Thoughtful Elder WomanAfter Hospitalization: Confusion? Hallucinations? 

A hospital's environment can be extremely stressful for patients; they are often sick or in pain, or both, feel helpless, and are in unfamiliar surroundings with people they don't know. The combination of this, combined with inadequate sleep and sensory deprivation brought on by a lack of sunlight and movement can lead to a condition known as hospital psychosisICU psychosis, or ICU syndrome.

This is a form of delirium, a combination of symptoms that indicate a state of severe mental confusion. Those who experience it often report having hallucinations, slurred or confused speech, and memory loss.


Disorientation, paranoia, anxiety, and restlessness can all be signs of hospital psychosis. The patient may also suffer from hallucinations, confusion, and nightmares. Sometimes people behave in uncharacteristic ways; for example, a sociable and talkative person may withdraw from others, or a kind, well-mannered individual could become difficult, irrationally angry, and even combative. Patients may also pull out catheters or intravenous (IV) lines, struggle with nurses and other caregivers, and try to leave the hospital. In severe cases, the sufferer may even believe that his medical team is trying to hurt, rather than help, him or other patients.