Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Loss of Consciousness

  • Samantha BackhausEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_252


Coma; Unconscious


Loss of consciousness (LOC) is defined as a significant alteration of mental status involving a lack of responsiveness to people and other environmental stimuli. It results in an interruption of one’s self and surroundings. Examples include being in a comatose state or experiencing a temporary loss of consciousness such as a syncope episode or fainting. Prolonged LOC is called a vegetative state or persistent vegetative state. The amount of time it takes a person to regain consciousness and awareness of one’s surroundings is often used as an indication of brain injury severity. Individuals who experience LOC may not always be able to state the amount of time they were unconscious. LOC information is often collected in research studies and has been shown to be a good predictor of outcome. When a person cannot remember the scene or may have post-traumatic amnesia for the event, it is sometimes advisable to obtain information from eyewitnesses of the...

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References and Readings

  1. Freeman, J. R., Barth, J. T., Broshek, D. K., & Plehn, K. (2005). Sports injuries. In J. M. Silver, T. W. McAllister, & S. C. Yudofsky (Eds.), Textbook of traumatic brain injury (pp. 453–476). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Kantor, D. (2007). Consciousness-decreased. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003202.htm. Retrieved 26 Dec 2007.
  3. Lucas, J. A. (1998). Traumatic brain injury and postconcussive syndrome. In P. J. Snyder & P. D. Nussbaum (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology: A pocket handbook for assessment (pp. 243–303). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. MedicineNet.com. (2005). Temporary loss of consciousness: Fainting or syncope. http://www.medicinenet.com/fainting/article.htm. Retrieved 26 Dec 2007.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeuropsychologyRehabilitation Hospital of IndianaIndianapolisUSA