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Dignity Health: Diagnosing Sudden Confusion in Arizona

Everyone experiences feelings of confusion from time to time. Hectic schedules, not enough sleep, and stress can all cause momentary lapses in clear thinking and memory. Sudden confusion, also called delirium, is different. When sudden confusion occurs, it means there is a rapid change in mental status, resulting in disorganized or confused thinking and lack of awareness about the surrounding environment. 

At Dignity Health, our emergency doctors work closely with neurology specialists to quickly diagnose and treat sudden confusion in Arizona. If you need to visit an emergency room, use our InQuicker™ online tool to select your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a nurse who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.


Related Symptoms of Sudden Confusion

A person with sudden confusion may also have these symptoms: 

  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation to time or place
  • Reduced alertness or being dazed
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Emotional disturbances

Sudden confusion, or delirium, can often seem like dementia, but each have very different causes. See a doctor at Dignity Health as soon as possible for the right diagnosis.


When to Seek Emergency Medical Care

You should call 9-1-1 for confusion that has appeared suddenly or with these symptoms: 

  • Fast pulse
  • Fever
  • Slow or rapid breathing
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Headache 

Also call 9-1-1 in these situations:

  • Confusion with loss of consciousness
  • Confusion after a head injury
  • Confusion has come on suddenly in someone with diabetes


What Causes Sudden Confusion?

Sudden confusion can be caused by a variety of mental or physical health conditions, including:

To properly assess sudden confusion, doctors at Dignity Health may perform observations, blood tests, and imaging exams to rule out or confirm a diagnosis. With the right diagnosis, a doctor can more accurately plan an effective treatment strategy. If you currently do not have a provider, Find a Doctor today.

Doctors at Dignity Health provide clinical expertise and compassionate care to diagnose sudden confusion in Arizona.