Psychological and Cognitive Impact of Critical Illness

Psychological and Cognitive Impact of Critical Illness

O. Joseph Bienvenu, Ramona O. Hopkins, and Christina Jones

Print publication date: May 2017

ISBN: 9780199398690

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Neuropsychiatric problems, including posttraumatic stress disorders, depression, and anxiety, after critical illness are receiving increasing attention, particularly in the critical care medicine literature, but all clinicians should be interested in these common problems, given the growing number of critical illness survivors. Patients frequently come out of the intensive care unit (ICU) with horrifying distorted memories and don’t understand what has happened to them. Not only are patients debilitated with cognitive impairment and ICU-acquired weakness, they are traumatized by actual experiences (e.g., shortness of breath and pain) and distorted memories (of being tortured, raped, assaulted, or imprisoned) shaped by delirium. Patients’ family members are also frequently quite distressed, and children surviving critical illnesses appear to have similar experiences to those of adults. This book provides an overview of the nature and epidemiology of cognitive and other psychiatric problems in this growing population, and it addresses the small but growing literature on prevention and early intervention efforts. Addressing these problems successfully will require collaborative interventions, both in-ICU and post-ICU.