Is it delirium, depression, or dementia?
Known as the 3 D’s these three can be mistaken for each other and inappropriately treated or ignored. A person can have more than one D and it is important to determine which one is causing the person’s change in behaviour as some are treatable and reversible.
Delirium is a medical emergency which is characterized by an acute and fluctuating onset of confusion, disturbances in attention, disorganized thinking and/or decline in level of consciousness.
Depression is a term used when a cluster of depressive is present on most days, for most of the time, for at least 2 weeks and when the symptoms are of such intensity that they are out of the ordinary for that individual.
Dementia is a gradual and progressive decline in mental processing ability that affects short-term memory, communication, language, judgment, reasoning, and abstract thinking.