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  1. Altered state of consciousness
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Altered state of consciousness

Some pass beyond borders where realities intersect - while others fear to reach. Whether the surface of a slow moving river or the fuzzy, cloud laden sky - worlds divide along lines. Some reach from one world into another - like fishing lines - and string whole universes together.

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HEALTH; When the Mind Goes Blank: Crisis for the Elderly - The New York Times

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Sudden State of Mind , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 26, Eursley Singletary rated it did not like it. TOTAL waste of my time. Roberto Scarlato rated it really liked it Jan 03, Dylan Jones rated it liked it Dec 30, Examples of opioids include heroin , morphine , hydrocodone , and oxycodone.

Opioids produce analgesia and often feelings of euphoria in users. Opioid abuse may result in decreased production of endorphins in the brain, natural pain relievers whose effects may be heightened by drugs. If one takes a large dose of opioids to compensate for the lack of natural endorphins, the result may be death Berridge, V. Cocaine alters one's state of consciousness. Cocaine affects the neurotransmitters that nerves use to communicate with each other.

Cocaine inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine , serotonin , dopamine , and other neurotransmitters in the synapse, resulting in an altered state of consciousness or a "high" Aldridge, D. Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD , activates serotonin receptors the amine transmitter of nerve urges in brain matter. LSD acts on certain serotonin receptors, and its effects are most prominent in the cerebral cortex , an area involved in attitude, thought, and insight, which obtains sensory signs from all parts of the body. LSD's main effects are emotional and psychological. The ingester's feelings may alter quickly through a range from fear to ecstasy.

Humphrey, N. Alcohol alters consciousness by shifting levels of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals across a synapse from one neuron nerve cell to another "target" cell often another neuron. Neurotransmitters can cause inhibitory or excitatory effects on the "target" cell they are affecting. GABA causes slow actions and inaudible verbal communication that often occur in alcoholics Berridge, V Alcohol also decreases the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate.

Suppressing this stimulant results in a similar type of physiological slowdown. In addition to increasing the GABA and decreasing the glutamate in the brain, alcohol increases the amount of the chemical dopamine in the brain, which is one of the addictive causes of alcoholism. Emotions influence behavior that alters the state of consciousness. Emotions can be influenced by various stimuli. Pathological or accidental induction may refer to unforeseen events or illnesses. According to Dr. Jeffrey R.

What Are the Signs of Confusion?

Avner, professor of clinical pediatrics, a crucial element to understanding accidental and pathological causes to altered states of consciousness ASC is that it begins with reduced self-awareness followed by reduced awareness in the environment Those with personal experience of conditions such as Depersonalisation often cite the opposite, that it is an increased awareness of the environment and the self that results in altered states of consciousness. The specific conditions below provide clarity on the types of conditions compromise accidental and pathological causes.

The first condition, traumatic experience , is defined as a lesion caused by an external force Trauma. In Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, Examples include impact to the brain caused by blunt force i. The reason a traumatic experience causes altered states of consciousness is that it changes how the brain works. The external impact diverts the blood flow from the front of the brain to other areas. The front of the brain is known as the prefrontal cortex responsible for analytical thought Kunsman, When the damage becomes uncontrollable, the patient experiences changes in behavior and impaired self-awareness.

This is exactly when an ASC is experienced Spikman et al. Another common cause is epilepsy. According to Medlineplus [32] epilepsy can be described as a brain disorder that causes seizures During the seizure it is said that the patient will experience hallucinations and loss of mental control Revonsuo, Chaplin, and Wedlund, [33] causing temporary dissociation from reality. The next item of interest is oxygen deficiency , questioning how oxygen deficiency impacts the brain is an important part of comprehending why ASC occurs when there is oxygen deprivation in an environment. In addition to oxygen deprivation or deficiency, infections are a common pathological cause of ASC.

A prime example of an infection includes meningitis. The medical website WEBMD [35] states that meningitis is an infection that causes the coverings of the brain to swell. This particular infection occurs in children and young adults.

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This infection is primarily viral. Viral meningitis causes ASC and its symptoms include fevers and seizures The Impairment becomes visible the moment seizures begin to occur, this is when the patient enters the altered state of consciousness. Sleep deprivation is also associated with ASC, and can provoke seizures due to fatigue.

Sleep deprivation can be chronic or short-term depending on the severity of the patient's condition. Many patients report hallucinations because sleep deprivation impacts the brain. An MRI study conducted at Harvard Medical school in , found that a sleep-deprived brain was not capable of being in control of its sensorimotor functions, [36] leading to an impairment to the patient's self-awareness.

Patients were also prone to be a lot clumsier than if had they not been experiencing sleep deprivation. Coupled with deprivation of sleep and oxygen, another form of deprivation includes fasting. Fasting can occur because of religious purposes or from psychological conditions such as anorexia. Anorexia, as previously mentioned, is a psychological disorder in which the patient is irrationally afraid of gaining weight.

Therefore, he or she restricts the intake of calories on a daily basis. Anorexia can lead to seizures due to malnutrition Hockenbury, Don, and Hockenbury, Sandra, The dissociation caused by fasting is not only life-threatening but it is the reason why extended fasting periods can lead to ASC. Thus, the temporary dissociation from reality allows fasting to fall into the category of an ASC following the definition provided by Dr.

Avner Another pathological cause is psychosis , otherwise known as a psychotic episode. In order to comprehend psychosis, it is important to determine what symptoms it implies. Psychotic episodes often include delusions , paranoia , derealization , depersonalization , and hallucinations Revonsuo et al. Studies have not been able to clearly identify when a person is reaching a higher level of risk for a psychotic episode Schimmelmann, B.

What Is Mind Blanking? Tips to Get Rid of That Foggy Feeling

Schimmelmann, B. Reviewing the previous conditions for accidental and pathological causes, we can come to understand that all of these accidental or pathological causes share the component of reduced self-awareness. Therefore, ASCs cannot only be caused naturally but they can be induced intentionally with methods including hypnosis meditation, amongst others.

There are also ASCs which are caused by less recreational purposes; people who utilize illegal substances, or heavy dosages of medications, as well as large amounts of alcohol, can indeed comply with the definition of an ASC Revonsuo et al. Self-report questionnaires and structured interviews are the most commonly used psychometric tools to compare the various altered states of consciousness induced by the different induction methods. The altered states of consciousness experiences are very subjective, thus a wide range of aspects have to be considered while collecting the information.

Along with questionnaires, personal interviews are also a good source for comparing the responses of the participants and to draw a general conclusion. The Altered States of Consciousness ASC questionnaires have a long history of use in laboratory studies of hallucinogens and with the improvements in the definition of consciousness , there have been significant changes in the questionnaires as well.

The intent of the questionnaires is to categorize the different behaviors, traits, or conditions associated with ASC. A good questionnaire should cover a broad spectrum of phenomena and also aim at comparing different induction methods that will help to identify the immediate conditions that must be met for a particular subjective experience.

It assesses five primary dimensions and one global dimension of ASC. The main factors of the instrument are:. Here more dimensions of consciousness are included, such as spiritual experience, fear, anxiety, love, etc. It is one of the most widely used types of the questionnaire in laboratory research. While some [ who? Imaging is most important to make a diagnosis when patient's history is unobtainable and the physical examination is not dependable' Dandan, [ full citation needed ] others state that:. Otherwise, we would end up counting such things as sneezing, coughing, sleeping, being in a coma, thinking of the color red, and being dead as ASCs.

Brain state readings reveal brain activity or inactivity, but are not a good measure of ASCs. The entropic brain hypothesis by Robin L. Carhart-Harris The expression "entropy" is applied here in the context of states of consciousness and their associated neurodynamics , while high entropy is synonymous with high disorder. It is proposed that a general distinction can be made between two fundamentally different modes of cognition: Primary and secondary consciousness.

Primary consciousness is associated with unconstrained cognition and less ordered higher-entropy neurodynamics that preceded the development of modern, normal waking consciousness in adults. Examples include the psychedelic state, the rapid eye movement sleep REM state or the onset phase of psychosis. Secondary consciousness is associated with constrained cognition and more ordered neurodynamics. Examples include normal waking consciousness, the anesthetized or the depressed state.

The theory further proposes that via pharmacological induction of psychedelic substances psilocybin , the brain is able to enter into the primary state of consciousness the psychedelic state from normal waking consciousness.

When to See a Doctor

This "phase transition" between these two fundamentally different poles of consciousness is facilitated by a collapse of the normally highly organized activity within the default mode network DMN and a decoupling between the DMN and the medial temporal lobes MTLs , which are normally significantly coupled. Task-positive networks are associated with the inverse of these things e. The entropic brain hypothesis emphasizes the great research potential of the psychedelic state of mind for gaining more insight into general human consciousness.

Extensive scientific investigation on altered states of consciousness and their relationship to drug interactions with receptors in the brain have been performed. Particularly the study of the neurotransmitter serotonin and the effects of psychedelic drugs on the brain has been intensively researched over the past sixty years.

It has been hypothesized that hallucinogens act either as an antagonist or an agonist at serotonin-2A receptors and will elicit a state that shares some common phenomenological features with early acute stages of the group of schizophrenia disorders. Findings implicate that abnormalities of serotonin function and the serotonergic system could be responsible for psychiatric disorders such as the spectrum of schizophrenia gating disorders and therefore, that serotonin agonist or antagonists might be useful in the treatment of e.

To investigate the underlying causative neurotransmitter mechanisms of this phenomenon, the CSTC cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical loop model has been formulated based on empirical neurobiological work. It is indicated that the common hypofrontality overactivation of frontal brain parts and cortical activation pattern induced by serotonergic and glutamatergic hallucinogens is due to a common disruption of thalamic gating of sensory and cognitive information.

The CSTC feedback loop plays a major role in gating or filtering out external and internal information to the cortex. Thereby it influences the regulation of the level of awareness and attention. Disruption of the CSTC loop system is proposed to significantly influence information processing, e. Failures of these attentional gating mechanisms might overload patients with the excessive processing of both sensory and cognitive stimuli, which could lead to a breakdown of cognitive integrity and difficulty in distinguishing self from non-self and failure to integrate an overwhelming flood of information.

Descriptive elaboration of the mentioned effects can be found in the literature on schizophrenia as well as in descriptions of hallucinogenic drug action. Despite strong evidence linking serotonin and psychosis, novel research indicates that some behavioral effects of drugs such as psilocybin appear to be independent of the classical 5-HT2A receptor-agonist actions, implying that the model described here is not the only underlying framework at play.

Interdisciplinary research enterprises have set out to study the convergence of serotonergic and glutamatergic models of psychosis and dynamic neurotransmitter interactions, derived from the study of hallucinogenic drugs, in the future. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the psychological concept. For the medical concept, see Altered level of consciousness. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

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  7. This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. Please review the contents of the article and add the appropriate references if you can. Unsourced or poorly sourced material may be challenged and removed. April See also: Scholarly approaches of mysticism. See also: Default mode network , Psychosis , and Psychedelic drug.

    See also: Sensory gating , Psychosis , and Psychedelic experience. Classic examples of discrete states of consciousness include waking, dreaming, deep sleep, intoxication, hypnosis, and successfully induced meditative states, to name just a few. J Altern Complement Med. An Aberdeen Doctor on Hypnotism.

    The faculties of reason and judgement, the elaborate and regulative faculties, in this altered state of consciousness, are obviously dependent on sense perceptions, and vary accordingly as they do. The Duties of the State with Reference to Epileptics. Read at the 4th Annual Meeting of the Assoc. September Archives of General Psychiatry. Retrieved 29 September New York: Wiley. States of Consciousness. Altering Consciousness 2 volumes : Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Santa Barbara: Praeger.