psychiatric emergency

Yes, stupor can be termed as a psychiatric emergency. It is entailed by chest pain, abnormal breathing, dilated pupils, irregular muscle contraction etc. People may not respond in a regular conversation and may only react to physical stimulators. One may have to rub their chest to induce a response.

Stupor is also known as obtundant and is a critical state stimulated by drug overdose, lack of oxygen, brain swelling and meningitis. If people exhibit these signs, you must consult a doctor right away. The most common symptoms of stupor are people being unresponsive to situations unless they are vigorously stimulated.

You could be calling their name, and they may not respond. However, nudging their arm or rubbing their chest might help. This differentiates from a coma because people react to external stimuli. Stupor is an unusual psychiatric emergency that might take some time to get detected.


People suffering from schizophrenia and depression are susceptible to getting stupor. Stupor is prompted by alcohol abuse, brain tumors, cardiac arrest, dementia, head injuries, seizures, strokes, kidney and liver failure, lack of oxygen, drug abuse, etc.

They can also be a result of underlying medical conditions. Stupor does not arbitrarily manifest one day. Sufferers may perpetually seem exhausted, sleepy, display minimal or no cognitive function, steer clear of communicating or manifesting emotions, behave rigidly and exhibit diminished consciousness.


It is impossible to diagnose stupor randomly, but people may have to be vigilant of these symptoms and seek help. A family member or friend may not be aware of this condition and may not be of much help. Doctors perform a physical examination to ascertain this disorder and by checking the vital signs.

Vital signs are crucial indicators of whether the trouble pertains to the lungs or heart. The doctors also assess the patient’s breathing patterns and check for head injuries and bleeding in other parts of the body. Body positions can also be revealing about strokes.

The inducements are noise, pressing the fingernails, giving a sternal rub (chest rub) etc. Subsequently, neurological examination or brain tests are conducted to evaluate the person’s reflexes and movements. Blood tests may also be taken to determine blood sugar levels, blood clotting, electrolyte levels, and blood counts. 

Arterial blood gas tests (ABG) ascertain the pH levels of the patient’s blood which indicate the base and acid levels. This may also stimulate the manifestations causing stupor. CT scans are also imperative in these cases because it is a psychiatric emergency. The doctors have to examine internal brain bleeding if any.


The treatment for stupor essentially depends on the cause that triggered it. It is a critical condition that must be treated with utmost care. Every treatment is different from the other; hence doctors inculcate overarching evaluation methods. During psychiatric emergencies, time is of the essence.

People need to act fast but with caution. Before the condition worsens, the doctors have to devise a treatment plan. The doctors have to be mindful of the treatment plan and carefully assess their diagnosis. If the stupor results from mental illnesses, then the treatment advice would be psychoactive drugs or psychotherapy. Uncovering the cause triggering this condition might be a strenuous task.


Mental diseases are becoming prolific, and so is mental awareness. Societies are learning to accept these conditions as a part of life.