration of the required condition is very critical in the control and treatment of delirium as a condition. This would ensure that les people get affected by delirium.