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Risk Factors

No single cause of acute confusion/delirium has been identified.

Many different medical conditions can increase the risk of delirium:

Older adult with hands on head, feeling overwhelmed.
  • A significant illness or surgical procedure
  • Depression
  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Use of multiple medications, or addition of new medications
  • Use of an indwelling catheter or physical restraints
  • Exposure to alcohol or specific medications such as benzodiazepines
  • Pain or emotional distress
  • Sustained sleep deprivation
  • Admission to a hospital or an intensive care unit