An alteration in mental status refers to general changes in brain function, such as confusion, amnesia (memory loss), loss of alertness, disorientation (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 alcohol or 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.
Other causes of altered mental status
- Brain Infections/Abscesses
- Decompression Sickness
- Drug Overdose
- High Altitude Cerebral Edema
- Infection of the Brain or CNS
- Korsakoff Syndrome
- Lipid Storage Diseases
- Liver Failure
- Respiratory Failure
- Severe Hemorrhage
- Thyroid Storm
- Vascular Dementia
- Wernicke Syndrome
- Wilson Disease
- Withdrawal From Drug or Alcohol Dependence
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Causes of Altered Mental Status
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Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
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Bipolar Disorder in Children, Teen, and Adults
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment may incorporate mood-stabilizer medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Brain Damage: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
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Brief Psychotic Disorder
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Drug Abuse and Addiction
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
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Kidney (Renal) Failure
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Lewy Body Dementia (Dementia with Lewy Bodies)
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Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
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Second Source article from Government
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that features schizophrenia and a mood disorder, either major depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms include agitation, suicidal thoughts, little need for sleep, delusions, hallucinations, and poor motivation. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, medication, skills training, or hospitalization.
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Seizures Symptoms and Types
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Sick Building Syndrome
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Suicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year, and 10 million to 20 million attempt suicide annually.
Teen Drug Abuse
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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke)
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When you decide to discuss mental illness with anyone in your life, make a plan for what you want to say.
Examples of Medications for Altered Mental Status
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