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Overview of Delirium and Dementia

By

Juebin Huang

, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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Topic Resources

Although delirium and dementia may occur together, they are quite different:

  • Delirium begins suddenly, causes fluctuations in mental function, and is usually reversible.

  • Dementia begins gradually, progresses slowly, and is usually irreversible.

Also, the two disorders affect mental function differently:

  • Delirium affects mainly attention.

  • Dementia affects mainly memory.

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