Delir - Prevention

How to prevent a delirium

A delirium triggered by several risk factors can often not be averted. However, as delirious syndromes are so common, intensive care and surveillance of a hospital patient often detects delirium early on and initiates early treatment. Because delirium often occurs during an unplanned operation or after taking certain medications, special attention is given to signs of a change in consciousness in these situations.

Prevention of alcohol withdrawal

An alcohol withdrawal delirium can be prevented by securing or eliminating the suspicion of alcoholism through careful questioning of the person or family members. During the treatment, either a sufficient amount of alcohol is then added - this procedure is only possible in the case of milder diseases and is not carried out everywhere - or a drug-assisted withdrawal treatment is initiated.

What is the danger of a delirium?

Because the delirium is a qualitative disturbance of consciousness and the affected person is no longer master of his senses, he can hurt himself and others. Perhaps he misjudges the situation in which he finds himself (eg that he is in hospital as a patient), distrusts the people around him and wants to run away.

As long as the cause of the delirium has not been clarified, a delirium is treated like an emergency, meaning that the person is hospitalized if he is not yet in the hospital. There follows the cause research and then the targeted therapy of the delirium. Most delirium forms after elimination of the cause and intensive treatment within a few days.

Especially dangerous: the alcohol elixir

The situation is different with the alcohol delirium. If an alcohol elirir remains untreated, mortality is around 25%. If therapy is not initiated promptly and in full, there is also a risk of serious sequelae. These sequelae, Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome, mainly affect the brain. Important nerves develop, if at all, only partially back, so that the consequential damages lead to death in about 20% of those affected. If the alcohol consumption continues after a delirium, there is a high probability that another delirium will develop.

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