Agitation and anxiety occur frequently in critically ill patients and are associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Sedatives are commonly administered to ICU patients to treat agitation and its negative consequences. Sedatives can be titrated to maintain either light sedation, in which the patient is still able to be aroused and follow commands, or deep sedation, in which the patient is unresponsive to stimuli.
Pain, Agitation, and Delirium
Delirium is characterized by the acute onset of cerebral dysfunction with a change in baseline mental status, inattention, and either disorganized thinking or an altered level of consciousness. Symptoms commonly associated with delirium include sleep disturbances and abnormal psychomotor activity. Emotional disturbances such as fear, anxiety, anger, depression, apathy, and euphoria are also common.