Hemispatial Neglect: What Does It Mean?

Hemispatial neglect is a neurological disorder that affects the right side of the brain. This means that people who have this condition will ignore information and stimuli from the right side of their body. While it is not fully understood why this happens, hemispatial neglect can have a significant impact on someone’s life. In this post, we will take a closer look at what hemispatial neglect is, its symptoms, and some possible treatments.

Is hemispatial neglect a life-threatening condition?

It is not typically a life-threatening condition, but it can lead to serious injury or death if left untreated.
For example, someone with hemispatial neglect may not realize that they are driving on the wrong side of the road and end up in a car accident. Or, they may not notice that they are about to fall off a cliff. In some cases, people with spatial neglect have even suffered from malnutrition or dehydration because they were unable to care for themselves properly.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of hemispatial neglect, it’s important to seek medical help right away. Left untreated, the condition can lead to serious health complications.

What Is Hemispatial Neglect?

Hemispatial neglect is a neurological disorder that causes people to ignore the information coming in from one-half of their visual field.

This can lead to people not being able to dress or shave the right side of their body, and even crossing the center of the road without seeing oncoming traffic. It’s caused by damage or lesions on the right side of the brain, which results in a reduced ability to process information coming in from the left side of space.

Some people with this condition may also experience problems with balance and coordination. Treatment typically involves physical rehabilitation and therapy to help relearn some skills that have been lost due to neglect.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Hemispatial Neglect?

Hemispatial neglect is a condition that can occur after damage to the brain. It usually affects the side of the body opposite the side of the brain that was injured. People with neglect may not be aware of their symptoms, which can include difficulties with:

  • Motor skills: This may manifest as problems with everyday tasks such as brushing teeth or combing hair. Neglect can also cause impaired ability to reach or grasp objects.
  • Perception: People with neglect may fail to see things on the affected side, or they may misjudge distances. For example, they may bump into furniture or walk into traffic.
  • Spatial awareness: People with neglect may have trouble judging how far away objects are, or they may lose track of where they are in relation to other objects. They may also have difficulty balancing and keeping still.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of hemispatial neglect, it is important to seek medical help. Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve symptoms and quality of life.

What Causes the Hemispatial Neglect?

There are many possible causes of hemispatial neglect. One common cause is stroke, which can damage the brain and lead to neglect. Other causes include certain types of head injury, dementia, and mental illness. In some cases, the precise cause of this condition is unknown. 


A stroke can cause hemispatial neglect by damaging the brain tissue in the areas responsible for spatial awareness. This can lead to difficulty paying attention to and processing information from one side of the body or one side of space. Stroke survivors with this condition may lose sight in one eye, or may only be able to see part of an object. They may also have trouble moving towards something on their affected side or recognizing people and objects on their affected side.


One of the symptoms of dementia is hemispatial neglect, which refers to the inability to take notice of and attend to objects on one side of the space around them. Dementia may cause hemispatial neglect by affecting the way that information is processed by the brain. For example, damage to certain areas of the brain may result in difficulty understanding what is seen in one eye or not being able to pay attention to objects on one side of the body.

Mental Illness:

Mental illness can cause hemispatial neglect in a number of ways. For example, it can lead to changes in the brain’s structure or function, which can then lead to problems with attention, awareness, and movement. Additionally, some mental illnesses may be accompanied by seizures, which can also lead to hemispatial neglect. Lastly, certain medications used to treat mental illness may also cause this problem.

Treatment of Hemispatial Neglect:

Hemispatial neglect is a disorder that can occur after damage to the right side of the brain. Neglect occurs when a person is unaware of or unable to attend to stimuli on the left side of space. There are several different treatment options for hemispatial neglect, which are typically tailored to the individual’s needs and symptoms. Common treatments include occupational therapy, visual perceptual training, and rehabilitation. In some cases, medications may also be used to help manage symptoms. With treatment, most people with this condition are able to improve their symptoms and live relatively normal lives.

Occupational Therapy:

Occupational therapy can be very helpful in treating hemispatial neglect. Occupational therapists will often use bilateral activities to help people with hemispatial neglect regain awareness of the neglected side of their body or environment. They may also use mirrors to help patients see the neglected side of their body or environment.

Visual Perceptual Training:

Perceptual training helps patients with spatial neglect by helping them to relearn how to process and interpret visual information. Spatial neglect is often the result of damage to the right side of the brain, which can interfere with a person’s ability to attend to and notice objects on their left side. 


There are various types of rehabilitation that can help with hemispatial neglect. One type of rehabilitation is called sensorimotor rehabilitation, which helps the individual relearn lost skills related to movement and sensation. Another type of rehabilitation is called cognitive rehabilitation, which helps the individual learn new strategies to compensate for neglectful behavior.


Hemispatial neglect can be a debilitating condition, but it is also treatable. If you have any of the symptoms we’ve outlined or think you may be suffering from hemispatial neglect, please consult with your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to helping patients recover fully and resume their lives. Thanks for reading!

Last Updated on December 9, 2022 by Lucas Berg


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