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Updated October 06, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: A severe lack of consciousness is referred to as being unconscious. Victims are usually considered unconscious if they can't wake up enough to interact normally with the rescuer.

Consciousness is being aware of -- and capable of interacting with -- your surroundings. Consciousness is not an all or nothing state. Healthcare providers look at levels of consciousness, usually assessing a patient's ability to follow instructions, communicate verbally, and track objects with his eyes.

In medical terms, getting knocked out is a loss of consciousness. At the worst, a patient is referred to as being unresponsive, which means she doesn't respond to any type of stimulus, including yelling, shaking or pain.

Pronunciation: un-CON-shuss
Also Known As: unaware, out cold, coma
Most seizure victims are unconscious immediately after their seizures stop.
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