Altered consciousness refers to changes in the level and type of consciousness of a person. These changes can include states such as unconsciousness, confusion, agitation or hypersomnia. The causes of these changes can be multiple, ranging from illness to intoxication to trauma or psychological disorder.
It is important to note that the symptoms vary considerably depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the altered state of consciousness. A person with altered consciousness due to intoxication will not have the same symptoms as a person with an illness.
Altered consciousness is a crucial subject in medicine because it can have serious consequences on the health and survival of individuals. Consciousness is defined as a person's ability to perceive his or her environment, react to stimuli and make decisions. Thus, any impairment of this function can be of great concern.
There can be multiple causes of altered consciousness. Some of the most common include injury, poisoning, illness, and stroke. Each of these causes can have different effects on a person's state of consciousness, making the diagnosis and management of altered consciousness particularly complex.
Understanding the causes and consequences of altered consciousness is critical to the effective management of individuals with altered consciousness. Healthcare professionals must be able to quickly diagnose altered consciousness and determine the underlying cause in order to provide the most appropriate treatment for each individual.
Definition and Meaning
In medicine, altered consciousness is defined as a disturbance in consciousness, which is a person's ability to perceive their environment, respond to stimuli and make decisions. This can manifest itself as:
- a reduced state of wakefulness,
- loss of consciousness,
In a psychological context, altered consciousness can be defined as a change in a person's normal mental state, such as:
- trance states,
- near death experiences,
- lucid dreaming,
- altered states of consciousness caused by psychedelics,
In neuroscience, altered consciousness can be defined as a disturbance in the brain activity that underlies consciousness. This can be caused by a brain injury or disease that affects the brain regions involved in consciousness.
In general, altered consciousness can be said to be a disturbance of consciousness, which can manifest itself in different ways and can have different causes, medical, psychological or neuroscientific.
There may be several synonyms for altered consciousness that may vary by context and source:
- Disorder of consciousness
- Disturbance of consciousness
- Confusional state
- Deep Coma
- Vegetative coma
- Vegetative state
- Excessive coma
- Comatose state
- Altered state of consciousness
- Altered state of consciousness
- Altered state of consciousness
- Deficit of consciousness
- Mental disturbance
- Disturbance of alertness
- Disturbance of consciousness.
Synonyms for altered state of consciousness are terms used to describe disturbances in consciousness, that is, a person's ability to perceive his or her environment, react to stimuli, and make decisions. These terms can be used to describe a variety of states, ranging from mild confusion to a deep coma state. It is important to note that not all of these terms are interchangeable and may have slightly different meanings depending on the context. Therefore, it is important to understand the nuances between these terms in order to provide effective management for individuals who are affected by a disturbance in consciousness.
The term altered consciousness is primarily used in medical and neuroscientific contexts to describe disturbances of consciousness. It is used to describe a variety of states ranging from mild confusion to a deep coma state. It can also be used to describe altered states of consciousness, such as trance states or lucid dreaming.
This term is used to describe states caused by:
- epileptic seizures,
- head trauma,
- brain tumors,
- metabolic disorders,
- neurodegenerative disorders,
- other conditions.
It is also used to describe conditions caused by external factors such as:
- general anesthesia,
In summary, the term altered state of consciousness is used to describe disturbances of consciousness caused by medical, neurological and psychological factors. It is used to describe various states ranging from mild confusion to a deep coma state, and also altered states of consciousness.
Some examples of the use of the term altered state of consciousness include:
- The patient suffered a concussion in the car accident from a head impact and has altered consciousness.
- The physician diagnosed the patient with a brain infection, which resulted in altered consciousness and abnormal movements.
- MRI results showed a brain tumor that could explain the patient's altered consciousness.
- The patient has been intoxicated by a substance and has altered consciousness with vomiting and seizures.
- The patient has had a stroke and has altered consciousness with impaired speech and vision.
- Patient has undergone general anesthesia for surgery and has temporary altered consciousness.
- The patient has taken psychedelics and has altered consciousness with hallucinations and perceptual disturbances.
- The patient has been hypnotized for therapy and has an altered state of consciousness with deep mental relaxation and altered perception.
These examples show how the term altered consciousness can be used to describe different medical, neurological and psychological situations that can cause disturbances of consciousness.
In conclusion, altered consciousness is a term used to describe disturbances in consciousness, i.e., a person's ability to perceive their environment, respond to stimuli, and make decisions. The term is used primarily in medical and neuroscientific contexts to describe a variety of states, ranging from mild confusion to a deep coma state. It can also be used to describe altered states of consciousness, such as trance states or lucid dreaming.
It is used to describe states caused by disease, injury, poisoning, malaise, seizures, stroke, head injury, infection, brain tumors, metabolic disorders, neurodegenerative disorders and other conditions.
It is important to understand the nuances between the terms in order to provide effective management for individuals who are affected by a disturbance in consciousness.
- Sarah Lavoie: "Introduction to Psychology: Homework Help Resource, Altered States of Consciousness: Definition & Examples" https://study.com/academy/lesson/altered-states-of-consciousness-definition-examples-quiz.html [Last accessed January 12, 2023]
- The Merck Manual, Health Professional Version: "General Review of Comas and Disorders of Consciousness" https://www.merckmanuals.com/fr-ca/professional/troubles-neurologiques/coma-et-troubles-de-la-conscience/revue-g%C3%A9n%C3%A9rale-des-comas-et-des-troubles-de-la-conscience [Last accessed January 12, 2023]
- Leandro R.D. Sanz, Steven Laureys, Olivia Gosseries: April 2018: "Altered states of consciousness: behavioral and neuroimaging studies" https://www.cairn.info/revue-de-neuropsychologie-2018-4-page-313.htm [Last accessed January 12, 2023] - Journal of Neuropsychology 2018/4 (Volume 10), pages 313-321