Definition of Acute Confusional State (Delirium)

In this article, we will discuss the Definition of Acute Confusional State (Delirium). So, let’s get started.


Acute Confusional State or Delirium is a state of reduced mental clarity, coherence, comprehension and thinking compounded by inattention (attention deficit) and disorientation. As this state worsens, there is deterioration in memory, perception, comprehension, decision making, language, apraxia, and visuospatial functions.

Two subtypes based on psychomotor features have been described:

I. Hyperactive type: It is characterized by agitation, hallucination, hyperarousal, and automatic instability. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (Delirium tremens) is a classical example.

II. Hypoactive type: In this patients are withdrawn and quiet. There is apathy and psychomotor slowing. Benzodiazepine intoxication is an example of this type.

In spite of two distinct types, most patients fall in between these two types and fluctuate from one type to another.

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