The Dream Drugstore: Chemically Altered States of Consciousness

THE DREAM DRUGSTORE: Chemically Altered States of Consciousness
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  • - Document - The Dream Drugstore: Chemically Altered States of Consciousness; However, dreams may still be enormously useful to understanding our psychological state so long as we ground our interpretations in the hard science of how dreams work at the physiological level. In this sense, the emotions and feelings experienced in a dream can be viewed as the brain's 'best attempt' to communicate information to itself in a fractured state of awareness, as a means of preparing itself for waking consciousness the following day. By exploring these emotions in an integrated state of wakeful awareness, according to Hobson, it may be possible to gain insight into what our brain was preparing itself for and why.

Since , he has been developing his theory of 'proto-consciousness. Primary or proto-consciousness represents a relatively more primitive stage of consciousness that develops earlier in both evolutionary and ontological terms.


In Psychodynamic Neurology , he discusses the little-studied yet crucial role that proto-consciousness plays in overseeing and organizing the intricately complex growth of the individual, from zygote to fetus, through the trimesters in utero, and following parturition, and draws parallels with analogous phases of development in animals such as cats. Hobson has written, co-authored, or co-edited twenty books that relate to research on dreaming and waking consciousness and on mental health.

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The Dream Drugstore: Chemically Altered States of Consciousness: Medicine & Health Science Books @ An investigation into the brain's chemistry and the mechanisms of chemically altered states of consciousness. In this book, J. Allan Hobson offers a new.

The following is a complete list: [11]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. John Allan Hobson.

The Dream Drugstore Chemically Altered States of Consciousness | Nature Medicine

Retrieved The New York Times. The New Yorker. Retrieved 17 July The Harvard sleep researcher Robert Stickgold has recalled his former collaborator J. Allan Hobson joking that the only known function of sleep is to cure sleepiness.

Functional neuroanatomy of altered states of consciousness: The transient hypofrontality hypothesis

Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Progress in Neurobiology. Psychology Today. Perseus Publishing.

Dierdre Barrett - What are Altered States of Consciousness?

Archived from the original on 8 March Consequently, one can derive a unified theory that explains normal dreaming, drug-induced visions, and psychotic states. Hobson outlines what is known about consciousness; describes the normal fluctuations that characterize wakefulness, dreaming, and the switch from one state to the next; and relates these fluctuations to the chemical alterations found in depression and schizophrenia.

Similar chemical changes determine the reactions to ingested hallucinogens. Hobson's starting point is the study of dreams. Dreams are an altered state of consciousness characterized by a series of changes that distinguishes them from waking. Dreams involve diminished self-awareness and attention as well as an abundance of delusional and bizarre beliefs, probably occasioned by the inhibition of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex neurons and by cholinergic predominance. Dreams are also characterized by loss of working memory, caused in part by low norepinephrine and serotonin levels, and enhancement of past memory secondary to disinhibition of networks that store mnemonic representations.

Visual imagery is enhanced in dreams, probably as a result of activation of higher visual centers. Hobson has constructed a model of dreaming to help us understand various states of consciousness.

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Paris: Fortin, Masson et Cie. Franco, Eli, ed. Bi- and Multi-Dimensional Models of Consciousness However, there are more sophisticated models in recent literature. Overview Author s Praise. Ask Seller a Question.

The AIM model is based on the interplay between three crucial brain attributes of consciousness: arousal-activation, source of information excitation by real-world events versus brain-generated messages , and modulation changes induced by cholinergic or serotonergic and noradrenergic transmitters. Normal, drug-induced, and pathological states can all be placed in the space created by these three dimensions, thus demonstrating their affinity.

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One can intentionally alter states of consciousness by manipulating any one of the three dimensions. For example, one can change the source of excitation as in hypnosis, trance, relaxation, and meditation or one can affect the chemical balance by ingesting psychedelics, hypnotics, stimulants, or other mood-altering drugs. Hobson begins the monograph with a detailed review of consciousness, image transformation in dreams, and a historical perspective.

He agrees that understanding dreams is "a key building block of any psychological theory of mental illness…and of great value to the individual seeking to understand the interaction between mostly unconscious emotional impulses and sometimes conscious cognition. He finds no scientific support for Freud's theory of dreams. He suggests an alternative explanation—the activation-synthesis hypothesis—that he and McCarley published in 1 : Dreams result from brain activation during sleep.

The Dream Drugstore: Chemically Altered States of Consciousness

The source of activation is the reticular formation, as it is in the waking state, but the chemical modulation is different: it is cholinergic in REM sleep and serotonergic and noradrenergic in waking. Hobson also considers another fundamental theme of psychoanalysis—dissociation—and demonstrates how this can be understood in terms of brain anatomy and physiology. Hobson goes on to consider the drugstore theme. In a section called "The Medical Drugstore," he compliments the pharmaceutical industry on the development of drugs to treat anxiety, mania, depression, and schizophrenia but points to the risks involved and cautions against indiscriminate use of these agents over the long term.

In the next section, "The Recreational Drugstore," Dr. Hobson opines "recreational drug taking is almost always a response to the human yearning for transcendence," hence the long history of experimentation with psychedelic drugs, narcotics, mushrooms, coca leaves, and the like.

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Unfortunately, tinkering with the delicate chemical brain balance can lead not only to hyperalertness and ecstasy but also to hallucinations, visions, and psychosis. The last chapter of the book is devoted to treatment implications and includes a practical guide to what the author calls neurodynamic psychotherapy. I recommend this book to psychiatrists and all informed lay people who are interested in consciousness, dreams, alien abduction, and drug abuse. The bibliography is scant and there are too few references. However, the book is clear, accessible, and jargon-free. The author speaks to us directly, draws us into his arguments, and—with the help of diagrams, narratives of dreams, illustrations, and tables—is able to make even complicated concepts understandable.

Backus is clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. Forgot Username? Forgot password?

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