Decreased consciousness is reduced alertness or awareness.
A persistent coma is called vegetative state.
Many conditions can cause decreased consciousness, including:
A decrease in consciousness almost always require a doctor's attention, except perhaps when due to alcohol intoxication, simple fainting, or a previously recognized seizure disorder.
See the article on seizures for tips on how to care for a person who is having a seizure.
Persons with epilepsy or other seizure disorder should carry a Medic-Alert bracelet or pendant describing their condition. Such individuals should avoid situations that have previously triggered a seizure.
See medical help if someone has unexplained, decreased consciousness. Call your local emergency number (such as 911) if normal consciousness does not return quickly.
Most often, a person with decreased consciousness will be evaluated in an emergency room setting.
The doctor will perform a physical examination. The exam will include a detailed look at the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems.
The health care team will ask questions about the person's medical history and symptoms, including
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the decreased consciousness. How well a person does depends on the cause of the condition. The longer the person has a decreased or altered level of consciousness, the worse the outcome.
Stuporous; Mental status - decreased; Loss of alertness; Decreased consciousness; Alertness - decreased; Changes in consciousness; Obtundation; Coma; Unresponsiveness