Dementia and delirium can cause impaired functioning, memory loss, poor judgment and a problem in speech; however, there are many differences between the two. Even though delirium and dementia can manifest with similar symptoms, they are two different conditions. This is because, an individual can suffer from both delirium and dementia and therefore, it is very vital to differentiate between the two. In addition, delirium is reversible while dementia is a permanent condition. Therefore, differentiating the two will help in the quick treatment of delirium.
The causes of the two conditions are similar in one way or another at the same time they vary. Delirium is caused by acute illness or drug toxicity while dementia is caused by anatomic changes in the brain that are generally irreversible. Dementia is a condition caused by Alzheimer’s disease, lewy body dementia, vascular dementia prontotemporal dementia and other related disease. It can also be caused by emotional illnesses, metabolic disorders, traum...
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...dical conditions. The two conditions coexist and this complicates the differential diagnosis in patients with cognitive impairment. Patients with cognitive dysfunction should sort out potential causes of their impairment because; dementia and delirium exhibit similar symptoms and therefore, require distinct treatment strategies. Dementia and delirium are characterized by cognitive decline whereby the brain function changes. They both affect an individual’s attention, thinking and personality.
Whaley, L. & Breitner, J. (2002) Dementia. London: Health Press.
Fick, D.M. & Mion, L.C. (2008). Delirium Superimposed on Dementia. American Journal of Nursing, 108(1), 52-60.
Ajilore, O.A and Kumar, A. (2004). Delirium and Dementia. FOCUS, 2, 210-220.
Arnold, E. (2004). Sorting out the 3 D’s: Delirium, dementia, depression. Nursing, 34 (6), 36–42.
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