Disorientation
Disorientation, the lack of being able to correctly identify oneself, one's location, or the date and time, is a sign of an altered mental stat...

Table of Contents
powered by healthline

Average Ratings

Definition

Disorientation is a type of alteration of mental status. Orientation is knowledge of one’s personal identity, location, date, time and present situation.

Alternative Names

Disoriented, disturbance of orientation, orientation confused, orientation poor, disorientated.

Synopsis

Disorientation, the lack of being able to correctly identify oneself, one’s location, or the date and time, is a sign of an altered mental status. An alteration in mental status is often an indication of a serious medical problem, requiring prompt medical attention. It may also be a sign of intoxication. The patient is unable to give reliable information themselves, therefore others must be ready to provide important information about the patient’s history, habits and social situation.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Alcohol related disorders
  • Head injury
  • Hemorrhagic shock
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Concussion
  • Dementia
  • Delirium
  • Encephalitis
  • West Nile Virus
  • Narcotic overdose
  • Hypoxia
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Uremia
  • Hyperammonemia
  • Sedative overdose
  • Anti-convulsant overdose
  • Psychotropic drug overdose
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Addison’s disease
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Heat stroke
  • Hypothermia
  • Acidosis
  • Alkalosis
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalopathy
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)
  • Tumors
  • Cerebral aneurysm
  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack
  • Basilar migraine
  • Traumatic brain injury

Diagnosis and Treatment

Disorientation, like any change in mental status, requires immediate medical investigation to determine the diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Call 911

If you are unable to arouse a person with a decreased level of consciousness or if disorientation is accompanied by agitation and concerns the person might harm themselves or others.

Written by: JC Jones MA, RN
Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD
Written: December 17, 2007
Last Updated: December 31, 2007
Published By: Healthline Networks Inc.
Licensed from
Top of page
General Drug Tools
General Drug Tools view all tools
Tools for
Healthy Living
Tools for Healthy Living view all tools
Search Tools
Search Tools view all tools
Insurance Plan Tools
Insurance Plan Tools view all tools