Alternate Names : Confusional State, Mental Dysfunction
Confusion is an abnormal mental condition or state of mind.
A person who is confused has trouble understanding the environment
and may react or respond inappropriately to it.
What is going on in the body?
Confusion is often a sign of an underlying problem or illness.
The causes range from mild to serious. Confusion may come on suddenly
or may occur gradually over time. Many causes of confusion are reversible.
What are the causes and risks of the symptom?
There are many possible causes of confusion, including:
being in an unfamiliar situation. For example, roughly 30% of people who
get admitted to a hospital intensive care unit
become confused during their stay. Being sick and in an unusual situation
causes enough stress
to make many people become confused.
a sudden illness, especially when the illness is severe. This is most likely
to occur in young children and elderly persons. Even the
can cause confusion in some people. Other infections, such as the brain infections
and a serious blood infection called sepsis,
commonly cause confusion.
illegal drugs, alcohol,
and some medicines
withdrawal from drugs or alcohol
low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia
brain damage, such as that from Alzheimer disease,
a brain tumor,
or a stroke
fluid and salt imbalances,
such as low sodium
vitamin or mineral deficiency, such as
or vitamin B12
chronic or serious infections or illnesses, such as
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
chronic renal failure,
or heart attacks
hormone imbalances, such as low thyroid levels or
There are many other causes of confusion. Sometimes, a
cause cannot be found.