Disorientation is a type of alteration of mental status. Orientation is knowledge of one’s personal identity, location, date, time and present situation.
Disoriented, disturbance of orientation, orientation confused, orientation poor, disorientated.
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.
Alcohol related disorders
West Nile Virus
Psychotropic drug overdose
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)
Transient ischemic attack
Traumatic brain injury
Diagnosis and Treatment
Disorientation, like any change in mental status, requires immediate medical investigation to determine the diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
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.