Incidence and correlates of delirium in a West African mental health clinic
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence of delirium in those patients presenting to a psychiatric clinic in Nigeria and to examine if any demographic or clinical variables were correlated with this diagnosis. METHOD: A prospective survey design; 264 consecutive new referrals to a psychiatric clinic in Nigeria were assessed for the presence of delirium using a standardised diagnostic scale. Data was analysed for normality and appropriate statistical test employed to examine the relationships between the presence of delirium and demographic and clinical variables. RESULTS: Of individuals presenting to the mental health clinics, 18.2% had delirium. No demographic variable was significant regarding the presence or absence of delirium. With regard to clinical variables duration of current symptoms, referral source and the presence of comorbid physical illness were significantly associated with the presence of delirium. Most delirium was due to infections. Nearly all patients with delirium were prescribed psychotropic medication (95.2%), and most attributed their symptoms to a spiritual cause. CONCLUSION(S): Delirium presents more commonly to psychiatry services in the less developed world compared to the West. Development efforts should focus on recognition and management of delirium to improve outcomes and maximise resources.
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