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Senior’s Health

What causes delirium?

​​​​​​​​There may be more than one possible cause of delirium. Some causes may be:

  • medicine: prescription and over-the-counter (especially if more than 5 types of medicine are taken)
  • dehydration or not drinking enough fluids
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • infection, fever, pain, or an illness that’s getting worse
  • a recent fall
  • not eating well
  • a recent surgery or procedure
  • problems with their blood sugars if they have diabetes
  • a recent change in where they live or where they’re staying
  • withdrawing from alcohol
  • blood levels (e.g., potassium, vitamin B12) that aren’t in the normal range

Current as of: November 21, 2018

Author: Senior’s Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services