“My mom became CRAZY a few days ago – sloppy appearance (she would never be seen without her makeup), cursing (which is not typically her), and was extremely confused (even though she has only shown brief “slips” in her memory). I was shocked to learn it was all from a urinary tract infection. Is this normal?” Robert from Duluth, GA

Thank you so much for your question!

I am sorry to hear of mom’s sharp deterioration of condition – but grateful you were able to get a proper diagnosis and, hopefully, the correct treatment for improvement.

Urinary Tract Infections are one of many causes of a condition called DELIRIUM. Delirium can be caused by alcohol/drug withdrawal, poisons, new medications, pneumonia, infections, and dehydration – just to name a few.

Delirium typically involves a very rapid decline in one’s mental condition including: differences in alertness, sleep patterns, emotions or personality, and thought process.

It can often present with symptoms similar to dementia – but is very different. It takes careful observation to “rule out” delirium if your loved one also has a diagnosis of dementia. This is due to the fact that many will attribute the symptoms as “dementia progression” rather than something quite possibly treatable and reversible.

It is important to first have awareness of the time frame of the observed changes. If the change in behavior and personality happened suddenly or within a few weeks, then it is recommended to quickly see a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment of delirium. Typically, this can be done through a series of blood work, urinalysis, brain scans, etc. until the source of the alternation in cognition is found. Once the source is identified, the treatment goal is to control or reduce the cause of the symptoms, and hopefully returning to baseline.

Wishing the best to you and yours!


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