There are many reasons for a person who abuses alcohol to have an altered level of consciousness. Errors can occur if one jumps to a conclusion without considering alternative explanations.

Patient selection: alcohol abuse and altered mental status


Possible explanations include:

(1) intoxication with drugs or alcohol

(2) hepatic encephalopathy

(3) Wernicke encephalopathy/Korsakoff syndrome

(4) alcohol withdrawal

(5) central pontine myelinolysis

(6) hypoglycemia

(7) head trauma

(8) post-ictal confusion

(9) intracerebral infection

(10) hypophosphatemia

(11) poisoning

(12) brain tumor

(13) hypothyroidism

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