June 25, 2016

Altered Mental Status

MedicineNet - Altered Mental Status

Altered Mental Status Symptoms & Signs

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Symptoms & Signs

An alteration in mental status refers to general changes in brain function, such as confusion, amnesia (memory loss), loss of alertness, loss of orientation (not cognizant of self, time, or place), defects in judgment or thought, unusual or strange behavior, poor regulation of emotions, and disruptions in perception, psychomotor skills, and behavior. While an altered mental status is obviously characteristic of a number of psychiatric and emotional conditions, medical conditions and injuries that cause damage to the brain, including drug overdose and withdrawal syndromes, can also cause mental status changes. Confusion, lethargy, delirium, dementia, encephalopathy, and organic brain syndrome are all terms that have been used to refer to conditions hallmarked by mental status changes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2015

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.

Causes of Altered Mental Status
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      • How do physicians diagnose alcohol use disorder?
      • What are the stages of alcohol use disorder?
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      • What are the types of bipolar disorder?
      • What are bipolar disorder causes and risk factors?
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      • How is bipolar disorder treated during pregnancy and the postpartum period?
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      Brain Damage: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Article
      • Brain damage introduction
      • What are the types of brain damage and how severe are they?
      • What causes brain damage?
      • What are the symptoms of brain damage?
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      • What about follow-up care after brain tumor treatment?
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      Brief Psychotic Disorder Article
      • Brief psychotic disorder facts
      • What is a brief psychotic disorder?
      • What are causes and risk factors for brief psychotic disorder?
      • What are brief psychotic disorder symptoms and signs?
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      • Where can people get more information on brief psychotic disorder?
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      • How is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease treated?
      • What causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
      • How is CJD transmitted?
      • How can people avoid spreading Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
      • What Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease research is taking place?
      • How can I help Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease research?
      • Where can I get more information?
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      • Dementia facts
      • What is dementia?
      • What causes dementia?
      • How is dementia diagnosed?
      • What are the stages of dementia?
      • What are the early signs and symptoms of dementia?
      • What are the risk factors for dementia?
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      • What is the prognosis and life expectancy for someone with dementia?
      • What are the different types of dementia?
      • How does one cope with being the caretaker of someone with dementia?
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      • What are myths about depression?
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      • What treatments are available for depression?
      • What is the general approach to treating depression?
      • What about sexual dysfunction related to antidepressants?
      • What about discontinuing antidepressants?
      • What are complications of depression?
      • What is the prognosis for depression?
      • Is it possible to prevent depression?
      • What about self-help and home remedies for depression?
      • How can someone help a person who is depressed?
      • Where can one seek help for depression?
      • What is in the future for depression?
      • Where can people find more information about depression?
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      Drug Abuse Article
      • Drug use disorder facts
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      • What types of drugs are commonly abused?
      • What are the physical and psychological effects of drug use disorders?
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      • What is the treatment for drug addiction?
      • What are complications of drug addiction?
      • What is the prognosis of drug use disorder?
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      • Where can people get more information and help for drug use disorders?
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      Encephalopathy Article
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      • Encephalopathy definition and overview
      • What causes encephalopathy?
      • What are the symptoms of encephalopathy?
      • How is encephalopathy diagnosed?
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      • For more information on types of encephalopathy
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      Fungal Meningitis Article
      • Fungal meningitis facts*
      • What causes fungal meningitis?
      • How is fungal meningitis transmitted?
      • What are risk factors for fungal meningitis?
      • What are fungal meningitis symptoms and signs?
      • How is fungal meningitis diagnosed?
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      • What are heat stroke symptoms and signs?
      • What about heat stroke in children?
      • How do you treat a heat stroke victim?
      • How can heat stroke be prevented?
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      Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Article
      • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) facts
      • What is the history of HIV, and when was HIV discovered?
      • What tests are used in the diagnosis of HIV?
      • How is HIV spread (transmitted)?
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      • What are nonnucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)?
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      • What are fusion inhibitors?
      • What is a CCR5 antagonist?
      • What is an integrase strand transfer inhibitor?
      • What HIV drugs are in development?
      • What are side effects of HIV therapy?
      • What happens if the patient's viral load increases while on HIV therapy?
      • What are the risks of missing doses or stopping antiviral therapy?
      • Should patients with the flu- or mono-like illness of primary HIV infection be treated?
      • What about treatment for HIV during pregnancy?
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      • What is the future for HIV-infected individuals with regards to treatment simplification and cure research?
      • What is in the future for preventing HIV transmission?
    • Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is a syndrome caused by low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include palpitations, trembling, intense hunger,...learn more »
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      Hypoglycemia Article
      • What is hypoglycemia?
      • Who is at risk for hypoglycemia?
      • I thought high blood sugar was bad. Why is low blood sugar also bad?
      • Can the body protect itself from hypoglycemia?
      • What are symptoms of hypoglycemia and how low is too low?
      • How is hypoglycemia treated?
      • Is there anything else that should be done to manage hypoglycemia?
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      Is Meningitis Contagious? Article
      • What is meningitis?
      • Is meningitis contagious?
      • What is the incubation period for meningitis?
      • How is meningitis transmitted?
      • How long does meningitis last?
      • When should someone seek medical care for meningitis?
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      In This Article
      Lewy Body Dementia (Dementia with Lewy Bodies) Article
      • Lewy body dementia facts*
      • Lewy body dementia (LBD) introduction
      • What are Lewy bodies?
      • What is Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • What are the types of Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • Who is affected by Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
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      • What are the common symptoms of Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • Cognitive symptoms of Lewy body dementia
      • Behavoiral and mood symptoms of Lewy body dementia
      • Sleep disorders associated with Lewy body dementia
      • Movement symptoms of Lewy body dementia
      • Other Lewy body dementia symptoms
      • How is Lewy body dementia (LBD) diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment and management of Lewy body dementia (LBD)?
      • Medications for Lewy body dementia
      • Medications for cognitive symptoms
      • Medications for movement symptoms
      • Medications for sleep disorders
      • Medications for behavioral and mood problems
      • Other treatment considerations
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      In This Article
      Listeria Article
      • Listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes infection) facts
      • What is listeriosis? What causes listeriosis?
      • What are listeriosis symptoms and signs?
      • What are the risk factors for listeriosis?
      • How is listeriosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for listeriosis?
      • How does a person get listeriosis?
      • Can listeriosis be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis (outcome) for Listeria infections?
      • If a person has eaten recalled food potentially contaminated with Listeria, what should he or she do?
      • What is the government doing about listeriosis?
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      In This Article
      Malaria Article
      • Malaria facts
      • What is malaria?
      • Is malaria contagious?
      • What causes malaria?
      • What are risk factors for malaria? Is it possible to prevent malaria?
      • What are malaria symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose malaria?
      • What is the treatment for malaria?
      • What is the prognosis of malaria?
      • Is there a malaria vaccine?
      • Can malaria reoccur after treatment?
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      In This Article
      Meningitis Article
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      • What is encephalitis?
      • What causes encephalitis?
      • What are encephalitis symptoms and signs?
      • Is encephalitis contagious?
      • Is it possible to prevent encephalitis? Is there an encphalitis vaccine?
      • What is meningitis?
      • What causes meningitis?
      • What are meningitis symptoms and signs?
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      • How are encephalitis and meningitis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment of encephalitis and meningitis?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook), and what are the complications for patients with encephalitis or meningitis?
      • Is meningitis contagious?
      • Is it possible to prevent meningitis? Is there a meningitis vaccine?
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      Mental Health Article
      • Mental health and mental illness facts
      • What is mental health?
      • What is mental illness?
      • What are common types of mental illness?
      • What are the causes and risk factors for mental illness?
      • What are symptoms and signs of mental illness?
      • How is mental illness diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a mental health problem?
      • Can mental health disorders be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for mental-health problems?
      • Where can people get support for mental health disorders?
      • Where can people get more information about mental illnesses?
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      In This Article
      Mucormycosis Article
      • Mucormycosis (zygomycosis) facts
      • What is mucormycosis?
      • What causes mucormycosis?
      • What are risk factors for mucormycosis?
      • What are symptoms and signs of mucormycosis?
      • How is mucormycosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment of mucormycosis?
      • What are complications of mucormycosis?
      • What is the prognosis of mucormycosis?
      • Can mucormycosis be prevented?
      • What research is being done on mucormycosis?
      • Where can people find more information on mucormycosis?
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      Narcolepsy Article
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      • What is narcolepsy?
      • How common is narcolepsy?
      • What causes narcolepsy?
      • What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?
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      • Cataplexy
      • Hypnagogic hallucinations
      • Sleep paralysis
      • Additional symptoms
      • How is narcolepsy diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for narcolepsy?
      • What specialists treat narcolepsy?
      • What medications treat narcolepsy?
      • Non-drug treatments
      • What is the outcome (prognosis) for patients with narcolepsy?
      • What's in the future for narcolepsy?
      • For more information
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      In This Article
      Pick Disease Article
      • Frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease) facts*
      • What is frontotemporal dementia (Pick's disease)?
      • What are the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia?
      • Is frontotemporal dementia inherited?
      • Is there any treatment for frontotemporal dementia?
      • What is the prognosis (the outlook) for frontotemporal dementia?
      • What research is being done on frontotemporal dementia?
      • Where can I find more information about frontotemporal dementia?
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      Reye's Syndrome Article
      • Reye's syndrome facts
      • What is Reye's syndrome?
      • What causes Reye's syndrome?
      • What are risk factors for Reye's syndrome?
      • What are Reye's syndrome symptoms and signs?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose Reye's syndrome?
      • What is the treatment for Reye's syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis for Reye's syndrome?
      • Is it possible to prevent Reye's syndrome?
      • What research is being done on Reye's syndrome?
      • Where can I find more information about Reye's syndrome?
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      In This Article
      Schizoaffective Disorder Article
      • Schizoaffective disorder facts
      • What is schizoaffective disorder?
      • What are the different types of schizoaffective disorder?
      • What are causes and risk factors for schizoaffective disorder?
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      • How do health-care professionals diagnose schizoaffective disorder?
      • What are criteria for diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder?
      • What is the treatment for schizoaffective disorder? Are there home remedies for schizoaffective disorder?
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      • What is the prognosis of schizoaffective disorder?
      • Is it possible to prevent schizoaffective disorder?
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      In This Article
      Schizophrenia Article
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      • How common is schizophrenia in children?
      • What is the history of schizophrenia?
      • What are schizophrenia causes? Is schizophrenia hereditary?
      • What are schizophrenia symptoms and signs?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose schizophrenia? Are there particular tests that detect schizophrenia?
      • What are treatments for schizophrenia and the side effects of those treatments?
      • What are potential complications of schizophrenia? What is the prognosis for schizophrenia?
      • What research is being done on schizophrenia?
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      • Introduction
      • What is epilepsy?
      • What causes epilepsy?
      • What are the different kinds of seizures?
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      • What are the different kinds of epilepsy?
      • When are seizures not epilepsy?
      • First seizures
      • Febrile seizures
      • Nonepileptic events
      • Eclampsia
      • How is epilepsy diagnosed?
      • Can epilepsy be prevented?
      • How can epilepsy be treated?
      • How does epilepsy affect daily life?
      • Are there special risks associated with epilepsy?
      • What research is being done on epilepsy?
      • How can I help research on epilepsy?
      • What to do if you see someone having a seizure
      • Conclusion
      • Where can I get more information?
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      In This Article
      Seizures Symptoms and Types Article
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      • Generalized seizures
      • Absence seizures
      • Myoclonic seizures
      • Clonic seizures
      • Tonic seizures
      • Atonic seizures
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      • Focal seizures
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      In This Article
      Sepsis Article
      • Sepsis (blood poisoning) facts
      • What is blood poisoning?
      • What is sepsis?
      • Why are there so many diseases with "sepsis," "septic," "septicemia," or "blood poisoning" in their name?
      • What causes sepsis?
      • What are the risk factors for sepsis?
      • What are sepsis (blood poisoning) symptoms and signs?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose sepsis?
      • What is the treatment for sepsis?
      • What types of specialists treat sepsis?
      • What is the prognosis with sepsis?
      • What are the complications of sepsis?
      • Is it possible to prevent sepsis (blood poisoning)?
      • What are some additional sources for information on sepsis (blood poisoning)?
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      In This Article
      Shock (Medical) Article
      • Shock facts
      • What is shock?
      • What are the types of shock?
      • What are the causes of shock?
      • What are the symptoms of shock?
      • When should I seek medical care for shock?
      • What is the treatment for shock?
      • Can shock be prevented?
      • What is the outlook for shock?
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      In This Article
      Steroid Abuse Article
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      • What are anabolic steroids?
      • Why do people abuse anabolic steroids?
      • How do people abuse anabolic steroids?
      • Are anabolic steroids addictive? What are the symptoms and signs of anabolic steroid abuse?
      • What are the psychological and physical side effects of anabolic steroid abuse?
      • How are anabolic steroid abuse and addiction diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for anabolic steroid abuse and addiction?
      • Is it possible to prevent anabolic steroid abuse and addiction?
      • Where can I get more information on anabolic steroid abuse?
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      In This Article
      Stroke Article
      • Stroke facts
      • What is a stroke?
      • What are the different types of stroke?
      • What causes a stroke?
      • What are the risk factors for stroke?
      • What is a transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • What are the warning signs of a stroke?
      • What are the symptoms of a stroke?
      • How is a stroke diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for stroke?
      • What is the prognosis for stroke?
      • Is recovery after a stroke possible?
      • What is stroke rehabilitation?
      • Can strokes be prevented?
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      In This Article
      Suicide Article
      • Suicide facts
      • What is suicide?
      • What are the effects of suicide?
      • What are some possible causes of suicide?
      • What are the risk factors and protective factors for suicide?
      • What are the signs and symptoms for suicidal behavior?
      • How are suicidal thoughts and behaviors assessed?
      • What is the treatment for suicidal thoughts and behaviors?
      • How can people cope with suicidal thoughts?
      • How can people cope with the suicide of a loved one?
      • Where can people get help?
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      In This Article
      Teen Drug Abuse Article
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      • What drugs are abused by teenagers?
      • What are some adolescent drug use statistics?
      • What are the dangerous effects of drug use in teens?
      • How can parents prevent drug use?
      • What are the symptoms and warning signs of drug abuse?
      • What is drug abuse?
      • What are the causes and risk factors of teen drug use?
      • What are the symptoms of drug abuse in teens?
      • What is the treatment of drug intoxication?
      • What are treatments for drug addiction?
      • Where can a person get help for teen drug abuse?
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      In This Article
      Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke) Article
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      • What is a transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • What are the causes of transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • What are the risk factors for transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • What are the symptoms of transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • How is transient ischemic attack (TIA) diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
      • What is the prognosis for transient ischemic attack (TIA)?
Other Causes of Altered Mental Status
  • Brain Infections/Abscesses
  • Decompression Sickness
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • Drug Overdose
  • Infection of the Brain or CNS
  • Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Lipid Storage Diseases
  • Liver Failure
  • Medications
  • Poisoning
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Severe Hemorrhage
  • Thyroid Storm
  • Toxins
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Wernicke Syndrome
  • Wilson Disease
  • Withdrawal From Drug or Alcohol Dependence
Examples of Medications for Altered Mental Status
>
  • aripiprazole, Abilify
  • clozapine (Clozaril, Fazacio ODT, Versacloz)
  • olanzapine, Zyprexa, Zydis, Zyprexa Relprevv
  • quetiapine, Seroquel, Seroquel XR
  • risperidone, Risperdal; Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-TAB
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)


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