Stupor is a point along a continuum of consciousness in which the patient demonstrates profound somnolence and is arousable only with consistent and vigorous stimulation (shaking). The term is imprecise but describes the patient who is asleep or densely lethargic but can be awoken and is thus not comatose. Unlike patients in delirium, those in stupor may have grossly intact attention and awareness during periods of arousal. Patients with stupor can have similar presentations to psychiatric etiologies such as catatonia but can be differentiated as they respond to vigorous or painful stimuli. Stupor commonly follows states of unconsciousness (i.e., coma and vegetative state) during recovery from traumatic and nontraumatic insults.
References and Readings
- Posner, J. B., Saper, C. B., Schiff, N. D., & Plum, F. (2007). Plum and Posner’s diagnosis of stupor and coma. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar