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Altered State of

Consciousness
Chapter 6
General Psychology

Consciousness
is the awareness of the different stimuli in the
environment. These stimuli are acting on the
senses of a conscious being
An altered state of consciousness is a state of our
awareness when we do not have a full grasp and
apprehension of all the stimuli in the environment
that are acting on our senses.

Sleep
Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized
by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively
suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of
nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished
from wakefulness by a decreased ability to react
to stimuli, and is more easily reversible than being
in hibernation or a coma. Sleep is a heightened
anabolic state, accentuating the growth and
rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and
muscular systems.

Biological Clock also called the circadian rhythm


Melatonin In humans, melatonin is produced by the
pineal gland, a small endocrine gland located in the
center of the brain but outside the bloodbrain barrier.
The melatonin signal forms part of the system that
regulates the sleepwake cycle by chemically causing
drowsiness and lowering the body temperature, but it
is the central nervous system (specifically the
suprachiasmatic nuclei, or SCN)that controls the daily
cycle in most components of the paracrine and
endocrine systems rather than the melatonin signal
(as was once postulated).

Biological Clock

Sleep
Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) is a normal stage
of sleep characterized by the rapid and random movement
of the eyes.
In humans it typically occupies 2025% of total sleep,
about 90120 minutes of a night's sleep. REM sleep is
considered the lightest stage of sleep, and normally occurs
close to morning.
During a normal night of sleep, humans usually experience
about four or five periods of REM sleep; they are quite
short at the beginning of the night and longer toward the
end. Many animals and some people tend to wake, or
experience a period of very light sleep, for a short time
immediately after a bout of REM.
The relative amount of REM sleep varies considerably with
age.

Sleep
NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep is dreamless
sleep. During NREM, the brain waves on the
electroencephalographic (EEG) recording are typically
slow and of high voltage, the breathing and heart rate
are slow and regular, the blood pressure is low, and
the sleeper is relatively still. NREM sleep is divided
into 4 stages of increasing depth leading to REM sleep.
About 80% of sleep is NREM sleep. If you sleep 7-8
hours a night, all but maybe an hour and a half is
spent in dreamless NREM sleep

Sleep Disorder

Nightmares and Night terrors


Somnambulism and Sleepwalking
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
Narcolepsy
Insomnia and Hypersomnia
Sleep Apnea

Dreams
Dreams are successions of images, ideas,
emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily
in the mind during certain stages of sleep.
Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis,
dream is a form of wish fulfillment.

Manifest content the manifest content of a dream


includes the actual images, thoughts and content
contained within the dream. The manifest content is
the elements of the dream that we remember upon
awakening

Latent content the latent content of a dream is the


hidden psychological meaning of the dream. Freud
believed that the content of dreams is related to wish
fulfillment and suggested that dreams have two types
of content: manifest content and latent content. The
manifest content is the actual literal subject-matter of
the dream, while the latent content is the underlying
meaning of these symbols.

Dreams
Day residue A large part of the content of a
dream is directly related to things going on in our
lives during the day
Cognitive Theory - According to the cognitive
psychologists, dreams are just like what we are
thinking in everyday life.

Hypnosis

Characteristics of a hypnotic state


a. planfulness ceases
b. attention becomes more selective than usual
c. enriched fantasy is readily evoked
d. reality testing is reduced and reality distortion
is accepted
e. suggestibility is increased
f. Post-hypnotic amnesia is present.

Beneficial Effects of
Hypnosis
1. Relief from pain
2. Enhancement of Memory
3. Improvement of Self-Confidence
4. Relaxation
5. Psychotherapeutic Value

Meditation
- a mental exercise for producing relaxation or
heightened awareness.
Two major forms of meditation:
concentrative meditation - the subject is asked to
concentrate on a single stimulus. The stimulus
that will serve as a focal point may be any object
in the environment, or even something that is
immaterial like a thought.
receptive meditation - is not limited to a single
object but is open and more encompassing. In this
case, attention is widened to embrace a total,
non-judgmental awareness of the world

Psychoactive drugs
Stimulant increases functional ability
Depressant decreases functional ability
Hallucinogen creates and promotes changes in
perception that borders into fantastic to bizarre
Inhalants similar to depressant, decrease
functional ability and promote pain free state or
numbing state

Psychoactive
drugs/substances
Cocaine heightened alertness and energy
Amphetamines increased alertness and energy
Caffeine wakefulness, alertness
Alcohols loss of inhibition, euphoria
Opioids relaxation, pain free state
Designer drugs euphoria, energy