Table 5.1DSM-IV and ICD-10 Diagnostic Criteria (American Psychiatric Association 1994; World Health Organisation 1992)

DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)
In order to be diagnosed with delirium, as a consequence of a general medical condition a patient must show all of the four features listed below:
ICD-10 Diagnostic Criteria (World Health Organisation, 1992)
For a definite diagnosis, symptoms, mild or severe, should be present in each one of the following (five) areas:
1. A disturbance of consciousness (i.e. reduced clarity of awareness of the environment) is evident, with reduced ability to focus, sustain or shift attentiona) Impairment of consciousness and attention (on a continuum from clouding to coma; reduced ability to direct, focus, sustain, and shift attention)
2. There is a change in cognition (such as memory deficit, disorientation, language disturbance) or the development of a perceptual disturbance that is not better accounted for by a pre-existing or evolving dementia.b) Global disturbance of cognition (perceptual distortions, illusions and hallucinations – most often visual; impairment of abstract thinking and comprehension, with or without transient delusions, but typically with some degree of incoherence; impairment of immediate recall and of recent memory but with relatively intact remote memory; disorientation for time as well as, in more severe cases, for place and person)
3. The disturbance develops over a short period of time (usually hours to days) and tends to fluctuate during the course of the day.
4. There is evidence from the history, physical examination, or laboratory findings that the disturbance is caused by the direct physiological consequences of a general medical condition.
c) Psychomotor disturbances (hypo- or hyperactivity and unpredictable shifts from one to the other; increased reaction time; increased or decreased flow of speech; enhanced startle reaction)
d) Disturbance of the sleep-wake cycle (insomnia or, in severe cases, total sleep loss or reversal of the sleep-wake cycle; daytime drowsiness; nocturnal worsening of symptoms; disturbing dreams or nightmares, which may continue as hallucinations after awakening)
e) Emotional disturbances, e.g. depression, anxiety or fear, irritability, euphoria, apathy, or wondering perplexity.

From: 5, Epidemiology

Cover of Delirium
Delirium: Diagnosis, Prevention and Management [Internet].
NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 103.
National Clinical Guideline Centre (UK).
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