Altered States of Consciousness

What are altered states of consciousness?

Consciousness is defined as the state in which people maintain awareness of themselves and the environment in which they find themselves. Therefore, when there is an alteration in this state, different disorders can occur, depending on the severity of their effect on cognitive and affective mental functions.

What are the symptoms of altered states of consciousness?

Among the most frequent alterations of consciousness, we find:

  • Lethargy or drowsiness: is the reduction of alertness or lack of attention and some degree of daytime sleepiness.
  • Confusion: it would be a little more serious than lethargy, since it causes spatial-temporal disorientation of the person and even stages of daydreaming or hallucinations.
  • Stupor: the patient is permanently asleep and reacts only by stimulation, although only with simple responses.
  • Coma: is a state in which there is a lack of reaction to any stimulus and, depending on the patient, may cause a persistent vegetative state or present a minimal state of consciousness, with certain facial expressions or vocalizations.

What are the causes of altered states of consciousness?

The causes can be:

  • Drugs or hallucinogens
  • Discussion
  • Hypnosis
  • Fear
  • Sex
  • Pathologies: fasting, exhaustion, dehydration, epilepsy, diabetes, narcolepsy, mania, insomnia, etc.

What is the treatment of altered states of consciousness?

Since it is such a varied disorder, it is difficult to diagnose and find a treatment correctly for each case. The most frequent treatments are:

  • Pharmacological treatment: catecholamines, monoamines, neurotransmitters, peptides, etc.
  • Neuropsychological stimulation: basal, multisensory, music therapy, etc.