CPCP: Delirium and Depression by Medical Students

Amanda Deutsch

Amanda Deutsch

Sara Stucker

Sara Stucker

Alex Wickencamp

Alex Wickencamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got a great Clinical Problems in Consultation Psychiatry (CPCP) by the medical students on our team: Sara Stucker, Amanda Deutsch, and Alex Wickencamp. I frequently get a question from my colleagues in medicine and surgery about treating depression in hospitalized patients. Frequently I find they have hypoactive delirium rather than depression. And I’m a broken record telling my consultees that it’s virtually impossible to assess any primary psychiatric disorder in the setting of delirium. Delirium is a brain injury which can mimic almost any psychiatric disorder.

On the other hand, we are prompted to ask the question, what does the medical literature have to say about the connection between the two?

I’ve seen some delirium review papers which list depression as a risk factor for delirium. Sara, Alex, and Amanda found a couple of papers on the subject and it turns out there is hardly any literature on it. The studies compared in the one systematic review had different methodologies, making it hard to draw conclusions except that it was difficult to make recommendations about what to do, if anything, about what appeared to be depression in the setting of delirium.

Another paper they found was more intriguing and the study found an association between a couple of depressive symptoms and delirium which actually predicted delirium!

What was even more fun about this CPCP was how engaged and excited the students were and what a joy that was for me and the residents. I’ve always been impressed by how well medical students do on this project.

We should clone them.

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