Patient Comments: ICU Psychosis - Symptoms


What symptoms did you or someone you know experience with an ICU psychosis? How long did they last? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Mook, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 29

My hospital ICU psychosis manifested after bowel surgery at a high altitude. Night 1 it was just a slightly disturbing nightmare. Night 2 it was a frightening nightmare. Day 3 I started hearing voices that told me to tell no one because I'd be deemed crazy. It went on to open the universe to me; to tell me I needed to die to be a soldier for the forces of good in the universe, and that I only had 3 hours to live and my heart would go out. It told me to pull out my IVs. The paranoia lasted for 2 days after release.

Comment from: Chica, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 17

I was in the ICU at least 10 days and due to ICU psychosis thought I had been kidnapped and was being prepped for surgery to be sold to the sex trade. I couldn't remember any visits from family and all the doctors and nurses were foreigners, reinforcing the fear that I might be kidnapped. I tried escaping and pulling out tubes/IVs when staff wasn't around. I was septic, and in and out of consciousness.

Comment from: Ljbj, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 01

My husband had quadruple heart bypass surgery a week ago. He started experiencing these bizarre symptoms of ICU psychosis when he woke up. He would be yelling, thinking the nurses were trying to poison him; thinking I had him put there and wouldn't let him come home. He had anger, agitation, and paranoia. The nurses complained to me that he was yelling too much and disturbing the other patients. Like I had any control over his behavior. He slowly improved on days 3 and 4. On the 5th day he was back in ICU and it started all over again.

Comment from: SCS, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 07

I was gone for almost a month, ICU psychosis brought on after abdomen bleed following gall bladder removal. Intense pain and lack of sleep brought on psychosis. I was not myself, I said and did things totally out of character. The dreams/hallucinations, some based on reality as it went by me. For instance the person visiting, would be the main character to that minute's dream. Friends did not recognize the changed personality. I was released to rehabilitation, and I was shocked to learn so much time had passed, I suddenly became aware that my Lyme medicine had been dropped. That could explain my intense arthritic pain in every cell, and possibly the delayed recovery from psychosis. However, I have seen three doctors since discharge. All seem in agreement, I was given a miracle. I was in the psychotic state much too long. And I did have a mighty strong team of support. So my advice if you have a loved one with this diagnosis, don't give up, loved ones' support saved me.

Comment from: scaredspouse, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 06

My husband had an 8 hour surgery on his back and within 2 days was put on a ventilator for almost a week. He took forever to wake up but when he did it was always a different hallucination and some kept reoccurring and caused him great distress (2 boys purposely run over by a train engineer). He also thought someone had shot up his truck. Three days off the ventilator he is still asking me if I am sure his truck was not full of holes. The nurses were conspiring to do something to his beloved dog. He is only 55 years old. This is worrying me that he will not recover from his ICU psychosis. Most of his delirium can be traced to noises he hears and his brain is trying to make sense of them but some crazy story comes out instead. When I'm with him he is okay and trusts me when I tell him he was dreaming and that everything is okay. The minute I leave he is confrontational with the nurses. He has had many, many surgeries over the years and never, ever has the delirium lasted more than a couple hours.

Comment from: t, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 07

My mom was in ICU on ventilator for 3 days back in October 2017, and she came through it ok. The only thing I'm wondering is why her speech is slurred when she rushes to talk or explain something. She saw a doctor today that says it's because of the tubes down her throat, but I'm not buying that for one minute. My dad was in and out of ICU and on a ventilator every visit there and he came off it able to talk, no problem. The ICU doctors kept asking us if she was like this before, and we looked at each other and said no, she was normal. They all insisted that her tests came back negative for stroke but I'm still thinking her slurred speech has to be neurological. Something is off with her brain that has to do with speech, and I wonder if it is ICU psychosis.

Comment from: Daughter261, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: September 28

My mother is currently in the ICU. She has become extremely paranoid. She thinks the staff and her family are trying to kill her. She won't eat or drink for fear everything is poisoned. The doctor suggested this could be ICU psychosis.

Comment from: Buffy, 65-74 (Patient) Published: March 17

I was in an ICU on a vent for 4 days and then in a step down unit. I have little memory of events bot many, many nightmares and hallucinations. It is 4 months since but I still have pervasive thoughts and nightmares and in very flattened mood.

Comment from: tmj, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: November 19

My father is currently in an ICU and I'm online trying to figure out what's going on with his mental state. He's had a few back surgeries and he has never behaved the way he is this time around. He has a catheter but can't understand why he's not allowed to get up and go to the bathroom. He keeps trying to get up when he's not supposed to, he's pulled out his IV, has slurred/broken speech, and he wants to go home so badly but looks like he'll be staying longer than anticipated. It is heartbreaking to see him this way. And how will he deal with going into a live-in rehabilitation since he'll be in no shape to take care of himself. I know by his eyes that he's 'not all there' mentally and I'm hoping that he'll be doing better soon but concerned about how this hospital stay will affect his recovery.

Comment from: vanbrandt, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 07

I went into atrial fibrillation, lost oxygen to the brain, had pacemaker put in, was dehydrated and the dye for the procedure caused stage 4 renal failure. They flew me to another hospital and I was sedated for 17 days and put on dialysis. When I came to, I quickly became convinced by the TV (a voice) that members of the staff had killed my friend and were trying to kill me and my family to shut us up. I told my family to get out of there. I pulled my gastro-intestinal tube out. I was flinging DNA any where I could, so forensics could use it, many other things as well. Some family members would humor my delusion (which only encouraged it) and I had refused further medication. Finally my girlfriend shook me and asked if I thought she was trying to kill me. I said no I trusted her. She asked me to let them treat me. I told her I believed she was being naive, but would die for her. They gave me Seroquel. By the time they discharged me I had come out of the ICU psychosis and was myself, but I still have fears 1 and 1/2 years later of ever possibly going back to that dark place in my mind.

Comment from: rickseesthings, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 12

I had visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations lasting nearly 3 weeks due to ICU psychosis.

Comment from: 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 05

My mother was in ICU for four days and upon moving to a regular room she developed extreme paranoia and was very agitated. She wanted to call the police because the medical staff was trying to kill her. She told several family members they were mean to put her in a place like this, she was surely going to die. It was very scary to see such a change in her mental state.

Comment from: linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 10

ICU psychosis is a most overlooked side effect and is contributing to early Alzheimer's. I hope you folks are ready when we live another 40 years but can't quite eat our eggs without help.

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