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Delirium can be described as a general decrease within various aspects of one's normal levels of cognitive functioning. This typically includes fluctuating attentional deficits and a generally severe disorganization of behavior. It can also involve other symptoms such as changes in energy levels, deficits in perception, an altered sleep-wake cycle, hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.[1][2][3]

Delirium may present itself in three distinct forms. These are referred to in the scientific literature as hyperactive, hypoactive, or mixed forms.[4] In its hyperactive form, it is manifested as severe confusion and disorientation, with a sudden onset and a fluctuating intensity.[5] In its hypoactive (i.e. underactive) form, it is manifested by an equally sudden withdrawal from interaction with the outside world accompanied by symptoms such as drowsiness and general inactivity.[6] Delirium may also occur in a mixed type in which one can fluctuate between both hyper and hypoactive periods.

Delirium is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of deliriant compounds, such as DPH,[7] datura,[8] and benzydamine. However, it can also occur as a result of an extremely wide range of health problems such as urinary tract infections,[9] influenza,[10] and alzheimer’s.[11]

Psychoactive substances

Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:

See also

External links


  1. Delirum definition (Merriam Webster Dictionary) |
  2. What is delirium? (Psychology Dictionary) |
  3. Delirium (PsychologyToday) |
  4. Fong, T. G., Tulebaev, S. R., & Inouye, S. K. (2009). Delirium in elderly adults: diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Nature Reviews Neurology, 5(4), 210.
  5. Delirium ( |
  6. Hosker, C., & Ward, D. (2017). Hypoactive delirium. BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online), 357.
  7. Serio, R. N. (2004). Acute delirium associated with combined diphenhydramine and linezolid use. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 38(1), 62-65.
  8. Hanna, J. P., Schmidley, J. W., & Braselton, J. W. (1992). Datura delirium. Clinical neuropharmacology, 15(2), 109-113.
  9. Balogun, S. A., & Philbrick, J. T. (2014). Delirium, a symptom of UTI in the elderly: fact or fable? a systematic review. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 17(1), 22.
  10. Manjunatha, N., Math, S. B., Kulkarni, G. B., & Chaturvedi, S. K. (2011). The neuropsychiatric aspects of influenza/swine flu: A selective review. Industrial psychiatry journal, 20(2), 83.
  11. Lerner, A. J., Hedera, P., Koss, E., Stuckey, J., & Friedland, R. P. (1997). Delirium in Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer disease and associated disorders, 11(1), 16-20.