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Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of delirium usually start suddenly, over a few hours or a few days. They often come and go.

Older adult with hands over eyes, background is distorted, indicating disorientation.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Changes in alertness (usually more alert in the morning, less alert at night)
  • Changing levels of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Disorganized thinking (talking in a way that doesn't make sense)
  • Disrupted sleep patterns, excess sleepiness
  • Emotional changes: anger, agitation, depression, irritability, overexcitement
  • Hallucinations and/or delusions
  • Incontinence
  • Memory problems, especially with short-term memory
  • Trouble concentrating