Motor subtypes of delirium: past, present and future

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;21(1):59-73. doi: 10.1080/09540260802675460.


Clinical subtyping of delirium according to motor-activity profile has considerable potential to account for the heterogeneity of this complex and multifactorial syndrome. Previous work has identified a range of clinically important differences between motor subtypes in relation to detection, causation, treatment experience and prognosis, but studies have been hampered by inconsistent methodology, especially in relation to definition of subtypes. This article considers research to date, including a number of recent studies that have attempted to address these issues and identify a means of achieving greater consistency in approaches to subtyping. Possibilities for future work are discussed and a research plan for the field is outlined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delirium / classification*
  • Delirium / epidemiology*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Psychiatry / trends*
  • Psychomotor Disorders / epidemiology*