Changes in Behavior
A change in how a person acts is called altered behavior. A change may include:
- Disorientation to time and place.
- Unusually aggressive or combative behavior.
- Lethargy, unexplained sleepiness, or the inability to arouse a person from sleep.
Altered behavior can be caused by conditions or substances that may affect the brain, such as:
- Prescription and nonprescription medicine.
- Drug and alcohol abuse or withdrawal.
- Electrolyte imbalances.
- Exposure to toxins, such as carbon monoxide, arsenic, or lead.
- Lack of oxygen to the brain.
- Head injury.
- Abnormally high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or abnormally low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
- Infection, especially in older adults.
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, depression, or psychosis.
- Blockages in the blood vessels in the brain, such as in a Reference stroke Opens New Window.
- Bleeding in the brain from a head injury or stroke.
- Destruction of brain tissue by a tumor.
- Pressure on brain tissue by a tumor or swelling.
Changes in behavior may be sudden, such as those caused by a stroke or head injury. Or they may be gradual, such as those caused by a tumor or swelling in the brain.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: September 1, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine