Differential diagnosis of agitation and confusion

Differential diagnosis of agitation and confusion
Delirium (acute confusional state) Emotional reactions Psychosis Dementia
Prevalence Common Common Rare as a new presentation in an acute hospital setting Extremely rare
Onset Acute or subacute Acute or acute-onchronic Insidious
Course Fluctuating, usually resolves over days to weeks Progressive
Conscious level Often impaired, can fluctuate rapidly Intact Clear until later stages
Cognitive defects Poor short-term memory, poor attention span Absent Absent Poor short-term memory, attention less affected until severe
Hallucinations Common, especially visual None Auditory; third person Often absent
Delusions Fleeting, nonsystematized None Fixed and systematized Often absent
Psychomotor activity Increased, reduced or unpredictable Typically increased Can be normal

Source: Forsyth R, Newton R, eds. Paediatric Neurology (Oxford Specialist Handbooks in Paediatrics). 3 ed. ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; 2017.

  • neurolists/differential_diagnosis_of_agitation_and_confusion.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/02/02 18:26
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