Recovering from a coma

A coma usually only lasts a few weeks, during which time the person may start to gradually wake up and gain consciousness, or progress into a different state of unconsciousness called a vegetative state or minimally conscious state.

  • a vegetative state where a person is awake but shows no signs of being aware of their surroundings or themselves
  • a minimally conscious state where a person has limited awareness that comes and goes

Some people may recover from these states gradually, while others may not improve for years, if at all.See the page on disorders of consciousness for more information about these conditions.

People who do wake up froma coma usually come round gradually. They may be very agitated and confused to begin with.

Some people will make a full recovery and be completely unaffected by the coma. Otherswill have disabilities caused by the damage to their brain. They may need physiotherapy , occupational therapy and psychological assessment and support during a period of rehabilitation, and may need care for the rest of their lives.

Thechances of someone recovering from a coma largely depend on the severity andcause of their brain injury, their age and how long they've been ina coma. But it's impossible to accurately predict whether the personwill eventually recover,how long the coma will last and whether they'll have any long-term problems.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018