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Dementia is often confused with Delirium



 gradual onset

 abrupt or recent onset

 generally progressive and irreversible in nature as less than 5% of dementias are reversible [3]

 generally reversible in nature as approximately 90% of delirium cases are reversible [3]

 non-fluctuating with a normal level of consciousness

 fluctuating symptoms

 effects one’s ability to function independently

 hallucinations and delusions may be present

 is not a normal part of the aging process

 patients with an underlying history of dementia are more susceptible to developing delirium

For more comparisons between dementia and delirium, follow this link.

Don't forget - memory loss in isolation does not always mean dementia!


3. Argonin, Marc E. Dementia Defined. In: Carlat, Daniel J, editor. Practical guides in psychiatry-dementia. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004. p. 2-14.

All references for this section