Temporary Confusion or Decreased Alertness - Topic Overview
Many health problems cause confusion or decreased
alertness. It is not unusual for a person who is sick to be sleepy or confused
when he or she wakes up. But extreme sleepiness may be a symptom of a more
serious health problem.
Confusion may range
from mild to severe. Symptoms of confusion may include:
Seeing, hearing, feeling,
smelling, or tasting things that are not really there (hallucinations
Unfounded suspicions that others are after you or
want to harm you (paranoia).
Decreased alertness occurs when a
person is not fully awake, aware of, or able to respond normally to his or her
external environment. Decreased alertness may also mean that a chronic illness
has gotten worse.
A sudden change in the mental state or level of
consciousness may be caused by:
A head injury. Serious head injuries may cause
injuries to the brain.
A complete medical examination may be needed before the cause
of your confusion or decreased alertness can be diagnosed. Treatment depends on
the cause of the problem. Contact your doctor for an exam if you are having
problems with confusion or decreased alertness.