Delirium vs dementia
Delirium Vs Dementia

Delirium Vs Dementia

Delirium Vs Dementia both cause memory impairment. However, there is still a difference between the two. Delirium is a sudden change in the brain that triggers confusion, while dementia is a decrease in the ability of brain function.

Delirium and dementia are two conditions that may be difficult to distinguish, as both can lead to decreased memory, poor thinking ability, decreased communication ability, and impaired function. However, when reviewed further, delirium and dementia actually have many differences. Let’s find out more below.

Delirium and dementia may be very difficult to distinguish and a person can experience both. In fact, delirium often occurs in people with dementia. However, having an episode of delirium does not necessarily mean a person has dementia. In order to better identify the two conditions, be aware of the following differences in delirium and dementia:

Recognizing the differences forgetfulness delirium Vs dementia

Often, delirium occurs in patients with forgetful disease with dementia. This makes it difficult to identify the patient’s condition: is it delirium, dementia, or even both?

Until now, there are still no laboratory tests that can be used to distinguish delirium Vs dementia. However, interviews and in-depth physical examinations can help distinguish between delirium and dementia.

Here are some differences between the two.


The onset of delirium occurs in a short period of time, whereas dementia usually begins with relatively small symptoms that gradually worsen over time.


The ability of delirium patients to stay focused or maintain attention is significantly impaired. Whereas in a person in the early stages of dementia will generally remain alert.


The appearance of delirium symptoms can fluctuate significantly and often throughout the day. While people with dementia experience better and worse times of the day, their memory and thinking skills remain at fairly constant levels throughout the day.


Dementia: The causes of dementia are usually diseases such as Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or related disorders.

Delirium: Delirium is usually triggered by certain diseases, such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, dehydration, use of illegal drugs, or withdrawal from drugs or alco**hol. Drugs that interact with each other can also cause delirium, so make sure your doctor knows all the medications, supplements, and vitamins you’re taking, even if it’s a natural ingredient.

Communication Skills

Dementia: Dementia sufferers may have difficulty finding the right word, and the ability to express themselves gradually decreases as the disease progresses.

Delirium: Delirium can be significant and does not normally interfere with a person’s ability to speak coherently or appropriately.


Dementia is usually an incurable chronic and progressive disease. While delirium can last for several days, even several months. Delirium is generally temporary when the cause is identified and treated.

Patient Activities

Dementia tends not to affect the activity level of the person until the next stage. Whereas people with delirium often become overactive (hyper and restless) or less active (lethargic and less responsive) when compared to normal.


There are currently several drugs approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia. These medications do not cure dementia, but can sometimes slow the progression of symptoms, including memory loss, poor judgment, behavioral changes and much more. Commonly used drugs for Alzheimer’s disease include donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine.

While delirium usually requires immediate treatment by a doctor. Because it is usually caused by physical illness or infection, drugs, such as antibiotics are often used to overcome delirium.

Delirium in People With Dementia

Distinguishing between delirium Vs dementia is important; However, a more difficult task may be identifying delirium with someone who already has dementia. According to a study by Fick and Flanagan, about 22% of older persons in communities with dementia experience delirium. However, that figure skyrocketed to 89% for those with dementia and hospitalized

Knowing how to identify delirium in an already confused person is essential for proper care and faster recovery. Superimposed delirium in someone with dementia was also associated with a more than double risk of death compared to those with delirium or dementia alone.

Last Updated on April 22, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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