U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 35-year-old member asked:

What causes someone to have acute delirium?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Maureen Nash
Geriatric Psychiatry 25 years experience
An illness: Delirium is a syndrome that involves confusion, poor attention, and other symptoms. It is most often seen in seeverely ill people who are hospitalized. Drug use and drug withdrawl can also cause it. People with dementia and other brain illnesses are at highest risk.
Dr. Ruth Seaman
A Verified Doctoranswered
Psychiatry 27 years experience
Depends: We believe delirium occurs when the brain cannot maintain its normal activities when overwhelmed by metabolic demands or other variables which exceed the brain's capacity to compensate for. Brain with less reserve capacity are more vulnerable. Not entirely unlike acute heart failure. This is different than delirium tremens which is caused by neurochemical changes from drug/etoh withdrawl.

Related questions

A 45-year-old member asked:
Can decreased cardiac output cause somebody delirium?
3 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
A 37-year-old member asked:
Why does a urinary tract infection cause delirium?
3 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
A 35-year-old member asked:
Why do urinary tract infections cause delirium?
2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Last updated Sep 28, 2016
Connect with a U.S. board-certified doctor by text or video anytime, anywhere.
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership


Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.