Encephalopathy is a broad medical term used to define any disease of the brain, which may result in an altered mental condition.

The structure or function of the brain maybe altered or distorted due to infections caused by virus or bacteria, increased pressure on the brain due to a tumor or blood clot (aneurysm), metabolic dysfunction, continuous exposure to poisonous gases or toxic substances (lead based paints, chemicals or solvents used in industrial purposes and radiation).

Prolonged instances of substance abuse such as drugs and alcohol may also see individuals develop encephalopathy. Trauma to the brain, obstruction of oxygen supply to the brain via blood stream and poor nutrition may also cause encephalopathy.