What happens when someone goes into coma?

The word Coma is derived from the Greek meaning of deep sleep. Whenever this word is mentioned, everyone pictures a person lying on a hospital bed with an oxygen mask on his/her face and lots of machinery attached to their body.


No one should undergo the condition under any circumstances, but it is difficult to fathom what exactly the person undergoes when he/she slips in a coma or is put into a medical coma. Also mostly people confuse people in coma as same as people under really deep sleep.

But be assured that coma is a very serious condition and it has nothing to do with sleep of any kind. If you are curious enough, here is what happens when a person goes into a coma.


1 What is the state of coma?

The state of coma is a state of unconsciousness in which a person: cannot be awakened, fails to respond in normal manner to any painful stimuli, light or sound. The person is also unable to initiate voluntary actions and does not have a normal wake-sleep cycle.

There are two types of coma; normal coma and medically induced coma. Normal coma is distinguished as where the medical community is unable to help the person and the situation is beyond the control of medical professionals. Whereas, medically induced coma is induced by medical professionals so that the patient’s injuries can heal in an environment that is under their control.

What is the state of coma?

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2 What causes coma?

Coma can be induced due to variety of reasons. Some of them is intoxication due to drug overdose, misuse or overdose of prescribed or over the counter medicine or controlled substance, metabolic aberrations, disease and trauma to the central nervous system, strokes, hyper and hypothermia.


Coma can also be caused due to traumatic injuries especially to the head caused by falls or vehicular accidents. When people pick up a serious injury, it could take months or even years until they can make a full recovery. This is due to any ongoing treatments or rehabilitation that they may need, and this could prove to be expensive. By contacting a serious head injury lawyer, they may be able to help you make a claim, which could be beneficial for any additional costs that the victims are forced to make. Another reason for coma can be medically induced coma, usually done by a neurological expert in order to preserve the brain functions during traumatic injuries to brain or to save the patient from the pain caused by injuries, surgeries or the healing process.

What causes coma?

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The leading cause of coma is drug poisoning, which make up to 40% of cases with lack of oxygen to brain coming in at second place. This can happen due to cardiac arrest, which leads to hypoxia or oxygen deprivation to brain.

3 What happens to people who are in coma?

When a person slips into a coma, that person is alive but unable to respond to any kind of external stimuli. The brain of a person in coma is alive, but at a basic level. The person cannot be awakened from a coma using any kind of force. The coma can be temporary or permanent.


A person in coma may be able to breathe on their own, but some patients need to be put on a ventilating machine to provide assisted breathing. People with diabetes can also fall into coma if their sugar levels become too high or too low.

 What happens to people who are in coma?

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Though people put into medically induced coma are not in real coma. This coma is artificially induced so that the brain function is kept intact, as the patient heals from injuries and it also saves the patient from the pain that accompanies the healing process.

4 More information on Coma

Coma is measured on the Glasgow coma scale which goes from 3 (deep coma) to 15 (awake and conscious). Every kind of coma is different, since it depends on the part of the brain that was deprived from oxygen.


Doctors put the patients in coma on an IV feeding drip, since they are incapable of feeding themselves or being fed through normal means. The brain can be kept active during this phase by showing them some stimuli and keeping a check on the results from the machines.

But along with medical challenges, comes challenges on a personal and family level, which every one other than doctors’ face.

More information on Coma

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5 Emotional challenges

Along with the person in coma, their families face an uphill battle in order to hope that the person will come out of coma and also to take care of them. Usually if the person in coma is in hospital, that person gets special attention and care from the doctors and nurses since they are kept in the ICU or the intensive care unit.

These people make sure the person gets regular fluids, medicines and nutrients and are kept in clean state. Though a person who is close to the coma patient also stays there in order to keep company and talk to the person in hopes of the state of coma ending.

Emotional challenges

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Though the family of the person in coma can feel annoyed and frustrated since they are helpless and scared, but visiting the person in hospital, talking to them, playing music can do a lot of good for that person, because it is possible that the person could hear everything, even though they cannot respond.

This really is such a state, that we wish nobody goes through this.


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