Marissa Beal, D.O., Karin Neufeld, M.D.


  • Concurrent disturbances of both consciousness and cognition resulting in disturbances of attention (and additional memory, visuospatial and/or executive dysfunction) often accompanied by changes in psychomotor behavior, perception, emotion, and sleep-wake cycle.
  • Duration is variable, but onset is often abrupt, usually over the course of hours to days, and ranging in severity.
    • Can persist for weeks to months (specifier of persistent in DSM-5).
  • Delirium is a clinical syndrome indicating underlying pathology.
    • It is not a disease unto itself.
  • Delirium is classified under the neurocognitive disorders (NCDs) section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5)[1].

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Last updated: April 3, 2022