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Stupor (From Latin stupere, "be stunned or amazed") is the lack of critical mental function and a level of consciousness wherein a sufferer is almost entirely unresponsive and only responds to base stimuli such as pain. Those in a stuporous state are rigid, mute and only appear to be conscious, as the eyes are open and follow surrounding objects. The word derives from the Latin stupor ("numbness, insensibility"). Being characterized by impairments to reactions to external stimuli, it usually appears in infectious diseases, complicated toxic states, severe hypothermia, mental illnesses (e.g. schizophrenia, severe clinical depression), epilepsy, vascular illnesses (e.g. hypertensive encephalopathy), shock (e.g. learning of a death or surviving a car crash), neoplasms (e.g. brain tumors), vitamin D deficiency and other maladies.
If not stimulated externally, a patient with stupor will be in a sleepy state most of the time. In some extreme cases of severe depressive disorders the patient can become motionless, lose their appetite and become mute. Short periods of restricted responsivity can be achieved by intense stimulation (e.g. pain, bright light, loud noise, shock).
Localization of brain lesions
- Gelder, M, Mayou, R. and Geddes, J. 2005. Psychiatry. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford.
- Berrios G E (1981) Stupor: A Conceptual History. Psychological Medicine 11: 677-688
- Berrios G E (1981) Stupor Revisited. Comprehensive Psychiatry 22: 466-478
- C. Lafosse, Zakboek Neuropsychologische Symptomatologie, p. 37, ISBN 90-334-3995-6.