Do you know what is dementia, and what is delirium? Mental illnesses often strike when people begin to age and become more susceptible to certain kinds of cognitive deterioration. These illnesses can be longer-term latent diseases or sudden-onset illnesses requiring immediate medical treatment. One such contrast is between Delirium and Dementia, two related but somewhat dissimilar cognitive disorders. As the two have different treatments, we will profile and contrast the two here.
What Is Delirium?
A sudden onset cognitive disorder, whose effects are immediately apparent. An individual with delirium will appear dazed, may hallucinate and may even become comatose. It dramatically alters the sufferer’s level of consciousness, something that Dementia does not. Delirium often accompanies another illness or disease, such as liver failure or a cognitive illness. Someone suffering from Delirium requires immediate medical attention, and the disease comes and goes. It is treatable, through both pharmacologic and environmental changes.
What Is Dementia?
Differs from delirium primarily due to length of time involved. Where Delirium happens very suddenly and noticeably changes the person, Dementia slowly affects the person, and symptoms (particularly with Alzheimer’s) are often subtle at first. They are often mislabeled, attributed to aging, cataracts, or other, more minor illnesses. A positive diagnosis usually requires symptoms and cognitive disability to advance to a stage where they affect a person’s daily life. Dementia is not treatable in most forms, although the symptoms may be managed by therapeutic, environmental and pharmacologic options.
The care involved with both illnesses differs as well. With Delirium, immediate short-term care is needed, to ensure the individual is safe and comfortable. The client should be under a doctor’s care and home care can help to ensure their safety until they are feeling better. Care for Dementia is a longer-term proposition, as the afflicted individual will slowly lose cognitive function and will need longer-term care in order to continue living.