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Sudden confusion (delirium)

Sudden confusion (delirium) can have many different causes. Get medical help immediately if someone suddenly becomes confused (delirious).

If a person is confused, they may:

Try asking the person their name, their age and today's date. If they seem unsure or cannot answer you, they probably need medical help.


  • stay with the person – tell them who you are and where they are, and keep reassuring them

  • use simple words and short sentences

  • make a note of any medicines they're taking, if possible


  • do not ask lots of questions while they're feeling confused

  • do not stop the person moving around – unless they're in danger

Sudden confusion can be caused by many different things. Do not try to self-diagnose – get medical help if someone suddenly becomes confused or delirious.

Some of the most common causes of sudden confusion include: