Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Temporary Confusion or Decreased Alertness
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:
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:
Other problems that may lead to confusion or decreased
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.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.