Confusion: Causes, description, Treatment

Head | Neurology | Confusion (Disease)

Confusion: Description

Confusion represents an altered mental status or a sudden change in mental functioning. It has many causes including: infection, adverse drug reactions, Alzheimers, low blood pressure, brain tumor, bleeding in the brain, or hydrocephalus. Also known as altered mental status.

Confusion is the state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind about something, is a change in mental status in which a person is not able to think with his or her usual level of clarity. Frequently, confusion leads to the loss of ability to recognize people and or places, or tell time and the date. Feelings of disorientation are common in confusion, and decision-making ability is impaired.

Causes and Risk factors

Confusion may arise suddenly or develop gradually over time. Confusion has multiple causes, including injuries, medical conditions, medications, environmental factors, and substance abuse. Other include: alcohol intoxication, brain tumor, concussion, fever, head trauma or head injury, illness in an elderly person, illness in a person with existing neurological disease such as a stroke, infections, lack of sleep, low blood sugar, low levels of oxygen, medications, nutritional deficiencies, especially niacin, thiamine, vitamin C, or vitamin B12, seizures, sudden drop in body temperature (hypothermia). The most common causes of drug induced acute confusion are dopaminergic drugs used for Parkinsons disease, diuretics, tricyclic or tetracyclic antidepressants and benzodiazepines. The elderly and especially those with pre-existing dementia are at most risk for drug induced acute confusional states. Confusion is a symptom, and it may range from mild to severe and it may come with disoriented, drowsy, hyperactive, or anxious. In severe cases, the person may have hallucinations, feelings of paranoia, and a state of delirium.

Confusion: Treatment and Diagnosis

The goal of therapy is to reverse the offending problem, support the vital signs, and protect the from self harm. Treatment may include: oxygen, sedation, anti-nausea medications, mechanical intubation and intravenous fluids. If an infection is suspected antibiotics may be prescribed

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