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Flashcards in Cognitive Disorders Deck (5)
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A rapidly developing, fluctuating state of reduced awareness in which the following are true:
•• The patient has trouble with awareness (operationally defined as orientation) and
shifting or focusing of attention, and
•• The patient has at least one defect of memory, orientation, perception, visuospatial
skills, or language, and
•• The symptoms are not better explained by coma or another cognitive disorder



caused by trauma to the brain, infections, epilepsy, endocrine disorders, toxicity from medications, poisons, and various other diseases affecting almost any part of the body

Delirium due to another medical condition


A major or mild neurocognitive disorder (NCD) differs from delirium in several ways

•• The time course is relatively slow. Delirium develops across hours or days, an NCD across weeks and months.
•• Although patients with NCDs can have impaired ability to focus or shift attention, it isn’t prominent.
•• The cause of an NCD can usually be found within the central nervous system; the cause of delirium is often elsewhere in the body.
•• Some patients recover from an NCD, but this isn’t the usual course.


This is the most common cause of NCD. It begins gradually and usually progresses inexorably.

Major or mild NCD due to Alzheimer’s disease


Due to vascular brain disease, these patients experience loss of memory and other cognitive abilities. Often this is a stepwise process, with relatively sudden onset and a fluctuating course.

Major or mild vascular NCD