Patient Comments: ICU Psychosis - Symptoms

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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ICU Psychosis - Treatment Question: What types of treatment, including therapy and medication, were used for an ICU psychosis in you or a relative?

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