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Disorientation Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Disorientation. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. May have to obtain the history from family, friends or carers
  2. How long have you noticed the disorientation?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic. Delirium is an acute confusional state due to many causes e.g. infection, drug intoxication, alcohol withdrawal, liver failure, kidney failure, hypoxia (reduced oxygen levels in the blood), low blood sugar, stroke, heart attack or head injury. If the onset is chronic a diagnosis of dementia may be more likely.

  3. How are you disorientated?

    Why: the commonly used categories for assessment of orientation are time, place and person. Impairments usually develop in this order, and if treatable, usually clear in the reverse order.

  4. At what time of the day are the symptoms worse?

    Why: e.g. disorientation symptoms worse in the late afternoon and at night are typical of delirium.

  5. Was there a known precipitating factor to the disorientation symptoms?

    Why: e.g. physical illness, recent surgery, starting a different medication, abstaining from alcohol - may all cause delirium and thus disorientation.

  6. History of head injury?

    Why: may suggest subdural haematoma, extradural haematoma or concussion.

  7. Recent heat exposure?

    Why: may suggest heat exhaustion or heat stroke as a cause of disorientation.

  8. Past psychiatric history?

    Why: e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, anxiety attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative disorder - may suggest a psychiatric cause of disorientation.

  9. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. diabetes mellitus (low blood sugar from insulin or hypoglycemic medications may cause disorientation), epilepsy (seizures may cause disorientation), stroke, transient ischemic attacks.

  10. Medications?

    Why: certain medications may cause intoxication and consequent disorientation e.g. anticonvulsants, anticholinergics, anti-anxiety medications, opiates; or may cause disorientation on drug withdrawal; certain medications may interact and cause adverse reactions including disorientation; insulin can cause low blood sugar and disorientation; aspirin given to children with a viral infection may precipitate Reye's syndrome which may cause disorientation.

  11. Risk factors for stroke?

    Why: e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, family history - can help assess risk of multi-infarct dementia or delirium from acute stoke or transient ischemic attack.

  12. Possible poisoning?

    Why: e.g. neurotoxic shellfish poisoning can cause disorientation.

  13. Family history?

    Why: e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, stroke, heart attack, psychotic disorders.

  14. Alcohol history?

    Why: to assess chance of alcohol withdrawal, alcohol abuse, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, hepatic encephalopathy, subdural or extradural haematoma due to head injury.

  15. Illicit drug use history?

    Why: e.g. amphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, PCP - may cause disorientation.

  16. Sexual history?

    Why: may determine risk of HIV and syphilis infection which may cause cognitive impairment with disorientation.

  17. Symptoms of delirium?

    Why: e.g. impaired conscious level with onset over hours or days, disorientation in time and/or place, unusually quite, drowsy, agitated, delusions, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations.

  18. Symptoms of dementia?

    Why: e.g. impaired memory, impaired judgement and thinking, impaired verbal fluency and impaired ability to perform complex tasks. Personality may change, impulse control may be lost and personal care deteriorates. If onset of disorientation is chronic consider diagnosis of dementia.

  19. Symptoms of anxiety?

    Why: e.g. nervousness, shakiness, tremor, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, poor concentration, heart palpitations, racing heart, sweating, dizziness, diarrhea, lump in throat and frequency of urination - anxiety and anxiety attacks may cause disorientation.

  20. Fever?

    Why: can suggest any infection that may cause delirium or meningitis, encephalitis, brain abscess or brain hemorrhage.

  21. Symptoms of stroke?

    Why: e.g. limb weakness or paralysis, facial muscle weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech and swallow.

  22. Headache?

    Why: may suggest brain cancer or acute stroke.

  23. Psychotic symptoms?

    Why: e.g. delusions, hallucinations and disordered thinking - may suggest schizophrenia or bipolar disorder but these symptoms may also be present with delirium.

  24. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?

    Why: e.g. symptoms follow exposure to an unusual stress such as a battle, being attacked or raped or a natural disaster. Symptoms include recurrent and intrusive recollections of the stress, recurrent distressing dreams of the event, acting or feeling as if the event was recurring, intense distress on exposure to resembling events, persistent avoidance of events that symbolize or resemble the trauma, increased arousal symptoms such as insomnia, exaggerated startle response, poor concentration and moodiness - Post-traumatic stress disorder may present with disorganization.

  25. Seizures?

    Why: may suggest epilepsy, brain cancer or metastasis, encephalitis, stroke.

  26. Balance symptoms?

    Why: see balance symptoms.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Disorientation:

The following list of conditions have 'Disorientation' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Disorientation or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F H I J K L M N P R S T V W

Conditions listing medical complications: Disorientation:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Disorientation' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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