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Ok first of all, both delirium and dementia refer to a state of mental confusion. There are a lot of similarities in symptoms. They primarily involve confusion, memory loss, disorganized thinking, spatio-temporal disorientation, reduced attention span blah blah blah. Patients also tend to have the same types of behavioral problems or issues including sleep disorders, purposeless activity and their behavior is inappropriate or even aggressive. Onset and progression-delirium has an acute/sudden onset, fast progression although it is temporary and symptoms ease on treatment while dementia has a very slow and progressive onset and progresses gradually Delirium typically is caused by a physiological problem such as substance abuse, liver failure, infection or congestive heart failure. Dementia on the other hand is caused by neurological degeneration including Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative diseases. Dementia slowly eats away at memory as in the case of alzhemier where the patient slowly forgets every thing he/she has ever known but delirium does not.