Stuporous vs. Obtunded

By Jaxson

  • Stuporous

    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 (e.g. heavy metals), 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.

  • Obtunded

    Obtundation refers to less than full alertness (altered level of consciousness), typically as a result of a medical condition or trauma.

    The root word, obtund, means “dulled or less sharp” cf. obtuse angle.

  • Stuporous (adjective)

    having slow or confused reactions, as if in a stupor; groggy

  • Obtunded (adjective)

    Far from alert or oriented to time and space, and exhibiting other signs of being confused, a state just short of frank delirium.


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