ICD-9 Diagnosis Code 780.97

Altered mental status

Diagnosis Code 780.97

ICD-9: 780.97
Short Description: Altered mental status
Long Description: Altered mental status
This is the 2014 version of the ICD-9-CM diagnosis code 780.97

Code Classification
  • Symptoms, signs, and ill-defined conditions (780–799)
    • Symptoms (780-789)
      • 780 General symptoms

Information for Patients


Delirium is a condition that features rapidly changing mental states. It causes confusion and changes in behavior. Besides falling in and out of consciousness, there may be problems with

  • Attention and awareness
  • Thinking and memory
  • Emotion
  • Muscle control
  • Sleeping and waking

Causes of delirium include medications, poisoning, serious illnesses or infections, and severe pain. It can also be part of some mental illnesses or dementia.

Delirium and dementia have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell them apart. They can also occur together. Delirium starts suddenly and can cause hallucinations. The symptoms may get better or worse, and can last for hours or weeks. On the other hand, dementia develops slowly and does not cause hallucinations. The symptoms are stable, and may last for months or years.

Delirium tremens is a serious type of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. It usually happens to people who stop drinking after years of alcohol abuse.

People with delirium often, though not always, make a full recovery after their underlying illness is treated.

  • Delirium
  • Delirium tremens



Also called: Senility

Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.

Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia. However, memory loss by itself does not mean you have dementia. People with dementia have serious problems with two or more brain functions, such as memory and language. Although dementia is common in very elderly people, it is not part of normal aging.

Many different diseases can cause dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and stroke. Drugs are available to treat some of these diseases. While these drugs cannot cure dementia or repair brain damage, they may improve symptoms or slow down the disease.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

  • Dementia
  • Dementia - behavior and sleep problems
  • Dementia - daily care
  • Dementia - keeping safe in the home
  • Dementia and driving
  • Dementia due to metabolic causes
  • Mental status testing
  • Multi-infarct dementia
  • Organic brain syndrome
  • Pick disease



Your mind works a lot like a computer. Your brain puts information it judges to be important into "files." When you remember something, you pull up a file. Memory doesn't always work perfectly. As people grow older, it may take longer to retrieve those files. Some adults joke about having a "senior moment."

It's normal to forget things once in awhile. We've all forgotten a name, where we put our keys, or if we locked the front door. Seniors who forget things more often than others their age may have mild cognitive impairment. Forgetting how to use the telephone or find your way home may be signs of a more serious problem. These include Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, stroke, depression, head injuries, thyroid problems, or reactions to certain medicines. If you're worried about your forgetfulness, see your doctor.

NIH: National Institute on Aging

  • Memory loss
  • Mental status testing
  • Remembering tips

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Previous Code 780.96
Next Code
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