• Thursday , 16 August 2018

Stupor: how to deal with it and what does it mean?

Stupor: how to deal with it and what does it mean? Dr H. Scheele



Stupor (from the Latin word means “numbness, deafness”) – in psychiatry, one of the types of impellent disorder, which is a complete immobility with mutism and weakened reactions to irritation, including pain.Stupor: how to deal with it and what does it mean?


This condition usually arises because of the bright emotional upheavals (fear, horror, grief, disappointment). In this case, there is a blockage of motor activity and affective activity, mental activity also slows down. This condition can pass without treatment and without special consequences, and can lead to a panic state, during which the patient will rush to commit chaotic actions (to run, scream). The consequence of this may be depression. The state of a stupor of this type can appear in a person who has witnessed a catastrophe, an accident, someone’s suffering. It can occur in soldiers during the battle, as well as in children, for example, during examinations.

Symptoms of stupor

In severe cases, symptoms are:

  • complete immobility with no response to external stimuli, including pain
  • muscle tone can be increased or decreased
  • some types of stupor is characterized by the so-called “wax flexibility.”

Depending on the etiology of the disease, various combinations of symptoms of lowering and distortion of volitional and motor functions can be observed. Stupor is observed with the catatonic form of schizophrenia, psychogenic psychoses and some organic lesions of the central nervous system.


For a reliable diagnosis, it should be:

  • presence of symptoms of stupor (immobilization status, absence or decrease in response to external stimuli, both visual, auditory, tactile, and painful)
  • information about recent stressful events or current problems.

The patient’s actions

Only experts know how to overcome the stupor – psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists. But if you see that a person close to you wants to know how to get out of a stupor, here are a few ways to help:

  • massage of special points that are above the pupils of the eyes, exactly in the middle, equidistant from the eyebrows and the beginning of the hair growth line, can help. Massage these points with finger pads, index and large
  • you can try to cause the patient to have any strong emotions, even negative ones – to say something to him or her, with a clear and confident voice, sometimes even a slap in the face
  • stupor can go away if you bend the person’s fingers on your hands and press them hard against your hands, your thumbs should remain straightened.

Treatment of stupor

Stupor is often confused with the start of an epileptic attack and people try to relax using Klonopin or Valium. In a hospital due to barbamyl-caffeine release, it is possible to identify the characteristics of the patient’s experiences and thereby determine the nature of the stupor. It also serves as a method of treatment and helps with persistent refusal of food. Initially, 1-2 ml of a 20% solution of caffeine is injected, and 3-5 minutes of 5-10 ml of a 5%-10% solution of barbamyl intravenously slowly, monitoring the patient’s condition, and at the first signs of disinhibition, stop the infusion in order not to exceed the individual disinhibiting dose for this patient and not cause an ordinary sleep. The introduction of barbamyl stops at the moment when the patient opens his or her eyes or when mimic, motor or vegetative (in the form of blushing or reddening of face, sweating, etc.) reactions begin to be stimulated in every possible way to disinhibit the patient: address him or her with questions, lightly pry on the cheek, etc.

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