Describe the DSM-IV criteria, clinical presentation, etiology, and treatment for delirium.

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currerbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The criteria for delirium is determining whether the subject has "disturbed consciousness," a "change in cognition," "fluctuating disturbances," and "evidence [that the] disturbances are caused by the direct physiological consequences of a general medical condition." 

The patient may present with some or all of the following: Limited awareness of his or her environment, cognitive problems, and marked behavioral changes. 

Delirium may be the result of one or more causes, such as substance abuse, medication side effects, and physiological/neurological problems. 

Treatment can begin only after the underlying causes are determined, such as stopping a medication or abuse/use of narcotics, or treating an infection.