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Drowsiness: Introduction

Drowsiness is a general term for a condition in which a person feels a sensation of sleepiness, tiredness, fatigue, weariness, lethargy, or exhaustion. Drowsiness can be normal, such as at the end of the day before bedtime, or drowsiness can be a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions.

Drowsiness can result from sleep deprivation, medication side effects, the use of alcohol or drugs and mental illnesses. Drowsiness can also be the result of diseases, disorders and conditions that can make it difficult to get enough normal sleep. These can include sleep disorders, infection, inflammation, trauma, pain, malignancy, chronic diseases and autoimmune diseases.

Drowsiness can occur in any age group or population. Depending on the cause, the sensation of drowsiness can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when it occurs due to excessive exercise or a single night of sleeplessness. Drowsiness can also can be chronic and ongoing over a longer period of time, such as when it is due to disturbed sleep patterns caused by depression or heart failure. For more details about causes, see causes of drowsiness.

Drowsiness, especially chronic drowsiness, can seriously impact the ability to function effectively in everyday life. Drowsiness can lead to decreased alertness, trouble with work, school and relationships, and an increased risk of causing a motor vehicle collision.

There are many symptoms that can accompany drowsiness, depending on the disease, disorder or condition that is at the root of it. Some symptoms include headache, confusion, low blood sugar, fever, weight loss, weight gain, weakness and dizziness.

Diagnosing drowsiness and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including accompanying symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological examination. Diagnostic testing may also include a mental health exam and sleep studies.

A variety of other tests may be performed to help to diagnose the underlying disease, condition or disorder causing drowsiness and to evaluate overall heath. Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include blood tests. A complete blood count (CBC) can help to determine if anemia or an infectious process, such as bacterial infection is present. A chemistry panel is also often done. A blood glucose test may be done to check for diabetes and hypoglycemia. TSH and other thyroid tests can help to determine if hypothyroidism is the cause of drowsiness.

Other tests may also be performed depending on the suspected cause. These include imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans and MRI.

A diagnosis of drowsiness and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because drowsiness may be mild or not last for long periods of time. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of drowsiness.

Treatment of drowsiness involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of drowsiness....more »

Drowsiness: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing drowsiness and its cause may be delayed or missed because the drowsiness may not be severe or consistent enough for a person to seek medical care. In addition, some people may believe that drowsiness is a normal part of aging. Drowsiness is a symptom of many different conditions, and some of them are potentially serious. A thorough medical evaluation is needed to ensure ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Drowsiness:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Drowsiness. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Drowsiness: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Drowsiness

Home medical tests possibly related to Drowsiness:

Causes of Types of Drowsiness:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Drowsiness:

Review causes of types of Drowsiness in more specific categories:

Review causes of more specific types of Drowsiness:

Drowsiness: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Drowsiness, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Drowsiness Treatments

Treatment plans for drowsiness are individualized depending on the cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the underlying or associated cause and helps to minimize the abnormal drowsiness so that a person can sleep well at night, be alert during ...Drowsiness Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Drowsiness may include:

Review further information on Drowsiness Treatments.

Stories from Users for Drowsiness

Real-life user stories relating to Drowsiness:

Message Boards for Drowsiness

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Drowsiness or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Drowsiness:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Drowsiness. Some of these are listed below :

  • Physical examination
    • Look for evidence of injury to head
    • Examine for neck stiffness which may indicate meningitis, encephalitis or subarachnoid hemorrhage
    • Look for injection marks signifying drug addicts or diabetics
    • Breath odor may be a feature of alcohol, diabetes, kidney or liver failure
  • more tests...»

Drowsiness: Animations

Medications or substances causing Drowsiness:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Drowsiness as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Drowsiness:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Drowsiness as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Zolpidem and benzodiazepine interaction
  • Ambien and benzodiazepine interaction
  • Zolpidem and diazepam interaction
  • Ambien and diazepam interaction
  • Percodan and alcohol interaction
  • Terephthalate and alcohol interaction
  • more interactions...»

Drowsiness: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Drowsiness may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Drowsiness

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Drowsiness:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Drowsiness. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Drowsiness Assessment Questionnaire (21 listings)

Drowsiness: Deaths

Read more about causes and Drowsiness deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Drowsiness

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although the most common symptoms are anal itch (or more »

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of more »

RLS sleep disorder causing night-time leg sensations often misdiagnosed: A common but relatively unknown sleep-related disorder called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is more »

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders). For example, more »

Drowsiness: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Drowsiness: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Drowsiness listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Drowsiness as a symptom include:

Definitions of Drowsiness:

Profound state of unconsciousness associated with depressed cerebral activity from which the individual cannot be aroused; coma generally occurs when there is dysfunction or injury involving both cerebral hemispheres or the brain stem.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Organs affected by Drowsiness:

The list of organs typically affected by Drowsiness may include, but is not limited to:

  • Brain
  • General constitution

Detailed list of causes of Drowsiness

The list below shows some of the causes of Drowsiness mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Drowsiness?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Drowsiness. Of the 1139 causes of Drowsiness that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 18 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 16 causes are "common" diseases
  • 13 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 37 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 1097 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Drowsiness:

The following list of conditions have 'Drowsiness' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Drowsiness or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z











  • Jet lag ... drowsiness, tiredness, sleepiness







Conditions listing medical complications: Drowsiness:

The following list of medical conditions have Drowsiness or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.




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Causes of Drowsiness Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Drowsiness based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Drowsiness?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Drowsiness, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    What are the alternative names for Drowsiness:

    Narcosis, Sedation, Somnolence, Unconscious state, Unconsciousness, Reduced level of consciousness, Coma
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Drowsiness:

    Subtypes of Drowsiness:

    Daytime drowsiness (25 causes), Daytime tiredness (18 causes), Yawning (18 causes), Sedative effect, Yawning Excessively (20 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Drowsiness:

    Sleep symptoms (1476 causes), Fatigue (3235 causes), Muscle weakness (4300 causes), Sleeping problems (873 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Sick (5751 causes), Fatigue symptoms (3235 causes), Energy symptoms (3108 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Movement symptoms (6001 causes), Weakness (3752 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Muscle symptoms (7251 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Musculoskeletal symptoms (6264 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Nocturnal symptoms (698 causes)

    Symptoms related to Drowsiness:

    Insomnia (521 causes), Sleep symptoms (1476 causes), Sleeping disorders, Weakness (3752 causes), Sleep debt, Not getting enough sleep, Shift work, Jet lag, Boredom, Fatigue (3235 causes), Sleepiness (1139 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Drowsiness

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Drowsiness and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Drowsiness:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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