Cognitive effects

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Cognitive effects can be defined as any subjective effect which directly alters or introduces new content to a facet of a person's cognition.

This page lists and describes the various cognitive effects which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds. It also further organizes these effects into subcategories based on their features and behavior.

Contents

Cognitive enhancements

Cognitive enhancements can be defined as any subjective effect which increases or raises the intensity of a facet of a person's cognition.

This page lists and describes the various cognitive enhancements which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Analysis enhancement

Main article: Analysis enhancement

Analysis enhancement is a perceived improvement of a person's overall ability to logically process information[1][2][3] or creatively analyze concepts, ideas, and scenarios. This effect can lead to a deep state of contemplation which often results in an abundance of new and insightful ideas. It can give the person a perceived ability to better analyze concepts and problems in a manner which allows them to reach new conclusions, perspectives, and solutions which would have been otherwise difficult to conceive of.

Although this effect will often result in deep states of introspection, in other cases it can produce states which are not introspective but instead result in a deep analysis of the exterior world, both taken as a whole and as the things which comprise it. This can result in a perceived abundance of insightful ideas and conclusions with powerful themes pertaining to what is often described as "the bigger picture". These ideas generally involve (but are not limited to) insight into philosophy, science, spirituality, society, culture, universal progress, humanity, loved ones, the finite nature of our lives, history, the present moment, and future possibilities.

Cognitive performance is undeniably linked to personality,[4] and it has been repeatedly shown that psychedelics alter a user's personality for the long term. Experienced psychedelics users score significantly better than controls on several psychometric measures.[5]

Analysis enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as stimulation, personal bias suppression, conceptual thinking, and thought connectivity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of stimulant and nootropic compounds, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, nicotine, and caffeine.[1][3] However, it can also occur in a more powerful although less consistent form under the influence of psychedelics such as certain LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.[5]

Anxiety

Main article: Anxiety

Anxiety is the experience of negative feelings of apprehension, worry, and general unease.[6] These feelings can range from subtle and ignorable to intense and overwhelming enough to trigger panic attacks or feelings of impending doom. Anxiety is often accompanied by nervous behaviour such as restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and muscular tension.[7]

Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of future threat. Obviously, these two states overlap, but they also differ, with fear more often associated with surges of autonomic arousal necessary for fight or flight, thoughts of immediate danger, and escape behaviors, and anxiety more often associated with muscle tension and vigilance in preparation for future danger and cautious or avoidant behaviors.[7][8] This focus of anticipated danger may be internally or externally derived.[6]

Psychoactive substance-induced anxiety can be caused as an inescapable effect of the drug itself,[7] by a lack of experience with the substance or its intensity, as an enhancement of a pre-existing state of mind, or by the experience of negative hallucinations.

Anxiety is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as depression and irritability. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as cannabinoids,[9] psychedelics,[10] dissociatives, and deliriants.[11] However, it can also occur during the withdrawal symptoms of GABAergic depressants[12] and during stimulant comedowns.[13]

Creativity enhancement

Creativity enhancement is a perceived increase in one's capability to imagine new ideas, create art, or think about existing concepts in a novel manner.[14][15][16] This effect is particularly useful to artists of any sort as it can help a person overcome creative blocks on existing projects and induce inspiration for entirely new projects. Creativity enhancement can make imaginative activities more enjoyable and effortless in the moment and the inspiration from it can benefit the individual even after the effect has worn off.

A well-known example of psychedelic creativity enhancement comes from the Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Kary Mullis, who invented a method for copying DNA segments known as the PCR and is quoted as saying: "Would I have invented PCR if I hadn't taken LSD? I seriously doubt it. I could sit on a DNA molecule and watch the polymers go by. I learned that partly on psychedelic drugs".[17] In addition, although dubious, it has been claimed Francis Crick experimented with LSD during the time he helped elucidate the structure of DNA.[18]

Creativity enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as thought connectivity, motivation enhancement, personal bias suppression, analysis enhancement, and thought acceleration in a manner which further amplifies a person's creativity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.[19][20][21] However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of cannabinoids,[22][23] dissociatives,[24] and stimulants.

Dream potentiation

Main article: Dream potentiation

Dream potentiation is an effect which increases the subjective intensity, vividness, and frequency of sleeping dream states.[25][26] This effect also results in dreams having a more complex and incohesive plot with a higher level of detail and definition.[26] Additionally, the effect causes a greatly increased likelihood of them becoming lucid dreams.

Dream potentiation is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of oneirogenic compounds, a class of hallucinogen that is used to specifically potentiate dreams when taken before sleep.[27] However, it can also occur as a residual side effect from falling asleep under the influence of an extremely wide variety of substances. At other times, it can occur as a relatively persistent effect that has arisen as a symptom of hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

Ego inflation

Main article: Ego inflation

Ego inflation is an effect that magnifies and enhances one's own ego and self-regard in a manner which results in feeling an increased sense of confidence, superiority, and general arrogance.[28] During this state, it can often feel that one is considerably more intelligent, important, and capable in comparison to those around them. This occurs in a manner which is similar to the psychological condition known as narcissistic personality disorder.[29]


At lower levels, this experience can result in an enhanced ability to handle social situations due to a heightened sense of confidence.[30] However, at higher levels, it can result in a reduced ability to handle social situations due to magnifying egoistic behavioural traits that may come across as distinctly obnoxious, narcissistic, and selfish to other people.

It is worth noting that regular and repeated long-term exposure to this effect can leave certain individuals with persistent behavioural traits of ego inflation, even when sober, within their day to day life.

Ego inflation is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as disinhibition, irritability, and paranoia in a manner which can lead to destructive behaviors and violent tendencies.[30] It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of stimulant compounds, particularly dopaminergic stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine.[28][30][31][32] However, it may also occur under the influence of other compounds such as GABAergic depressants[28] and certain dissociatives.

Emotion enhancement

Main article: Emotion enhancement

Emotion enhancement is an effect which greatly amplifies and enhances a person's current emotional state beyond normal levels of intensity.[33][34][35]

Unlike many other subjective effects such as euphoria or anxiety this effect does not actively induce specific emotions regardless of a person's current state of mind and mental stability. Instead, it works by passively amplifying and enhancing the genuine emotions that a person is already feeling prior to ingesting the drug or prior to the onset of this effect. This causes emotion enhancement to be equally capable of manifesting in both a positive and negative direction.[33][35][36]

For example, an individual who is currently feeling somewhat anxious or emotionally unstable may become overwhelmed with intensified negative emotions, paranoia, and confusion. In contrast, an individual who is generally feeling positive and emotionally stable is more likely to find themselves overwhelmed with states of emotional euphoria, happiness, and feelings of general contentment. The intensity of emotional states felt under emotion enhancement can shape the tone of a trip and predispose the user to other effects, such as mania or unity in positive states and thought loops or feelings of impending doom in negative states.[35]

Emotion enhancement is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.[33][34][35] However, it can also occur under the influence of cannabinoids, GABAergic depressants,[37][38] and stimulants.[36][39]

Empathy, affection, and sociability enhancement

Empathy, affection, and sociability enhancement is the experience of a mind state which is dominated by intense feelings of compassion, talkativeness, and happiness.[40][41][42] The experience of this effect creates a wide range of subjective changes to a person's perception of their feelings towards other people and themselves. These are described and documented in the list below:

  • Increased sociability and the feeling that communication comes easier and more naturally.
  • Increased urge to communicate or express one's affectionate feelings towards others, even if they happen to be strangers.
  • Increased feelings of empathy, love, and connection with others.
  • Increased motivation to resolve social conflicts and improve interpersonal relationships.
  • Decreased negative emotions and mental states such as stress, anxiety, and fear.
  • Decreased insecurity, defensiveness, and fear of emotional injury or rejection from others.
  • Decreased irritability, aggression, anger, and jealousy.

Empathy, affection, and sociability enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as stimulation, personal bias suppression, motivation enhancement, and anxiety suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of entactogenic compounds such as MDMA,[43][44] 4-FA,[45][46] and 2C-B.[47][48] However, it can also subtly occur to a much lesser extent under the influence of GABAergic depressants, and certain stimulants.[39]

Focus enhancement

Main article: Focus enhancement

Focus enhancement is the experience of an increased ability to selectively concentrate on an aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. It can be best characterized by feelings of intense concentration which can allow one to continuously focus on and perform tasks which would otherwise be considered too monotonous, boring, or dull to not get distracted from.[49][50]

The degree of focus induced by this effect can be much stronger than what a person is capable of sober. It can allow for hours of effortless, single-minded, and continuous focus on a particular activity to the exclusion of all other considerations such as eating and attending to bodily functions. However, although focus enhancement can improve a person’s ability to engage in tasks and use time effectively, it is worth noting that it can also cause a person to focus intensely and spend excess time on unimportant activities.

Focus enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as motivation enhancement, thought acceleration, and stimulation. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of stimulant and nootropic compounds such as amphetamine,[51] methylphenidate,[52] modafinil,[53] and caffeine.[54][55] However, it is worth noting that the same compounds which induce this mind state at moderate dosages will also often result in the opposite effect of focus suppression at heavier dosages.[56]

Immersion enhancement

Main article: Immersion enhancement

Immersion enhancement is an effect which results in a pronounced increase in one's tendency to become fully captivated and engrossed by external stimuli such as film, TV shows, video games, and various other forms of media.[57][58][59][60] This greatly increases one's suspension of disbelief, increases one’s empathy with the characters, suppresses one's memory of the "outside world", and allows one to become engaged on a level that is largely unattainable during everyday sober living.

At its highest point of intensity, immersion enhancement can reach a level in which the person begins to truly believe that the media they are consuming is a real-life event that is actually happening in front of them or is being relayed through a screen. This is likely a result of the effect synergizing with other accompanying components such as internal or external hallucinations, delusions, memory suppression, and suggestibility enhancement. Immersion enhancement often exaggerates the emotional response a person has towards media they are engaged with. Whether or not this experience is enjoyable can differ drastically depending on various factors such as the emotional tone and familiarity of what is being perceived.

Immersion enhancement is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of psychedelics[60] and cannabinoids.

Increased music appreciation

Increased music appreciation is a general sense of an increased enjoyment of music. When music is listened to during this state, not only does it subjectively sound better, but the perceived music and lyrical content may have a profound impact on the listener.[33][61][62][63][64]

This experience can give one a sense of hyper-awareness of every sound, lyric, melody, and complex layer of noise within a song in addition to an enhanced ability to individually comprehend their significance and interplay. The perceived emotional intent of the musician and the meaning of the music may also be felt in a greater level clarity than that which is attainable during everyday sober living.[62] This effect can result in the belief, legitimate or delusional, that one has connected with the “true meaning” or “spirit” behind an artist’s song. During particularly enjoyable songs, this effect can result in feelings of overwhelming harmony[64] and a general sense of appreciation that can leave the person with a deep sense of connection towards the artist they are listening to.

Increased music appreciation is commonly mistaken as a purely auditory effect but is more likely the result of several coinciding components such as novelty enhancement, personal meaning enhancement, emotion enhancement, and auditory enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics,[33][63][65] dissociatives,[66] and cannabinoids.[62] However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of stimulants[62][65] and GABAergic depressants.

Increased sense of humor

Increased sense of humor is a general enhancement of the likelihood and degree to which a person finds stimuli to be humorous and amusing. During this state, a person's sensitivity to finding things funny is noticeably amplified, often to the point that they will begin uncontrollably laughing at trivial things without any intelligible reason or apparent cause.[67][68][69][70]

In group settings, the experience of witnessing another person who is laughing intensely for no apparent reason can itself become a contagious trigger which induces semi-uncontrollable laughter within the people around them. In extreme cases, this can often form a lengthy feedback loop in which people begin to laugh hysterically at the absurdity of not being able to stop laughing and not knowing what started the laughter to begin with.

Increased sense of humor is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as emotion enhancement and novelty enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of certain hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, mescaline,[71] and cannabinoids.[67][72] However, it can also occur to a much lesser extent under the influence of stimulants,[73] GABAergic depressants, and dissociatives.[67][72]

Irritability

Main article: Irritability

Irritability is the pervasive and sustained emotional state of being easily annoyed and provoked to anger.[74] It may be expressed outwardly in the cases of violence towards others, or directed inwards towards oneself in the form of self-harm.[75]

This effect, especially when strong, can sometimes cause violent or aggressive outbursts in a small subset of people who may be predisposed to it. The chances of somebody responding in such a way differs wildly between people and depends on how susceptible an individual is to irritability and how well they cope with it. It is also worth noting that this typically only affects those who were already susceptible to aggressive behaviours. However, regardless of the person, this effect results in a lower ability to tolerate frustrations, negative stimuli, and other people. A person undergoing this effect may be prone to lashing out at others, fits of anger, or other behaviours that would be uncharacteristic for them sober.

Irritability is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and ego inflation. It is most commonly induced during the after effects of heavy dosages of stimulant compounds, such as cocaine,[76] methamphetamine,[77] and methylphenidate.[78] However, it can be a withdrawal symptom of almost any substance, and can to a lesser extent present itself during alcohol intoxication.[79]

Memory enhancement

Main article: Memory enhancement

Memory enhancement is an improvement in a person's ability to recall or retain memories.[80][81][82][83] The experience of this effect can make it easier for a person to access and remember past memories at a greater level of detail when compared to that of everyday sober living. It can also help one retain new information that may then be more easily recalled once the person is no longer under the influence of the psychoactive substance.

Memory enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement and thought acceleration. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of stimulant and nootropic compounds, such as methylphenidate,[84] caffeine,[82] Noopept,[85] nicotine,[86] and modafinil.[87]

Types

Different substances can enhance different kinds of memory with some considerable overlap. Generally, there are three types:

  • Long-term memory: A vast store of knowledge and a record of prior events.[88]
  • Short-term memory: Faculties of the human mind that can hold a limited amount of information in a very accessible state temporarily.[88][89][90]
  • Working memory: Information used to plan and carry out behavior. Not completely distinct from short-term memory, it's generally viewed as the combination of multiple components working together. Measures of working memory have been found to correlate with intellectual aptitudes (and especially fluid intelligence) better than measures of short-term memory and, in fact, possibly better than measures of any other particular psychological process. Both storage and processing have to be engaged concurrently to assess working memory capacity, which relates it to cognitive aptitude.[88][89][90][91][92]

Motivation enhancement

Motivation enhancement is an increased desire to perform tasks and accomplish goals in a productive manner.[93][94][95] This includes tasks and goals that would normally be considered too monotonous or overwhelming to fully commit oneself to.

A number of factors (which often, but not always, co-occur) reflect or contribute to task motivation: namely, wanting to complete a task, enjoying it or being interested in it.[95] Motivation may also be supported by closely related factors, such as positive mood, alertness, energy, and the absence of anxiety. Although motivation is a state, there are trait-like differences in the motivational states that people typically bring to tasks, just as there are differences in cognitive ability.[94]

Motivation enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as stimulation and thought acceleration in a manner which further increases one's productivity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of stimulant and nootropic compounds, such as amphetamine,[94][96] methylphenidate,[94] nicotine,[97] and modafinil.[98] However, it may also occur to a much lesser extent under the influence of certain opioids,[99][100] and GABAergic depressants.[99]

Novelty enhancement

Main article: Novelty enhancement

Novelty enhancement is a feeling of increased fascination[101], awe,[101][102][103] and appreciation[103][104] attributed to specific parts or the entirety of one's external environment. This can result in an often overwhelming impression that everyday concepts such as nature, existence, common events, and even household objects are now considerably more profound, interesting, and significant.[105]

The experience of this effect commonly forces those who undergo it to acknowledge, consider, and appreciate the things around them in a level of detail and intensity which remains largely unparalleled throughout every day sobriety. It is often generally described using phrases such as "a sense of wonder"[101][103] or "seeing the world as new".[104]

Novelty enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as personal bias suppression, emotion enhancement and spirituality enhancement in a manner which further intensifies the experience. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of cannabinoids, dissociatives, and entactogens.

Personal meaning enhancement

Personal meaning enhancement (also known as aberrant salience) is the experience of a considerably increased sense of personal significance becoming attributed to innocuous situations, and coincidences.[106][107][108][109][110] Trivial observations not usually noticed may seem connected, and a subjective state of "seeing solutions" might evolve to one of seeing problems, ultimately arriving at a full-fledged paranoid psychosis.[105] For example, one may feel that the lyrics of a song or events in a film directly relate to their life in a meaningful and distinct manner that is not usually felt during everyday sobriety. This feeling can continue to occur even when it is rationally understood that the external stimuli does not genuinely relate to the person experiencing it in such a direct manner.

At its highest level, this effect will often synergize with delusions in a manner which can result in one genuinely believing that innocuous events are directly related to them.[106] For example, one may begin to believe that the plot of a film is about their life or that a song was written for them. This phenomenon is well established within psychology and is commonly known as a "delusion of reference."[111][112]

Suggestibility enhancement

Suggestibility enhancement is an increased tendency to accept and act on the ideas or attitudes of others.[113][114] A common example of suggestibility enhancement in action would be a trip sitter deliberately making a person believe a false statement without question simply by telling it to them as true, even if the statement would usually be easily recognizable as impossible or absurd. If this is successfully accomplished, it can potentially result in the experience of relevant accompanying hallucinations and delusions which further solidify the belief which has been suggested to them.

Suggestibility enhancement most commonly occurs under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, and cannabinoids. This holds particularly true for users who are inexperienced or currently undergoing delusions and memory suppression. It's worth noting that this effect has been studied extensively by the scientific literature and has a relatively large body of data confirming its presence across multiple hallucinogens. These include LSD,[115] mescaline,[113] psilocybin,[113] cannabis,[116] ketamine,[117] and nitrous oxide.[118] However, anecdotal reports suggest that it may also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of GABAergic depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Thought acceleration

Main article: Thought acceleration

Thought acceleration (also known as racing thoughts)[119] is the experience of thought processes being sped up significantly in comparison to that of everyday sobriety.[120][121] When experiencing this effect, it will often feel as if one rapid-fire thought after the other is being generated in incredibly quick succession. Thoughts while undergoing this effect are not necessarily qualitatively different, but greater in their volume and speed. However, they are commonly associated with a change in mood that can be either positive or negative.[119][122]

Thought acceleration is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as stimulation, anxiety, and analysis enhancement in a manner which not only increases the speed of thought, but also significantly enhances the sharpness of a person's mental clarity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of stimulant and nootropic compounds, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, modafinil, and MDMA. However, it can also occur under the influence of certain stimulating psychedelics such as LSD, 2C-E, DOC, AMT.

Thought connectivity

Main article: Thought connectivity

Thought connectivity is an alteration of a person's thought stream which is characterized by a distinct increase in unconstrained wandering thoughts which connect into each other through a fluid association of ideas.[35][123][124][125] During this state, thoughts may be subjectively experienced as a continuous stream of vaguely related ideas which tenuously connect into each other by incorporating a concept that was contained within the previous thought. When experienced, it is often likened to a complex game of word association.

During this state, it is often difficult for the person to consciously guide the direction of their thoughts in a manner that leads into a state of increased distractibility.[35] This will usually also result in one's train of thought contemplating an extremely broad variety of subjects, which can range from important, trivial, insightful, and nonsensical topics.

Thought connectivity is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as thought acceleration and creativity enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of dissociatives, stimulants, and cannabinoids.

Thought organization

Main article: Thought organization

Thought organization (also known as fluid intelligence)[126] is a state of mind in which one's ability to analyze and categorize conceptual information using a systematic and logical thought process is considerably increased.[127][128][129] It seemingly occurs through reducing thoughts which are unrelated or irrelevant to the topic at hand, therefore improving one's capacity for a structured and cohesive thought stream.[127][130] This effect also seems to allow the person to hold a greater amount of relevant information (as evidenced by language comprehension increases)[129] in their train of thought which can be useful for extended mental calculations, articulating ideas, and analyzing logical arguments.

Thought organization is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement and thought connectivity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of mild dosages of stimulant and nootropic compounds, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and Noopept. However, this effect can occur to a lesser extent under the influence of certain cannabis strains and spontaneously during psychedelic states. It is also worth noting that the same compounds which induce this mind state at light to moderate dosages can often result in the opposite effect of thought disorganization at heavier dosages.[128][130][131]

Wakefulness

Main article: Wakefulness

Wakefulness is an increased ability to stay conscious without feeling sleepy combined with a decreased need to sleep.[132] It is contrasted with stimulation in that it does not directly increase one's energy levels above a normal baseline but instead produces feelings of a wakeful, well-rested, and alert state.[133][134] If one is sleepy before using this substance, the impulse to sleep will fade, keeping one’s eyes open will become easier, and the cognitive fog of exhaustion will be reduced.[135] However, sufficiently accumulated sleep deficiency can overpower or negate this effect in extreme cases.[133]

Wakefulness is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of a wide variety of compounds such as stimulants, nootropics, and psychedelics. However, it is worth noting that the few compounds which selectively induce this effect without a number of other accompanying effects are referred to as eugeroics or wakefulness-promoting agents. These include modafinil[133][134][136][137] and armodafinil.[133]

Cognitive suppressions

Cognitive suppressions can be described as any subjective effect which decreases or lowers the intensity of a facet of a person's cognition.

This page lists and describes the various cognitive suppressions which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Addiction suppression

Main article: Addiction suppression

Addiction suppression is the experience of a total or partial suppression of a psychological addiction to a specific substance and the cravings associated with it. This can occur as an effect which lasts long after the compound which induced it wears off or it can last only while the compound is still active.

Addiction suppression is a rare effect that is most commonly associated with psychedelics[63], psilocin[138], LSD[139], ibogaine[140] and N-acetylcysteine (NAC).[141]

Analysis

In terms of psychedelics, this effect seems to be primarily triggered by the psychological self-reflection that can manifest through a combination of effects. These primarily include analysis enhancement, personal bias suppression, and introspection. The intensity and effectiveness of this experience occurring under the influence of a psychedelic is unpredictable and depends on a variety of factors such as dosage, setting, state of mind, and a general willingness to change.

In comparison, N-acetylcysteine and a small number of other compounds seem to suppress feelings of addiction in a more direct and consistent manner. This is thought to occur as a result of their action on glutaminergic and dopaminergic pathways which may reverse brain functions that have become disturbed by heavy drug addiction.[142][141][143] This mechanism has been shown to provide relief for those who struggle with compulsive redosing, reward behaviors, and psychological cravings, and has been shown to positively reverse nicotine addiction[144], cocaine addiction[145], marijuana dependence.[146], and many other compulsive behaviors.[147] However, it is worth noting that NAC's addiction suppression qualities typically only manifest themselves while the person is still under the influence of the drug and do not seem to last beyond that.

Amnesia

Main article: Amnesia

Amnesia is a global impairment in the ability to acquire new memories regardless of sensory modality, and a loss of some memories, especially recent ones, from the period before amnesia began.[148] During states of amnesia a person will usually retain functional perceptual abilities and short-term memory which can still be used to recall events that recently occurred; this effect is distinct from the memory impairment produced by sedation.[149] As such, a person experiencing amnesia may not obviously appear to be doing so, as they can often carry on normal conversations and perform complex tasks.

This state of mind is commonly referred to as a "blackout", an experience that can be divided into 2 formal categories: "fragmentary" blackouts and "en bloc" blackouts.[150] Fragmentary blackouts, sometimes known as "brownouts", are characterized by having the ability to recall specific events from an intoxicated period but remaining unaware that certain memories are missing until reminded of the existence of those gaps in memory. Studies suggest that fragmentary blackouts are far more common than "en bloc" blackouts.[151] In comparison, En bloc blackouts are characterized by a complete inability to later recall any memories from an intoxicated period, even when prompted. It is usually difficult to determine the point at which this type of blackout has ended as sleep typically occurs before this happens.[152]

Amnesia is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as disinhibition, sedation, and memory suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of GABAergic depressants, such as alcohol,[153] benzodiazepines,[154] GHB,[155] and zolpidem[156]. However, it can also occur to a much lesser extent under the influence of extremely heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics, dissociatives, Salvia divinorum, and deliriants.

Analysis suppression

Main article: Analysis suppression

Analysis suppression is a distinct decrease in a person's overall ability to process information[157][158][159] and logically or creatively analyze concepts, ideas, and scenarios.[160] The experience of this effect leads to significant difficulty contemplating or understanding basic ideas in a manner which can temporarily prevent normal cognitive functioning.

Analysis suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as sedation, thought deceleration, and emotion suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of antipsychotic compounds,[157][158][160] and is associated with long term use of such drugs[161] like quetiapine, haloperidol, and risperidone. However, it can also occur in a less consistent form under the influence of heavy dosages of dissociatives, cannabinoids,[159] and GABAergic depressants[162].

Anxiety suppression

Main article: Anxiety suppression

Anxiety suppression (also known as anxiolysis or minimal sedation)[163] is a partial to complete suppression of a person’s ability to feel anxiety, general unease, and negative feelings of both psychological and physiological tension.[164] The experience of this effect may decrease anxiety-related behaviours such as restlessness, muscular tension,[165] rumination, and panic attacks. This typically results in feelings of extreme calmness and relaxation.

Anxiety suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as disinhibition and sedation. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of anxiolytic compounds which primarily include GABAergic depressants,[166][167] such as benzodiazepines,[168] alcohol,[169] GHB,[170] and gabapentinoids[171]. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of a large variety of other pharmacological classes which include but are not limited to opioids, dissociatives,[172] and SSRIs[173].

Cognitive fatigue

Main article: Cognitive fatigue

Cognitive fatigue (also called exhaustion, tiredness, lethargy, languidness, languor, lassitude, and listlessness) is a state usually associated with a weakening or depletion of one's mental resources.[174][175] The intensity and duration of this effect typically depends on the substance consumed and its dosage. It can also be further exacerbated by various factors such as a lack of sleep[176] or food[177]. These feelings of exhaustion involve a wide variety of symptoms which generally include some or all of the following effects:

Cognitive fatigue is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of antipsychotic compounds,[178][179] such as quetiapine, haloperidol, and risperidone. However, it can also occur during the withdrawal symptoms of many depressants,[180] and during the offset of many stimulants[181].

Confusion

Main article: Confusion

Confusion is an impairment of abstract thinking demonstrated by an inability to think with one’s customary clarity and coherence.[182] Within the context of substance use, it is commonly experienced as a persistent inability to grasp or comprehend concepts and situations which would otherwise be perfectly understandable during sobriety. The intensity of this effect seems to to be further increased with unfamiliarity[183] in either setting or substance ingested.

Confusion is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as delirium, delusions, and short term memory suppression in a manner which further increases the person's lack of comprehension. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics,[184] dissociatives,[185] synthetic cannabinoids,[186] and deliriants.[187][188] However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of heavy dosages of benzodiazepines[189] and antipsychotics[188].

Creativity suppression

Creativity suppression is a decrease in both a person's motivation and capabilities when performing tasks that involve producing artistic output or novel problem-solving.[190] This effect may be particularly frustrating to deal with for artists of any sort as it will induce a temporary creative block.

Although creative subjects paradoxically more often have a history of depression than the average, their creative work is not done during their depressions, but in rebound periods of increased energy between depressions.[190][191]

Creativity suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as depression,[192] anxiety, and emotion suppression in a manner which further decreases the person's creative abilities.[190] It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of antipsychotics.[190][193][194] However, it can also occur due to SSRI's[195] and during the withdrawal symptoms of any dopaminergic compound.[194]

Delirium

Main article: Confusion

Confusion is an impairment of abstract thinking demonstrated by an inability to think with one’s customary clarity and coherence.[182] Within the context of substance use, it is commonly experienced as a persistent inability to grasp or comprehend concepts and situations which would otherwise be perfectly understandable during sobriety. The intensity of this effect seems to to be further increased with unfamiliarity[183] in either setting or substance ingested.

Confusion is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as delirium, delusions, and short term memory suppression in a manner which further increases the person's lack of comprehension. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics,[184] dissociatives,[196] synthetic cannabinoids,[186] and deliriants.[197][188] However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of heavy dosages of benzodiazepines[189] and antipsychotics[188].

Disinhibition

Main article: Disinhibition

Disinhibition is an orientation towards immediate gratification, leading to impulsive behavior driven by current thoughts, feelings, and external stimuli, without regard for past learning or consideration of future consequences.[198][199][200] This is usually manifested through recklessness, poor risk assessment, and a disregard for social conventions.

At its lower levels of intensity, disinhibition can allow one to overcome emotional apprehension and suppressed social skills in a manner that is moderated and controllable for the average person. This can often prove useful for those who suffer from social anxiety or a general lack of self-confidence.

However, at its higher levels of intensity, the disinhibited individual may be completely unable to maintain any semblance of self-restraint, at the expense of politeness, sensitivity, or social appropriateness. This lack of constraint can be negative, neutral, or positive depending on the individual and their current environment.

Disinhibition is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as amnesia and anxiety suppression in a manner which can further decrease the person's observance of and regard for social norms. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of GABAergic depressants, such as alcohol,[201] benzodiazepines,[202] phenibut, and GHB. However, it may also occur under the influence of certain stimulants,[203] entactogens,[204] and dissociatives[205].

Dream suppression

Main article: Dream suppression

Dream suppression is a decrease in the vividness, intensity, frequency, and recollection of a person's dreams. At its lower levels, this can be a partial suppression which results in the person having dreams of a lesser intensity and a lower rate of frequency. However, at its higher levels, this can be a complete suppression which results in the person not experiencing any dreams at all.

Dream suppression is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of cannabinoids[206] and most types of antidepressants[207][208][209]. This is due to the way in which they increase REM latency, decrease REM sleep, reduce total sleep time and efficiency, and increase wakefulness.[206][207][208][210] REM sleep is where the majority of dreams occur.[211]

Emotion suppression

Main article: Emotion suppression

Emotion suppression (also known as flat affect, apathy, or emotional blunting) is a flattening or decrease in the intensity of one's current emotional state below normal levels.[212][213][214] This dulls or suppresses the genuine emotions that a person was already feeling prior to ingesting the drug. For example, an individual who is currently feeling somewhat anxious or emotionally unstable may begin to feel very apathetic, neutral, uncaring, and emotionally blank. This also impacts the degree to which the person will express their emotional state through body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

It is worth noting that although a reduction in the intensity of one's emotions may be beneficial at times (e.g., the blunting of an anger response in a volatile patient), it may be detrimental at other times (e.g., emotional indifference at the funeral of a close family member).[215]

Emotion suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as motivation suppression, thought deceleration, and analysis suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of antipsychotic compounds, such as quetiapine, haloperidol, and risperidone.[212][193] However, it can also occur in less consistent form under the influence of heavy dosages of dissociatives,[216][217] SSRI's,[215][195] and GABAergic depressants[218].

Focus suppression

Main article: Focus suppression

Focus suppression (also known as distractability[219]) is a decreased ability to selectively concentrate on an aspect of the environment while ignoring other things.[220][221] It can be best characterized by feelings of intense distractability which can prevent one from focusing on and performing basic tasks that would usually be relatively easy to not get distracted from.[222] This effect will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as motivation suppression, thought deceleration, and sedation.[23]

Focus suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as sedation, motivation suppression, and creativity suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate or heavy dosages of antipsychotics,[223] benzodiazepines, cannabinoids,[23] and hallucinogens. However, it is worth noting that stimulant compounds which primarily induce focus enhancement at light to moderate dosages will also often lead into focus suppression at their heavier dosages.[56]

Language suppression

Main article: Language suppression

Language suppression (also known as aphasia) is the decreased ability to use and understand speech.[224][225] This creates the feeling of finding it difficult or even impossible to vocalize one's own thoughts and to process the speech of others. However, the ability to speak and to process the speech of others doesn't necessarily become suppressed simultaneously; a person may find themselves unable to formulate a coherent sentence while still being able to perfectly understand the speech of others.

Generally, this effect can be divided into four broad categories:[224][225]

  1. Expressive (also called Broca's aphasia): difficulty in conveying thoughts through speech or writing. The person knows what she/he wants to say, but cannot find the words he needs. For example, a person with Broca's aphasia may say, "Walk dog," meaning, "I will take the dog for a walk," or "book book two table," for "There are two books on the table."
  2. Receptive (Wernicke's aphasia): difficulty understanding spoken or written language. The individual hears the voice or sees the print but cannot make sense of the words. These people may speak in long, complete sentences that have no meaning, adding unnecessary words and even creating made-up words. For example, "You know that smoodle pinkered and that I want to get him round and take care of him like you want before." As a result, it is often difficult to follow what the person is trying to say and the speakers are often unaware of their spoken mistakes.
  3. Global: People lose almost all language function, both comprehension and expression. They cannot speak or understand speech, nor can they read or write. This results from severe and extensive damage to the language areas of the brain. They may be unable to say even a few words or may repeat the same words or phrases over and over again.
  4. Anomic (or amnesiac): the least severe form of aphasia; people have difficulty in using the correct names for particular objects, people, places, or events.

Language suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as analysis suppression and thought deceleration. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of antipsychotic compounds, such as quetiapine,[226] haloperidol,[227] and risperidone.[228] However, it can also occur in a less consistent form under the influence of extremely heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics,[229] dissociatives,[229][230] and deliriants.[231] This is far more likely to occur when the person is inexperienced with that particular hallucinogen.

Memory suppression

Main article: Memory suppression

Memory suppression (also known as ego suppression, ego loss or ego death) is an inhibition of a person's ability to maintain a functional short and long-term memory.[232][108][123] This occurs in a manner that is directly proportional to the dosage consumed, and often begins with the degradation of one's short-term memory.

Memory suppression is a process which may be broken down into the 4 basic levels described below:

  1. Partial short-term memory suppression - At the lowest level, this effect is a partial and potentially inconsistent failure of a person's short-term memory. It can cause effects such as a general difficulty staying focused, an increase in distractibility, and a general tendency to forget what one is thinking or saying.
  2. Complete short-term memory suppression - At this level, this effect is the complete failure of a person's short-term memory. It can be described as the experience of being completely incapable of remembering any specific details regarding the present situation and the events leading up to it for more than a few seconds. This state of mind can often result in thought loops, confusion, disorientation, and a loss of control, especially for the inexperienced. At this level, it can also become impossible to follow both conversations and the plot of most forms of media.
  3. Partial long-term memory suppression - At this level, this effect is the partial, often intermittent failure of a person's long-term memory in addition to the complete failure of their short-term memory. It can be described as the experience of an increased difficulty recalling basic concepts and autobiographical information from one's long-term memory. Compounded with the complete suppression of short term memory, it creates an altered state where even basic tasks become challenging or impossible as one cannot mentally access past memories of how to complete them. For example, one may take a longer time to recall the identity of close friends or temporarily forget how to perform basic tasks. This state may create the sensation of experiencing something for the first time. At this stage, a reduction of certain learned personality traits, awareness of cultural norms, and linguistic recall may accompany the suppression of long-term memory.
  4. Complete long-term memory suppression - At the highest level, this effect is the complete and persistent failure of both a person's long and short-term memory. It can be described as the experience of becoming completely incapable of remembering even the most basic fundamental concepts stored within the person's long-term memory. This includes everything from their name, hometown, past memories, the awareness of being on drugs, what drugs even are, what human beings are, what life is, that time exists, what anything is, or that anything exists. Memory suppression of this level blocks all mental associations, attached meaning, acquired preferences, and value judgements one may have towards the external world. Sufficiently intense memory loss is also associated with the loss of a sense of self, in which one is no longer aware of their own existence. In this state, the user is unable to recall all learned conceptual knowledge about themselves and the external world, and no longer experiences the sensation of being a separate observer in an external world. This experience is commonly referred to as "ego death".

Memory suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as thought loops, personal bias suppression, amnesia, and delusions. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.[233]

It is worth noting that although memory suppression is vaguely similar in its effects to amnesia, it differs in that it directly suppresses one's usage of their long or short term memory without inhibiting the person's ability to recall what happened during this experience afterward. In contrast, amnesia does not directly affect the usage of one's short or long-term memory during its experience but instead renders a person incapable of recalling events after it has worn off. A person experiencing memory suppression cannot access their existing memory, while a person with drug-induced amnesia cannot properly store new memories. As such, a person experiencing amnesia may not obviously appear to be doing so, as they can often carry on normal conversations and perform complex tasks. This is not the case with memory suppression.

Ego death

The most significant aspect of complete long-term memory suppression (level 4) is the way in which it suppresses the ability to recall and comprehend conceptual information associated with one's sense of self-hood and identity. The experience of this is colloquially known as ego death and its occurrence is well documented throughout the modern psychonaut subculture. However, it is worth noting that this informal term of "ego death" or "ego dissolution" is also commonly used to refer to states of high level unity and interconnectedness.[232][28][234]

Complete memory suppression can result in the profound experience that despite remaining fully conscious, there is no longer an “I” experiencing one's sensory input; there is just the sensory input as it is and by itself. This suppresses the otherwise nearly constant sensation in waking life of being a separate observer interacting with an external world. Although ego death does not necessarily shut down awareness of all mental processes, it does remove the feeling of being the thinker or cause of one's mental processes. It often results in the feeling of processing concepts from a neutral perspective completely untainted by past memories, prior experiences, contexts, and biases.

Ego death often synergizes with other coinciding effects such as personal bias suppression, unity and interconnectedness, spirituality enhancement, and delusions.[232][123] These accompanying effects further elevate the subjective intensity and transpersonal significance of ego death experiences.[108]

Motivation suppression

Motivation suppression (also known as avolition or amotivation)[235] is a decreased desire to initiate or persist in goal-directed behavior.[236][237] Motivation suppression prevents an individual the ability to sustain the rewarding value of an action into an uncertain future; this includes tasks deemed challenging or unpleasant, such as working, studying, cleaning, and doing general chores. At its higher levels, motivation suppression can cause one to lose their desire to engage in any activities, even the ones that would usually be considered entertaining or rewarding to the user. This effect can lead onto severe states of boredom and even mild depression when experienced at a high level of intensity for prolonged periods of time.

Motivation suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as sedation and thought deceleration. It is most commonly induced under the influence of an acute dosage of an antipsychotic compound, such as quetiapine, haloperidol, and risperidone.[238][239] However, it is worth noting that chronic treatment with any dose of antipsychotic medication does not cause this effect.[235] It can also occur under the influence of heavy dosages of cannabinoids[240] and benzodiazepines, as a result of long-term SSRI usage,[241] during the offset of stimulants, and during the withdrawal symptoms of almost any compound.

Personal bias suppression

Personal bias suppression (also called cultural filter suppression) is a decrease in the personal or cultural biases, preferences, and associations which a person knowingly or unknowingly filters and interprets their perception of the world through.[242]

Analyzing one's beliefs, preferences, or associations while experiencing personal bias suppression can lead to new perspectives that one could not reach while sober. The suppression of this innate tendency often induces the realization that certain aspects of a person's personality, world view and culture are not reflective of objective truths about reality, but are in fact subjective or even delusional opinions.[242] This realization often leads to or accompanies deep states of insight and critical introspection which can create significant alterations in a person's perspective that last anywhere from days, weeks, months, or even years after the experience itself.

Personal bias suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as conceptual thinking, analysis enhancement, and especially memory suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogens such as dissociatives and psychedelics. However, it can also occur to a much lesser extent under the influence of very heavy dosages entactogens and cannabinoids.

Sleepiness

Main article: Sleepiness

Sleepiness (also known as drowsiness) is a state of near-sleep, or a strong desire for sleep without feeling a decrease in one's physical energy levels.[243][244][245] This state is independent of a circadian rhythm;[243] so, unlike sedation, this effect does not necessarily decrease physical energy levels but instead decreases wakefulness. It results in a propensity for tired, clouded, and sleep-prone behaviour. This can lead into a decreased motivation to perform tasks, as the increase in one's desire to sleep begins to outweigh other considerations. Prolonged exposure to this effect without appropriate rest can lead to cognitive fatigue and a range of other cognitive suppressions.

Sleepiness is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of a wide variety of compounds such as cannabinoids,[246] GABAergic depressants,[247][248] opioids,[249] antipsychotics,[250][238] some antihistamines,[251] and certain psychedelics. However, it is worth noting that the few compounds which selectively induce this effect without a number of other accompanying effects are referred to as hypnotics.

Suggestibility suppression

Suggestibility suppression is a decreased tendency to accept and act on the suggestions of others. A common example of suggestibility suppression in action would be a person being unwilling to believe or trust another person's suggestions without a greater amount of prior discussion than would usually be considered necessary during every day sobriety.

Although this effect can occur as a distinct mindstate, it may also arise due to interactions between a number of other effects. For example, a person who is currently experiencing mild paranoia combined with analysis enhancement may find themselves less trusting and more inclined to think through the suggestions of others before acting upon them, alternatively, a person who is experiencing ego inflation may find that they value their own opinion over others and are therefore equally less likely to follow the suggestions of others.

Alcohol has been shown to decrease suggestibility in a dose-dependent manner,[252][253] while its withdrawals increases suggestibility.[254] A large proportion of individuals who come in contact with law enforcement personnel are under the influence of alcohol, including perpetrators, victims, and witnesses of crimes. This has to be taken into account when investigative interviews are planned and conducted, and when the reliability of the information derived from such interviews is evaluated.[252][253][254]

Suggestibility suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as irritability[252] and ego inflation. It is most commonly induced under the influence of GABAergic depressants.[252][253][254]

Thought deceleration

Main article: Thought deceleration

Thought deceleration (also known as bradyphrenia)[255] is the process of thought being slowed down significantly in comparison to that of normal sobriety. When experiencing this effect, it will feel as if the time it takes to think a thought and the amount of time which occurs between each thought has been slowed down to the point of greatly impairing cognitive processes. It can manifest itself in delayed recognition, slower reaction times, and fine motor skills deficits.

Thought deceleration is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as analysis suppression and sedation in a manner which not only decreases the person's speed of thought, but also significantly decreases the sharpness of a person's mental clarity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of depressant compounds, such as GABAergics,[256][257][258] antipsychotics,[259] and opioids.[260][261][262] However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogens such as psychedelics,[64] dissociatives,[263] deliriants,[258][264] and cannabinoids.[265][266][267][268]

Thought disorganization

Thought disorganization is a state in which one's ability to analyze and categorize conceptual information using a systematic and logical thought process is considerably decreased. It seemingly occurs through an increase in thoughts which are unrelated or irrelevant to the topic at hand, thus decreasing one's capacity for a structured and cohesive thought stream. This effect also seems to allow the user to hold a significantly lower amount of relevant information in their train of thought which can be useful for extended mental calculations, articulating ideas, and analyzing logical arguments.

Thought disorganization is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as analysis suppression and thought acceleration. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic and depressant compounds, such as dissociatives,[269][270][271][272] psychedelics,[269][273] cannabinoids,[269][274][275] and GABAergics.[276][277] However, it is worth noting that the same stimulant or nootropics compounds which induce thought organization at lower dosages, can also often result in the opposite effect of thought disorganization at their higher dosages.[269][277][278][279]

Novel cognitive states

A novel cognitive state can be defined as any cognitive effect which does not merely amplify or suppress familiar states of mind, but rather induces an experience that is qualitatively different from that of ordinary consciousness.

Although many transpersonal and psychological effects also technically fit into this definition, they are excluded from this category of effects as they have their own defining qualities which standard novel states do not.

This page lists and describes the various novel states which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Autonomous voice communication

Autonomous voice communication (also known as auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs))[280] is the experience of being able to hear and converse with a disembodied and audible voice of unknown origin which seemingly resides within one's own head.[281][282][283][284] This voice is often capable of high levels of complex and detailed speech which are typically on par with the intelligence and vocabulary of ones own conversational abilities.

As a whole, the effect itself can be broken down into 5 distinct levels of progressive intensity, each of which are described below:

  1. A sensed presence of the other - The distinctive feeling that another form of consciousness is internally present alongside that of one's usual sense of self. This sensation is often referred to within the scientific literature as a "sense of presence".[282][285][286][287]
  2. Mutually generated internal responses - Internally felt conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which feel as if they are partially generated by one's own thought stream and in equal measure by that of a separate thought stream.[288]
  3. Separately generated internal responses - Internally felt conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which feel as if they are generated by an entirely distinct and separate thought stream that resides within one's head.[280][282][288]
  4. Separately generated audible internal responses - Internally heard conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which are perceived as a clearly defined and audible voice within one's head. These can take on a variety of voices, accents, and dialects, but usually sound identical to one's own spoken voice.[281][288]
  5. Separately generated audible external responses - Externally heard conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which are perceived as a clearly defined and audible voice which sounds as if it is coming from outside one's own head. These can take on a variety of voices, accents, and dialects, but usually sound identical to the person's own spoken voice.[281][282][288]

The speaker behind this voice is commonly interpreted by those who experience it to be the voice of their own subconscious, the psychoactive substance itself, a specific autonomous entity, or even supernatural concepts such as god, spirits, souls, and ancestors.

At higher levels, the conversational style of that which is discussed between both the voice and its host can be described as essentially identical in terms of its coherency and linguistic intelligibility as that of any other everyday interaction between the self and another human being of any age with which one might engage in conversation with. Higher levels may also manifest itself in multiple voices or even an ambiguous collection of voices such as a crowd.[282]

However, there are some subtle but identifiable differences between this experience and that of normal everyday conversations. These stem from the fact that one's specific set of knowledge, memories and experiences are identical to that of the voice which is being communicated with.[282][284] This results in conversations in which both participants often share an identical vocabulary down to the very use of their colloquial slang and subtle mannerisms. As a result of this, no matter how in depth and detailed the discussion becomes, no entirely new information is ever exchanged between the two communicators. Instead, the discussion focuses primarily on building upon old ideas and discussing new opinions or perspectives regarding the previously established content of one's life.

Autonomous voice communication is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as delusions, autonomous entities, auditory hallucinations, and psychosis in a manner which can sometimes lead the person into believing the voices statements unquestionably in a delusional manner. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. However, it may also occur during the offset of prolonged stimulant binges and less consistently under the influence of heavy dosages of cannabinoids.

Analysis

The experience of communicating with hallucinated voices has been well established with and without the use of hallucinogenic drugs through scientific study. For example, one study successfully demonstrated that anybody can encounter a dialogue between themselves and a voice of unknown origin under the influence of psilocybin mushrooms. This study interviewed 128 participants with an approximate total of 3,427 psilocybin mushroom experiences between them and revealed that 35.9% (46) of the participants reported voices whilst 64% (82) did not.[289]

Even outside of these drug-induced experiences, hearing voices within one's head is a well documented psychological phenomena and can in and of itself, generally be considered as a relatively harmless state of mind to find oneself in.[290][291]

Cognitive dysphoria

Main article: Cognitive dysphoria

Cognitive dysphoria (semantically the opposite of euphoria) is medically recognized as a cognitive and emotional state in which a person experiences intense feelings of dissatisfaction, and in some cases indifference to the world around them.[292][282] These feelings can vary in their intensity depending on the dosage consumed and the user's susceptibility to mental instability. Although dysphoria is an effect, the term is also used colloquially to define a state of general melancholic unhappiness (such as that of mild depression)[293][294] often combined with an overwhelming sense of discomfort and malaise.[295]

Cognitive dysphoria is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and depression.[292][282][296] It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of deliriant compounds, such as DPH and datura. However, it can also occur during a stimulants offset and during the withdrawal symptoms of almost any substance.

Cognitive euphoria

Main article: Cognitive euphoria

Cognitive euphoria (semantically the opposite of cognitive dysphoria) is medically recognized as a cognitive and emotional state in which a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy.[297] Although euphoria is an effect (i.e. a substance is euphorigenic),[298][299] the term is also used colloquially to define a state of transcendent happiness combined with an intense sense of contentment.[300] However, recent psychological research suggests euphoria can largely contribute to but should not be equated with happiness.[301]

Cognitive euphoria is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as physical euphoria and tactile enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of opioids, entactogens, stimulants, and GABAergic depressants. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids.

Compulsive redosing

Main article: Compulsive redosing

Compulsive redosing is the experience of a powerful and difficult to resist urge to continuously redose a psychoactive substance in an effort to increase or maintain the subjective effects which it induces.[302][282][303]

This effect is considerably more likely to manifest itself when the user has a large supply of the given substance within their possession. It can be partially avoided by pre-weighing dosages, not keeping the remaining material within sight, exerting self-control, and giving the compound to a trusted individual to keep until they deem it safe to return.

Compulsive redosing is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as cognitive euphoria, physical euphoria, or anxiety suppression alongside of other effects which inhibit the clarity of one's decision-making processes such as disinhibition, motivation enhancement, and ego inflation. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of a wide variety of compounds, such as opioids, stimulants,[282][304][305] GABAergics,[282] and entactogens. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of dissociatives and cannabinoids.

Conceptual thinking

Main article: Conceptual thinking

Conceptual thinking is an alteration to the nature and content of one's internal thought stream. This alteration predisposes a user to think thoughts which are no longer primarily comprised of words and linear sentence structures. Instead, thoughts become equally comprised of what is perceived to be incredibly detailed renditions of the innately understandable and internally stored concepts for which no words exist. Thoughts cease to be spoken by an internal narrator and are instead “felt” and intuitively understood.

For example, if a person was to think of an idea such as a "chair" during this state, one would not hear the word as part of an internal thought stream, but would feel the internally stored, pre-linguistic and innately understandable data which comprises the specific concept labelled within one's memory as a "chair". These conceptual thoughts are felt in a comprehensive level of detail that feels as if it is unparalleled within the primarily linguistic thought structure of everyday life. This is sometimes interpreted by those who undergo it as some "higher level of understanding".

During this experience, conceptual thinking can cause one to feel not just the entirety of a concept's attributed data, but also how a given concept relates to and depends upon other known concepts. This can result in the perception that the person can better comprehend the complex interplay between the idea that is being contemplated and how it relates to other ideas.

Conceptual thinking is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as personal bias suppression and analysis enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of entactogens, cannabinoids, and meditation.

Enhancement and suppression cycles

Enhancement and suppression cycles is an effect which results in two opposite states of mind that do not occur simultaneously but instead swap between each other at seemingly random intervals. These intervals are generally 10-30 minutes in length but can occasionally be considerably shorter.

The first of these two alternate states can be described as the experience of cognitive enhancements which feel is if they drastically improve the person's ability to think clearly. This includes analysis enhancement, thought organization, thought acceleration, creativity enhancement, and thought connectivity.

The second of these two alternate states can be described as the experience of a range of cognitive suppressions which feel as if they drastically inhibit the person's ability to think clearly. These typically include specific effects such as thought deceleration, thought disorganization, creativity suppression, language suppression, and analysis suppression.

Enhancement and suppression cycles are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic tryptamines, such as psilocybin, ayahuasca, and 4-AcO-DMT.

Multiple thought streams

Multiple thought streams is a state of mind in which a person has more than one internal narrative or stream of consciousness simultaneously occurring within their head. This can result in any number of independent thought streams occurring at the same time, each of which are often controllable in a similar manner to that of one's everyday thought stream.

These multiple coinciding thought streams can be experienced simultaneously in a manner which is evenly distributed and does not prioritize the awareness of any particular thought stream over an other. However, they can also be experienced in a manner which feels as if it brings awareness of a particular thought stream to the foreground while the others continue processing information in the background. This form of multiple thought streams typically swaps between specific trains of thought at seemingly random intervals.

The experience of this effect can sometimes allow one to analyse many different ideas simultaneously and can be a source of great insight. However, it will usually overwhelm the person with an abundance of information that becomes difficult or impossible to fully process at a normal speed.

Multiple thought streams are often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as memory suppression and thought disorganization. They are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Simultaneous emotions

Main article: Simultaneous emotions

Simultaneous emotions is the experience of feeling multiple emotions simultaneously without an obvious external trigger. For example, during this state a user may suddenly feel intense conflicting emotions such as simultaneous happiness, sadness, love, hate, etc. This can result in states of mind in which the user can potentially feel any number of conflicting emotions in any possible combination.

Simultaneous emotions are often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as memory suppression and emotion enhancement. They are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Spatial disorientation

Spatial disorientation is the inability to intuitively feel one's orientation in 3-dimensional space.[306] In this state, a person may have trouble distinguishing up from down, right from left, or any two different directions from another. The person might also perceive the world or their own body as being flipped sideways or upside down.

Spatial disorientation is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as holes, spaces and voids, changes in felt gravity,[307] and dizziness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM.

Thought loops

Main article: Thought loops

A thought loop is the experience of becoming trapped within a chain of thoughts, actions and emotions which repeats itself over and over again in a cyclic loop. These loops usually range from anywhere between 5 seconds and 2 minutes in length. However, some users have reported them to be up to a few hours in length. It can be extremely disorientating to undergo this effect and it often triggers states of progressive anxiety within people who may be unfamiliar with the experience. The most effective way to end a cycle of thought loops is to simply sit down and try to let go.

This state of mind is most likely to occur during states of memory suppression in which there is a partial or complete failure of the person's short-term memory. This may suggest that thought loops are the result of cognitive processes becoming unable to sustain themselves for appropriate lengths of time due to a lapse in short-term memory, resulting in the thought process attempting to restart from the beginning only to fall short once again in a perpetual cycle.

Thought loops are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives. However, they can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of extremely heavy dosages of stimulants and benzodiazepines.

Time distortion

Main article: Time distortion

Time distortion is an effect that makes the passage of time feel difficult to keep track of and wildly distorted.[308] It is usually felt in two different forms, time dilation and time compression.[309] These two forms are described and documented below:

Time dilation

Time dilation is the feeling that time has slowed down. This commonly occurs during intense hallucinogenic experiences and seems to at least partially stem from the fact that during an intense trip, abnormally large amounts of experience are felt in very short periods of time. This can create the illusion that more time has passed than actually has. For example, at the end of certain experiences, one may feel that they have subjectively undergone days, weeks, months, years, or even infinite periods of time.

Time dilation is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as delusions, thought loops, novelty enhancement, and internal hallucinations in a manner which may lead one into perceiving a disproportionately large number of events considering the amount of time that has actually passed in the real world. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, and cannabinoids.

Analysis

Studies have demonstrated that psilocin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, significantly impairs a person's ability to gauge time intervals longer than 2.5 seconds, impairs their ability to synchronize to inter-beat intervals longer than 2 seconds, and reduces their "preferred" tapping rate.[310][311] These results are consistent with the drug's role in affecting prefrontal cortex activity, and the role that the prefrontal cortex is known to play in time perception.[citation needed]

Time compression

Time compression is the experience of time speeding up and passing much quicker than it usually would while sober. For example, during this state a person may realize that an entire evening has passed them by in what feels like only a couple of hours.

This commonly occurs under the influence of stimulating compounds and seems to at least partially stem from the fact that during intense levels of stimulation, people typically become hyper-focused on activities and tasks in a manner which can allow time to pass them by without realizing it. However, the same experience can also occur on depressant compounds which induce amnesia. This occurs due to the way in which a person can literally forget everything that has happened while still experiencing the effects of the substance, thus giving the impression that they have suddenly jumped forward in time.

Time compression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as memory suppression, focus enhancement, stimulation, and amnesia in a manner which may lead one into perceiving a disproportionately small number of events considering the amount of time that has actually passed in the real world. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of stimulating or amnesic compounds, such as amphetamines, benzodiazepines, entactogens, and GABAergic depressants.

Time reversal

Time reversal is the perception that the events, hallucinations, and experiences that occurred around one's self within the previous several minutes to several hours are spontaneously playing backwards in a manner which is somewhat similar to that of a rewinding VHS tape. During this reversal, the person's cognition and train of thought will typically continue to play forward in a coherent and linear manner while they watch the external environment around them and their body's physical actions play in reverse order. This can either occur in real time, with 5 minutes of time reversal taking approximately 5 minutes to fully rewind, or it can occur in a manner which is sped up, with 5 minutes of time reversal only taking less than a minute. It can reasonably be speculated that the experience of time reversal may potentially occur through a combination of internal hallucinations and errors in memory encoding.

Time reversal is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as internal hallucinations, thought loops, and deja vu. It is most commonly induced under the influence of extremely heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.

Psychological effects

Psychological effects can be described as any cognitive effect that is either established within the psychological literature or arises as a result of the complex interplay between other more simplistic components such as cognitive enhancements and suppressions.

This page lists and describes the various psychological effects which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Catharsis

Main article: Catharsis

Catharsis can be described as the experience of a sudden healing or releasing of strong or repressed negative emotions.[312][313][314] The process typically starts off being difficult to fully face and is sometimes accompanied by very physically intense sensations which typically lead into pronounced emotion enhancement, deep introspection, and an analysis of one's character and past events. During this experience many people describe reliving traumatic events, witnessing painful memories, having enhanced mental imagery, reliving of past experiences, a release of previously repressed emotions, painful feelings in general, and even experiences of encountering deceased relatives during hallucinatory states. This process of healing negative emotions and traumas (no matter the substance) is often described as feeling very natural and cleansing.

In the context of psychoactive substances, this effect is commonly referred to as "purgative" in nature. It can be very effective for helping the individual overcome conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other personal afflictions relating to suffered past traumas. After this experience is over, most users report feelings of contentment, rejuvenation, and personal bias suppression which may last days, weeks, or even years after the event is over.

Catharsis is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of entactogens[315], dissociatives, and meditation.

Delusions

Main article: Delusions

A delusion is a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly held despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture (i.e., it is not an article of religious faith). When a false belief involves a value judgement, it is regarded as a delusion only when the judgement is so extreme as to defy credibility. Delusional conviction can sometimes be inferred from an overvalued idea (in which case the individual has an unreasonable belief or idea but does not hold it as firmly as is the case with a delusion).[292][316][317]

Within the context of psychoactive substance usage, delusions can usually be broken out of when overwhelming evidence is provided to the contrary or when the person has sobered up enough to logically analyse the situation. It is exceedingly rare for hallucinogen induced delusions to persist into sobriety.

It is also worth noting that delusions can often spread between individuals in group settings.[318] For example, if one person makes a verbal statement regarding a delusional belief they are currently holding while in the presence of other similarly intoxicated people, these other people may also begin to hold the same delusion. This can result in shared hallucinations and a general reinforcement of the level of conviction in which they are each holding the delusional belief.

Delusions are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, deliriants, and dissociatives. However, they can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of cannabinoids, stimulant psychosis, and sleep deprivation. They are most likely to occur during states of memory suppression and share common themes and elements with clinical schizophrenia.

Types

All delusions can be categorized by whether or not they are bizarre and whether or not they are mood-congruent. These various different types are described and documented below:

  • Bizarre delusion: A delusion that is characteristically absurd and completely implausible. An example of a bizarre delusion could be the belief that aliens have removed the delusional person's brain.[319]
  • Non-bizarre delusion: A delusion that, though false, is at least theoretically plausible. An example of this could be the belief that the delusional person is currently under police surveillance.[319]
  • Mood-congruent delusion: A delusion with content consistent with either a depressive or manic state. For example, a depressed person may believe that a news anchor on television highly disapproves of them as a person or that the world is ending. However, a manic person might believe that they are a powerful deity, that they have special talents, a special higher purpose, or are a famous person.[319]
  • Mood-neutral delusion: A delusion that does not relate to the sufferer's emotional state. For example, a belief that an extra limb is growing out of the back of one's head would likely be neutral to a persons depression or mania.[319]

Themes

In addition to these categories, delusions can be classified by their thematic content. Although delusions can have any theme, certain underlying themes are commonly found amongst different people. Some of the more common delusional themes which are induced by psychoactive substances are described and documented below:

Delusion of reference

Delusions of reference (also referred to as ideas of reference) are perhaps the most common type of delusion. This delusion typically entails the falsely held belief that an insignificant remark, event, coincidence, or object in the person's environment is either a reaction to the individual or has significant personal meaning relating directly back to their life.[320][321][322]

In psychiatry, delusions of reference form part of the diagnostic criteria for illnesses such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.[citation needed] To a lesser extent, they can also be a symptom of paranoid personality disorder.[citation needed] They can also be caused by intoxication, especially with hallucinogens or during stimulant psychosis.

A list of common examples of this type of delusion are described and documented below:

  • Believing that everyone on a passing bus is talking about them.
  • Believing that people on television or radio are talking about or talking directly to them.
  • Believing that headlines or stories in newspapers are written especially for them.
  • Believing that events (even world events) have been deliberately contrived for them, or have special personal significance for them.
  • Believing that the lyrics of a song are specifically about them.
  • Believing that the normal function of cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices are sending secret and significant messages that only they can understand or believe.
  • Believing that objects or events are being set up deliberately to convey a special or particular meaning to themselves.
  • Believing that the slightest careless movement on the part of another person has a significant and deliberate meaning.
  • Believing that posts on social network websites or Internet blogs have hidden meanings pertaining to them.
Delusion of sobriety

A delusion of sobriety typically entails the falsely held belief that one is perfectly sober despite obvious evidence to the contrary such as severe cognitive impairment, significant motor control loss, and an inability to fully communicate with others.

Delusions of sobriety are the most common type of delusion experienced under the influence of GABAergic compounds such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Delusion of transcendence

Delusions of transcendence typically entail a falsely held belief that the person has "transcended into a higher plane of existence" or has discovered the secret to "transcending" and will be able to implement it just as soon as they sober up. Once this occurs, however, the supposed secret is found to be nonsensical, incorrect, or forgotten.

They are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, particularly during states of high level geometry, memory suppression, and internal hallucinations.

Delusion of enlightenment

Delusions of enlightenment typically entail the sudden realization the person has suddenly become "enlightened" and has figured out or been shown the supposed answer or meaning to life, the universe and everything. This delusion may be accompanied with euphoria from the belief that one has learned the fundamental truth about life. During the experience, this answer is felt to be incredibly simplistic and self-evident but is usually immediately forgotten or realized to be nonsensical once the person has sufficiently sobered up.

Delusions of enlightenment are one of the most common type of delusion under the influence of short acting ego death inducing hallucinogenic compounds such as DMT, nitrous oxide, and salvia.

Delusion of death

Delusions of death are the falsely held belief that the person is about to die, is currently dying, no longer exists, or has already died. This delusion seems to be a result of anxiety caused by misinterpreting the experience of the person losing their sense of self during states of high level ego death. This type of delusion is usually very distressing for the person experiencing it.

Delusions of death are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages psychedelic and dissociative compounds.

Delusion of guilt

Delusions of guilt are caused by unfounded and intense feelings of remorse or guilt that lead the person to conclude that one must have committed some sort of deeply unethical act. The supposed unethical act can range from something relatively mild such as the belief that the person has cheated on their partner or it can be something much more serious such as the belief that they have murdered their friends and family.

Delusions of guilt are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages psychedelic and dissociative compounds.

Delusion of reality

Delusions of reality are the unfounded belief that something fictional such as the plot of a TV show, film, video game, or book is an actual real life event. This delusion may manifest as the perception that the fictional events are genuinely occurring in one's immediate vicinity, or simply that the media being portrayed is real. For example, one may have the sensation that fictional media is occurring around them, or may believe they are watching events occurring in real life, but elsewhere. This delusion seems to be a result of high level immersion enhancement combining with memory suppression to create a state of mind in which somebody is highly engrossed in media while no longer having a functional long term memory that can recall the difference between reality and fiction.

Delusions of reality are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages of dissociative and occasionally psychedelic compounds.

Delusion of unreality

Delusions of unreality are the unfounded belief that the person is currently inside of a video game, dream, or movie and therefore their current actions will not have any real life consequences. Depending on the person, this delusion can sometimes result in committing crimes or violent acts. It seems to be a result of intense derealization combined with disinhibition and memory suppression to create an altered state of mind in which somebody mistakes reality for a fictional hallucination.

Delusions of unreality are commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogens and occasionally during stimulant psychosis.

Delusion of grandeur

Delusions of grandeur are the unfounded belief that oneself or another person is or has become god-like, immortal, a visionary genius, or celebrity.[323][324][325][326]

The delusion of having become godlike is often seemingly a result of high level ego inflation and mania. The experience of thinking that another person or the people around them have become godlike is commonly the result of those people being more sober than the delusional person. This causes the delusional person to misinterpret that the other person/people are somehow more capable than a normal human being, when in fact it is just the delusional person who has become comparatively less capable due to cognitive suppressions such as memory suppression.

Delusions of grander attributed to oneself more commonly occur during stimulant psychosis. However, delusions of grandiosity which are attributed to other people are most commonly experienced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic.

Delusional Parasitosis

Delusional parasitosis, also known as Ekbom's syndrome,[327][328] is a form of psychosis in which victims acquire a strong delusional belief that they are infested with parasites, whereas in reality no such parasites are present.[329]

Sufferers may injure themselves in attempts to rid themselves of the "parasites." Some are able to induce the condition in others through suggestion, in which case the term folie à deux may be applicable.[328][330] Nearly any marking upon the skin, or small object or particle found on the person or his clothing can be interpreted as evidence for the parasitic infestation, and sufferers commonly compulsively gather such "evidence" and then present it to medical professionals when seeking help.[331]

In the context of psychoactive substances, it is particularly common during stimulant psychosis after prolonged chronic usage of cocaine.[332]

Depersonalization

Main article: Depersonalization

Depersonalization or depersonalisation (sometimes abbreviated as DP) is the experience of feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one's mental processes, body, or actions. (e.g., feeling like one is in a dream; a sense of unreality of self, perceptual alterations; emotional and/or physical numbing; temporal distortions; sense of unreality).[292][333] During this state, the affected person may feel that they are "on autopilot" and that the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance. Individuals who experience depersonalization often feel divorced from their own personal physicality by no longer sensing their body sensations, feelings, emotions, and behaviors as belonging to a person or identity.[334] It is also often claimed by people who have depersonalization that reality seems unreal, distant or hazy. Depersonalization can sometimes be distressing to the user, who may become disoriented by the loss of a sense that their self is the origin of their thoughts and actions. However, it does not have to be an inherently negative altered state of awareness, as it does not directly affect one's emotions or thought patterns.

It is perfectly normal for many people to slip into this state temporarily, often without even realizing it. For example, many people often note that they enter a detached state of autopilot during stressful situations or when performing monotonous routine tasks such as driving.

It is worth noting that this state of mind is also commonly associated with and occurs alongside of a very similar psychological disorder known as derealization. While depersonalization is a subjective experience of unreality in one's sense of self, derealization is a perception of the unreality of the outside world.

Depersonalization is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and a very similar psychological disorder known as derealization.[335] It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent during the withdrawal symptoms of stimulants and depressants.

Derealization

Main article: Derealization
An artistic replication of what it feels like to experience watching the world through a screen.

Derealization or derealisation (sometimes abbreviated as DR) is the experience of feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one's surroundings (e.g., individuals or objects are experienced as unreal, dreamlike, foggy, lifeless, or visually distorted).[292] It's a type of cognitive and perceptual dysregulation.[292] People experiencing derealization often claim that reality persistently feels as if it is a dream, or something watched through a screen,[335] like a film or video game. These feelings can sometimes instill the person with a sensation of alienation and distance from those around them.

Depersonalization is not an inherently negative altered state of awareness, as it does not directly affect one's emotions or thought patterns. However, derealization can sometimes be distressing to the user, who may become disoriented by the loss of the innate sense that their external environment is genuinely real. This loss of the sense that the external world is real can in some cases make interacting with it feel inherently inauthentic and pointless.

This state of mind is commonly associated with and often coincides with the very similar psychological state known as depersonalization. While derealization is a perception of the unreality of the outside world, depersonalization is a subjective experience of unreality in one's sense of self.

Derealization is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and depersonalization.[335] It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent during the withdrawal symptoms of stimulants and depressants.

Depression

Main article: Depression

Depression can be described as a state of low mood and aversion to activity, which can affect a person's general sense of well-being in a negative manner.[336][337][338] Depressed people often feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless. They may have problems concentrating, remembering details, feeling emotions, connecting with other people or making decisions. The negative effects of depression may cause the person to contemplate or attempt to commit suicide.

Within the context of psychoactive substance usage, depression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and irritability and can be considered as the polar opposite of cognitive euphoria. It is most commonly induced when a stimulant or depressant is used repeatedly for prolonged periods of time, during the withdrawal symptoms of almost any substance, or during the comedown/crash of a stimulant. However, it is worth noting that substance-induced depression is often much shorter lasting than clinical depression, subsiding once the effects or withdrawal symptoms of a drug have ended.

When not caused by drug use, in the context of formal psychology, these feelings can be classified as clinical depression or major depressive disorder by the DSM's diagnostic criteria when five (or more) specific symptoms from the list below have been present during the same 2-week period and the feelings represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms must also be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.[339]

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation.)
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

For a diagnosis of clinical depression to be accurate, the symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. They cannot be attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition. The occurrence of the major depressive episode must also not be better explained by another disorder on the schizophrenic or psychotic spectrum.

If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is highly recommended that you seek out therapy, medical attention, or a support group.

Déjà vu

Main article: Déjà vu

Déjà Vu or Deja Vu can be described as the sudden sensation that a current event or situation has already been experienced at some point in the past when, in actuality, it hasn't.[340][341][342][343] This term is a common phrase from the French language which translates literally into “already seen”. It is a well-documented phenomenon that can commonly occur throughout both sober living and under the influence of hallucinogens.

Within the context of psychoactive substance usage, many compounds are commonly capable of inducing spontaneous and often prolonged states of mild to intense sensations of déjà vu. This can provide one with an overwhelming sense that they have “been here before”. The sensation is also often accompanied by a feeling of familiarity with the current location or setting, the current physical actions being performed, the situation as a whole, or the effects of the substance itself.

This effect is often triggered despite the fact that during the experience of it, the person can be rationally aware that the circumstances of the “previous” experience (when, where, and how the earlier experience occurred) are uncertain or believed to be impossible.

Déjà vu is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as short term memory suppression and thought loops. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids.

Ego replacement

Main article: Ego inflation

Ego replacement can be described as the sudden perception that one's sense of self and personality has been replaced with that of another person's, a fictional character's, an animal's, or an inanimate object's perspective. This can manifest in a number of ways which include but are not limited to feeling is one has literally become another human, animal, or alien consciousness. During this state, the person will be unlikely to realize that their personality has been temporarily swapped with anothers and will usually not remember their previous life.

Ego replacement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as delusions, psychosis, and memory suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.

Mindfulness

Main article: Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be described as a psychological concept which is well established within the scientific literature and commonly discussed in association with meditation.[344][345]

It is often broken down into two separate subcomponents which comprise this effect: The first of these components involves the self-regulation of attention so that its focus is completely directed towards immediate experience, thereby quietening one's internal narrative and allowing for increased recognition of external and mental events within the present moment.[346][347] The second of these components involves adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment that is characterized by a lack of judgement, curiosity, openness, and acceptance.[348]

Within meditation, this state of mind is deliberately practised and maintained via the conscious and manual redirection of one's awareness towards a singular point of focus for extended periods of time. However, within the context of psychoactive substance usage, this state is often spontaneously induced without any conscious effort or the need of any prior knowledge regarding meditative techniques.

Mindfulness is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety suppression and focus enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids. However, it can also occur on entactogens, certain nootropics such as l-theanine, and during simultaneous doses of benzodiazepines and stimulants.

Panic attacks

Main article: Panic attacks

A panic attack is a discrete period of sudden onset of intense fear or terror. During these attacks there are symptoms such as shortness of breath or smothering sensations; palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; chest pain or discomfort; choking; and fear of going crazy or losing control. Panic attacks may be unexpected, in which the onset of the attack is not associated with an obvious trigger and instead occurs "out of the blue," or expected, in which the panic attack is associated with an obvious trigger, either internal or external.[292]

Panic attacks are usually triggered in moments of severe anxiety, such as that caused by a bad trip. They are so subjectively overwhelming both physically and mentally that the user may believe they are dying, or that some great calamity is imminent, and are commonly mistaken for heart attacks. The subjective sensations can overwhelm rational thought even when the user recognizes that they are having a panic attack, especially in those who have not experienced them before.

Panic attacks are often accompanied by uncomfortable physical symptoms that may further aggravate a person’s anxiety as they may be mistaken for a serious health problem. The strongest mental effect of panic attacks is a crushing sense of impending doom,[292] accompanied by despair, panic, and dread. These usually begin abruptly and may reach their peak within 10 to 20 minutes, but may also continue for hours in extreme cases before subsiding on their own. Although this experience is incredibly stressful it is important to note that it is not physically dangerous or harmful.

The various cognitive and physical symptoms of a panic attack are described and listed below:

  • Hyperventilation - Hyperventilation occurs when one breathes deeper and more rapidly than usual. When hyperventilating, one may feel as though they are struggling to get enough air. As this causes a decrease of carbon dioxide in the blood, it may result in light headedness, a rapid heartbeat, chest pain, or a tingling sensation in a person's limbs.[349]
  • Abnormal heart rate and palpitations - Due to the release of stress hormones, one may experience heart symptoms including missed beats, palpitations, chest pain, and an accelerated heart rate.
  • Tactile suppression - This can be described as a loss of sensation as well as numbness and tingling sensations throughout the body. It may feel as if one's skin or body parts are numb to the touch, and this can occur in a small area or become all-encompassing throughout multiple body parts or the entire body. Numbness most frequently occurs within the hands, legs, arms, feet, and face. This effect is often accompanied by a pins and needle sensation and it generally increases alongside of hyperventilation.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Bodily pressures
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Derealization
  • Depersonalization
  • Fear of losing control or going insane
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Delusions

Paranoia

Main article: Paranoia

Paranoia is the suspiciousness or the belief that one is being harassed, persecuted, or unfairly treated.[350] These feelings can range from subtle and ignorable to intense and overwhelming enough to trigger panic attacks and feelings of impending doom. Paranoia also frequently leads to excessively secretive and overcautious behavior which stems from the perceived ideation of one or more scenarios, some of which commonly include: fear of surveillance, imprisonment, conspiracies, plots against an individual, betrayal, and being caught. This effect can be the result of real evidence, but is often based on assumption and false pretense.

Paranoia is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and delusions. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as cannabinoids,[351] psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. However, it can also occur during the withdrawal symptoms of GABAergic depressants and during stimulant comedowns.

Personality regression

Personality regression is a mental state in which one suddenly adopts an identical or similar personality, thought structure, mannerisms and behaviours to that of their past self from a younger age.[352][353][354] During this state, the person will often believe that they are literally a child again and begin outwardly exhibiting behaviours which are consistent to this belief. These behaviours can include talking in a childlike manner, engaging in childish activities, and temporarily requiring another person to act as a caregiver or guardian. There are also anecdotal reports of people speaking in languages which they have not used for many years under the influence of this effect.[355]

Personality regression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety, memory suppression, and ego death. It is a relatively rare effect that is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, most notably Ayahuasca, LSD and Ibogaine in particular as well as certain dissociatives. However, it can also occur for people during times of stress,[352] as a response to childhood trauma,[356] as a symptom of borderline personality disorder,[357] or as a regularly reoccuring facet of certain peoples lives that is not necessarily associated with any psychological problems.

Psychosis

Main article: Psychosis

Psychosis is as an abnormal condition of the mind and a general psychiatric term for a mental state in which one experiences a "loss of contact with reality."[358][359] The features of psychoticism are characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and formal thought disorders exhibiting a wide range of culturally incongruent, odd, eccentric, or unusual behaviors and cognitions, including both process (e.g., perception, dissociation) and content (e.g., beliefs).[360] Depending on its severity, this may also be accompanied by difficulty with social interaction and a general impairment in carrying out daily life activities.

Within the context of clinical psychology, psychosis is a very broad term that can mean anything from relatively mild delusions to the complex and catatonic expressions of schizophrenia and bipolar type 1 disorder.[361][362][363] Generally speaking, however, psychosis involves noticeable deficits in cognitive functioning and diverse types of hallucinations or delusional beliefs, particularly those that are in regard to the relation between self and others such as delusions of grandiosity, paranoia, or conspiracy. The most common of these signs and symptoms of psychosis are listed as separate subcomponents below:

Psychosis is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as deliriants,[364][365] psychedelics,[366] dissociatives,[367][368] and cannabinoids[369][370]. However, it can also occur under the influence of stimulants,[371][372] particularly during the comedown or as a result of prolonged binges. It may also manifest from abrupt discontinuation of long term or heavy usage of certain drugs such as benzodiazepines[373] or alcohol[374]; this is known as delirium tremens (DTs). Aside from substance abuse it may also occur as a result of sleep deprivation,[375] emotional trauma, urinary tract infections, and various other medical conditions.[citation needed]

Rejuvenation

Main article: Rejuvenation

Rejuvenation can be described as feelings of mild to extreme cognitive refreshment which are felt during the afterglow of certain compounds. The symptoms of rejuvenation often include a sustained sense of heightened mental clarity, increased emotional stability, increased calmness, mindfulness, increased motivation, personal bias suppression, increased focus and decreased depression. At its highest level, feelings of rejuvenation can become so intense that they manifest as the profound and overwhelming sensation of being "reborn" anew. This mindstate can potentially last anywhere from several hours to several months after the substance has worn off.

Rejuvination is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of entactogens, cannnabinoids, and meditation.

Suicidal ideation

Main article: Suicidal ideation

Suicidal ideation can be described as the experience of compulsive suicidal thoughts and a general desire to end one's own life. These thoughts patterns and desires range in intensity from fleeting thoughts to an intense fixation. This effect can also create a predisposition to other self-destructive behaviors such as self-harm or drug abuse and, if left unresolved, can eventually lead to attempts of suicide.

Suicidal ideation is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as depression and motivation enhancement in a manner which maintains the person's negative view on life but also increases their will to take immediate action. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of various antidepressants of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class. However, outside of psychoactive substance usage, it can also occur as a manifestation of a number of things including mental illness, traumatic life events, and interpersonal problems.

If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of suicidal ideation, it is highly recommended that you seek out therapy, medical attention, or a support group.

Transpersonal effects

Transpersonal effects can be described as any subjective effect which feels as if it alters a person's cognitive in a manner which relates to or contains information regarding their place in the universe, the inner workings of reality or consciousness, and the context of their existence. The fullest manifestation of these effects fall under what are sometimes called "peak", "transcendent" or "transformative" experiences.

These effects are typically associated with high dose psychedelic or dissociative experiences. They can occur regardless of the person's spiritual or religious beliefs and often have a distinct and lasting impact on the user's perspective of the world around them. During the experience of a substance-induced transpersonal state, the information conveyed is often felt to be a real and objective truth. However, the person will often come to disagree with these supposed "epiphanies" once the effects of the substance have worn off.

It should be noted that these mindstates are the least reproducible of all effects within the subjective effect index. They are unique in that that simply taking more of a given substance does not necessarily increase the chances of having these states occur. Instead, they seem to rely more on contextual factors such as the person's set and setting.

This page lists and describes the various transpersonal states which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Existential self-realization

Existential self-realization can be described as a sudden realization, revelation, or reaffirmation of a person's existence within this universe. This typically feels like a sudden and profound "waking up" or "rebirth" that results in an intense sense of motivation, an added sense of purpose to one’s life, a sudden comprehension of their own situation, an appreciation for life, and a sense of urgency to make the most out of it while it lasts. During this state, no new knowledge is learned but the previously known information regarding their existence is reintegrated in a sudden and profound manner that results in a deep sense of appreciation for the unlikely circumstances of their own existence. The residual impacts of this effect often carry over into sobriety, potentially resulting in lasting positive benefits for the person.

Existential self-realization is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic and dissociative compounds such as ketamine, LSD, 4-AcO-DMT, and DCK. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent after near death experiences and under the influence of entacogens such as MDMA.

Identity alteration

Main article: Identity alteration

Identity alteration can be defined as the experience of one's sense of self becoming temporarily changed to feel as if it is comprised of different concepts than that which it previously did. For example, while a person may usually feel that they are exclusively their “ego” or a combination of their “ego” and physical body, during this state their sense of identity can change to include the external environment or an object they are interacting with. Alternatively, a person could feel as if their sense of self embodies nothing at all, which is an experience commonly referred to as depersonalisation.

The concept of identity itself can be defined as a fundamental and near universal component of human perception that provides the experience of feeling like a self, a separate system intrinsically differentiated from the external world. This feeling is commonly referred to as one's sense of identity, ego, or selfhood. In general conversation, it is referred to using pronouns such as "I", "me", "mine", and "myself" as a tool for contrasting one's self from other people and any other system which is not felt to be them.

However, it is worth noting that rather than being a static, unmoving, or objective concept that it is often assumed to be, a person's identity can actually be experienced in many ways. There is no component of the human brain, body, or consciousness which can be singled out as the location of a person's individual selfhood. The self is thus speculated to be a learned and constructed concept that arises through a combination of experience, the structure of language, and social interactions with other people. This notion is in stark contrast to the common Western cultural conception that human beings each contain a tangible identity that is a real and separate system from that which resides around it.

Within traditional religions, the intrinsic nature of human identity differs depending on the specific doctrine. For example, Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Islam use an inherently dualist approach which claims that the self is a soul which resides within the body and is intrinsically separate from its external environment.[376] In contrast, Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism take an approach known as monism, or nondualism which generally speaking, assumes that the separate self is illusory and that there is no difference between one's identity or soul and the "external" universe which it resides in.[377]

In regard to identity alteration, there are a total of 5 distinct levels of identity which a person can experience. These various altered states of identity have been arranged into a levelling system that orders its different states from least to the most number of concepts one's identity is currently attributed to. These levels are described and documented below:

1. Total absence of attributed identity (depersonalization)

Main article: Depersonalization

The lowest level of identity can be described as the sensation that there is a complete absence of having any sense of self at all. This is referred to in psychiatry as "depersonalization". It can be described as an anomaly of self-awareness that consists of a feeling of watching oneself act as one normally would, while also feeling is if they have no control over the situation. It can occur under the influence of hallucinogenic substances, particularly dissociatives,[378] and may persist for some time after sobriety.[379][335] During this state, the affected person may feel that they are "on autopilot" and that the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance. Individuals who experience depersonalization often feel divorced from their own personal physicality by no longer sensing their body sensations, feelings, emotions, and behaviors as belonging to a person or identity.[380] It is also often claimed by people who have depersonalization that reality seems unreal, distant or hazy. Depersonalization can sometimes be distressing to the user, who may become disoriented by the loss of a sense that their self is the origin of their thoughts and actions. However, it does not have to be an inherently negative altered state of awareness, as it does not directly affect a person's emotions or thought patterns.

It is perfectly normal for many people to slip into this state temporarily, often without even realizing it. For example, many people often note that they enter a detached state of autopilot during stressful situations or when performing monotonous routine tasks such as driving.

In psychology, chronic depersonalization that persists during sobriety for prolonged periods of time is identified as "depersonalization disorder" and is classified by the DSM-IV as a dissociative disorder. While degrees of depersonalization are common and can happen temporarily to anyone who is subject to an anxiety or stress provoking situation, chronic depersonalization is more common within individuals who have experienced a severe trauma or prolonged stress and anxiety. The symptoms of both chronic derealization and depersonalization are common within the general population, with a lifetime prevalence of up to 26-74% and 31–66% at the time of a traumatic event.[381] It has also been demonstrated that derealization may be caused by a dysfunction within the brains visual processing center (occipital lobe) or the temporal lobe, which is used for processing the meaning of sensory input, language comprehension, and emotion association.[382]

Within the context of identity altering effects, depersonalization can be considered as being at the opposite end of the identity spectrum relative to states of unity and interconnectedness. This is because during depersonalisation, a person senses and attributes their identity to nothing, giving a sense of having no self. However, during a state of unity and interconnectedness, one senses and attributes their identity to everything, giving a sense that the entirety of existence is their self.

Depersonalization is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and a very similar psychological disorder known as derealization.[335] It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent during the withdrawal symptoms of stimulants and depressants.

2. Self-contained separate identity

The second level of identity can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to their brain and/or body. This is often said to feel as if one is a consciousness, the guiding force located within a body which is immersed in and interacting with a distinctly separate external environment. It is usually accompanied with a sense of free will or agency over all the thoughts and actions the person makes, which results in them feeling as if their decision-making processes are arising from an internal source which is not necessarily determined by cause and effect in the same manner as external systems.

A self-contained separate identity is by far the most common form of identity. Mainstream Western cultural notions consider this conception of the self to be the self-evident or logical way to perceive the world and the only form of identity which isn't intrinsically delusional. Despite being culturally normative, this belief has received considerable debate and criticism within modern neuroscience and philosophy.[383][384] [385][386][387][388][389]

Although drastically altered in comparison to that of sobriety, it is worth noting that hallucinatory states such as ego replacement and 2nd person perspective hallucinations typically still fall under the classification of this level. In both cases, a person still feels as if they are a separate agent facing the external world, but have the perception of being a different identity than their sober self.

3. Identifying with specific "external" systems

The third level of identity alteration can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to (in addition to the body and/or brain) specific external systems or concepts within the immediate environment, particularly those that would usually be considered as intrinsically separate from one's own being.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the specific physical systems or concepts within the perceivable external environment which are currently the subjects of their thoughts or focus. This creates a sensation of becoming inextricably "connected to", "one with", "the same as", or "unified" with whatever the perceived external system happens to be.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level manifests itself, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • Becoming unified with and identifying with a specific object one is interacting with.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with another person or multiple people, particularly common if engaging in sexual or romantic activities.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the entirety of one's own physical body.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with large crowds of people, particularly common at raves and music festivals.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the immediately perceivable external environment, but not the people within it.

This level of identity alteration most commonly occurs during intense states of focus, meditation, or under the influence of hallucinogens such as psychedelics.

4. Identifying with all perceivable "external" systems

The fourth level of identity alteration can be defined as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to the entirety of their immediately perceivable external environment.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the entirety of their sensory input or the currently perceivable external environment. It creates a sensation in the person that they have “become one with their surroundings.” This is felt to be the result of a person’s sense of self becoming attributed to not just primarily the internal narrative of the ego, but in equal measure to the body itself and everything around it which it is physically perceiving through the senses. This sensation creates the compelling perspective that the person is the external environment experiencing itself through a specific point within it, namely the physical sensory perceptions of the body their consciousness currently resides in.

It is at this point that a key component of the high-level identity alteration experience becomes an extremely noticeable factor. Once a person's sense of self has become attributed to the entirety of their surroundings, this new perspective completely changes how it feels to physically interact with what was previously felt to be an external environment. For example, when a person is not in this state and is interacting with a physical object, it typically feels as though they are a central agent acting on the separate world around them.

However, while undergoing a state of unity with the currently perceivable environment, interacting with an external object consistently feels as if the whole unified system is autonomously acting on itself with no central, separate agent operating the process of interaction. Instead, the process suddenly feels as if it has become completely decentralized and wholistic, as the environment begins to autonomously and harmoniously respond to itself in a predetermined manner to perform the interaction carried out by the individual.

This level of identity alteration most commonly occurs during intense states of focus, meditation, or under the influence of hallucinogens such as psychedelics.

5. Identifying with all known "external" systems

This symbol depicts the universe as a "self-excited circuit". It was originally created by the late theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler in his 1983 paper Law Without Law.

The fifth level of identity alteration can be defined as feeling as if one's identity is simultaneously attributed to the entirety of the immediately perceivable external environment and all known concepts that exist outside of it. These known concepts typically include all of humanity, nature, and the universe as it presently stands in its complete entirety. This feeling is commonly interpreted by people as becoming one with the universe.

When experienced, the effect creates the sudden perspective that the person is not a separate agent approaching an external reality, but is instead the entire universe as a whole experiencing itself, exploring itself, and performing actions upon itself through the specific point in space and time which this particular body and conscious perception happens to currently reside within. People who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, with the revelation often described as some sort of supposedly profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.”

Although they are not necessarily literal truths about reality, at this point, many commonly reported conclusions of a religious and metaphysical nature often begin to manifest themselves as profound realizations. These are described below:

  • The sudden and total acceptance of death as a fundamental complement of life. Death is no longer felt to be the destruction of a person, but simply the end of this specific point of a greater whole, which has always existed and will continue to exist and live on through everything else in which it resides. Therefore, the death of a small part of the whole is seen as an inevitable, and not worthy of grief or any emotional attachment, but simply a fact of reality.
  • The subjective perspective that the person's preconceived notions of "god" or deities can be felt as identical to the nature of existence and the totality of its contents, including oneself. This typically entails the intuition that if the universe contains all possible power (omnipotence), all possible knowledge (omniscience), is self-creating, and self-sustaining then on either a semantic or literal level the universe and its contents could also be viewed as god.
  • The subjective perspective that the person, by nature of being the universe, is personally responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of every single specific detail and plot element of one's personal life, the history of humanity, and the entirety of the universe. This naturally includes personal responsibility for all humanity's sufferings and flaws but also includes its acts of love and achievements.

This state most commonly occurs during intense states of well-practiced meditation or under the influence of hallucinogens such as psychedelics.

Similar concepts

Similar accounts of the experience of unity with the universe and the apparent illusory nature of the self can be found across a surprisingly large variety of independent religious, philosophical, and psychological sources. A number of these have been collected and listed as a set of documented examples below:

  • Egolessness is a documented emotional state within psychology where one feels no ego (or self) and no distinct sense of self apart from the world around oneself. This is often described as feelings of oneness and being inextricably woven into the fabric of one’s surroundings or environment.
  • Monism is a philosophical position which argues that there is only one thing which all things are not separate from and it works together as a unified system of behavior.
  • Dialectical monism is a philosophical position which argues that the appearance of duality arises from the mind's need to impose divisions and boundaries upon an essentially unified whole. Thus, for the dialectical monist, reality is ultimately a single unified system but can usually only be experienced in terms of division.
  • Oceanic feeling is a state within psychology which is described as a sensation of an indissoluble bond of being connected with the external world in its integral form.
  • Nondualism is a philosophy found within many religions which states that there is no difference between the concept of the external environment and the self.
  • Alan Watts is a philosopher who spoke extensively about the illusory nature of the self. His lectures can be found for free on the Pirate Bay and in parts within many videos across YouTube. His book “The Book on the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are” is dedicated to a formal explanation of the philosophies and logic behind this perspective and can be found within the form of a free PDF.
  • Interconnectedness is a philosophical concept which defines itself as part of the terminology of a world view which sees a oneness in all things. This is based on the idea that all things are of a single underlying substance or reality and that there is no true separation deeper than appearances.
  • Samadhi is a Buddhist concept described as a state of mind in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object.
  • Overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness can be described the experience of being exposed to an array of complex, autonomously-generated, cognitive sensations and conceptual thoughts which contain detailed sets of innately readable information.

The information within these sensations is felt to convey the organization, structure, architecture, framework and inner mechanics of the underlying programming behind all conscious and subconscious psychological processes. Those who undergo this effect commonly interpret the experience as suddenly having perceivable access to the inner workings of either the universe, reality, or consciousness itself.

The experience of this effect often feels capable of bestowing specific pieces of information onto trippers regarding the nature of human consciousness, and sometimes reality itself. The pieces of information felt to be revealed are highly varied, but some common sensations, revelations, and concepts are manifested between individuals. These generally include:

  • Insight into the processes behind the direction, behavior, and content of one's conscious thought stream.
  • Insight into the processes behind the organization, behavior, and content of one's short and long-term memory.
  • Insight into the selection and behavior of one's responses to external input and decision-making processes as based on their individual personality.
  • Insight into the origin and influences behind one’s character traits and beliefs.

These specific pieces of information are often felt and understood to be a profound unveiling of an undeniable truth at the time. Afterward, they are usually realized to be ineffable due to the limitations of human language and cognition, or simply nonsensical, and delusional due to the impairment caused by of other accompanying cognitive effects.

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness is often accompanied by a vastly more complex and visual version of this effect which is referred to as Level 8B Geometry. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic tryptamines such as psilocin, ayahuasca, DMT, and 4-AcO-DMT. cannabinoids.

Perception of eternalism

The image above represents how a person under the influence of this component would view themselves as an organism. This is often described as being a singular structure which stretches through the physical dimension of time alongside of all other identically behaving structures which the universe as a whole is entirely comprised of.

Perception of eternalism can be described as the experience of a major alteration of one's perspective of the fundamental mechanics behind the linear continuity of time moving from the past to the present to the future. During this state of mind, it feels as if all points across the timeline of existence are equally "real" and are occurring simultaneously alongside each other. Every point in time is felt to exist regardless of the person's current position within the overall timeline, much as all points in physical space persist regardless of the observer's location. However, it is important to understand that these conclusions and feelings should not be accepted at face value as inherently true.

While all moments are felt to be equally real, the directional flow of time is felt to be maintained, with the present always being the moment which is currently experienced. All moments in time are still felt to be linked together by causality, the past necessitating the present, which necessitates the future, and so forth.

A common conclusion that is reached during the experience of this state is that although one's life inevitably will end, it will apparently persist forever within its own timeframe and is therefore perpetual despite not being infinite in its length. Birth and death are therefore merely the start and end points of the range of time that a person exists in eternally, if not experiences eternally.

This sudden change in perspective starkly contrasts with the standard perception of time in which only the present is felt to exist, while the past no longer is and the future is yet to be.

Perception of eternalism is often accompanied by other coinciding transpersonal effects such as unity and interconnectedness and feelings of interdependent opposites. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Perception of interdependent opposites

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, are concepts used to describe how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world.

Perception of interdependent opposites can be described as the experience of a powerful subjective feeling that reality is based upon a binary system in which the existence of fundamentally important concepts or situations logically arise from and depend upon the co-existence of their opposite. This perception is not just understood at a cognitive level, but manifests as intuitive sensations which are felt rather than thought by the person.

This experience is usually interpreted as providing a deep insight into the fundamental nature of reality. For example, concepts such as existence and non-existence, life and death, up and down, self and other, light and dark, good and bad, big and small, pleasure and suffering, yes and no, internal and external, hot and cold, young and old, etc are felt to exist as harmonious forces which necessarily contrast their opposite force in a state of equilibrium.

Perception of interdependent opposites is often accompanied by other coinciding transpersonal effects such as ego death, unity and interconnectedness, and perception of eternalism. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Perception of predeterminism

Perception of predeterminism can be described as the sensation that all physical and mental processes are the result of prior causes, that every event and choice is an inevitable outcome that could not have happened differently, and that all of reality is a complex causal chain that can be traced back to the beginning of time. This is accompanied by the absence of the feeling that a person's decision-making processes and general cognitive faculties inherently possess "free will”. This sudden change in perspective causes the person to feel as if their personal choices, physical actions, and individual personality traits have always been completely predetermined by prior causes and are, therefore, outside of their conscious control.

During this state, a person begins to feel as if their decisions arise from a complex set of internally stored, pre-programmed, and completely autonomous, instant electrochemical responses to perceived sensory input. These sensations are often interpreted as somehow disproving the concept of free will, as the experience of this effect feels as if it is fundamentally incompatible with the notion of being self-determined. This state can also lead a person to the conclusion that their very identity and selfhood are the cumulative results of their biology and past experiences.

Once the effect begins to wear off, a person will often return to their everyday feelings of freedom and independence. Despite this, however, they will often retain realizations regarding what is often interpreted as a profound insight into the apparent illusory nature of free will.

Perception of predeterminism is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as ego death and physical autonomy. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Perception of self-design

Perception of self-design can be described as the experience of feeling that one is personally responsible for the creation, design, manifestation of a concept, process, or event which is normally seen as the result of unrelated external causes. It can be broken down into two separate sub-components which include:

  • Feeling as if one designed, planned out, and created certain, or even all, aspects of one's life such as current or past events, loved ones, and key events.
  • Feeling as if one designed, planned out and created certain, or even all, aspects of the external world such as current or historical events, nature, life, the universe as a whole, and the physical laws which it abides by.

This effect typically occurs suddenly and spontaneously. However, it is most commonly felt during emotionally significant situations which are so enjoyable and fulfilling that they are exactly how the person would have designed it had they have somehow been given the conscious choice to do so in advance. This is especially true of situations that seem improbable or are completely unexpected.

Perception of self-design is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as ego death, delusions of grandiosity and high level unity and interconnectedness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Spirituality enhancement

Spirituality enhancement can be described as the experience of a shift in a person’s personal beliefs regarding their existence and place within the universe, their relationship to others, and what they value as meaningful in life. It results in a person rethinking the significance they place on certain key concepts, holding some in higher regard than they did previously, and dismissing others as less important.[390] These concepts and notions are not limited to but generally include:

  • An increased sense of personal purpose.[391]
  • An increased interest in the pursuit of developing personal religious and spiritual ideologies.[392][393]
    • The formation of complex personal religious beliefs.
  • An increased sense of compassion towards nature and other people.[392][393][394]
  • An increased sense of unity and interconnectedness between oneself, nature, "god", and the universe as a whole.[390][392][394][395][396][397][398]
  • A decreased sense of value placed upon money and material objects.[394]
  • A decreased fear and greater acceptance of death and the finite nature of existence.[390][399][400][401]

Although difficult to fully specify due to the subjective aspect of spirituality enhancement, these changes in to a person's belief system can often result in profound changes in a person's personality[394][396][402] which can sometimes be distinctively noticeable to the people around those who undergo it. This shift can occur suddenly but will usually increase gradually over time as a person repeatedly uses the psychoactive substance which is inducing it.

Spirituality enhancement is unlikely to be an isolated effect component but rather the result of a combination of an appropriate setting[392] in conjunction with other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement, autonomous voice communication, novelty enhancement, perception of interdependent opposites, perception of predeterminism, perception of self-design, personal bias suppression, and unity and interconnectedness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of dissociatives, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM.

Unity and interconnectedness

This symbol depicts the universe as a "self-excited" circuit. It was originally created by the late theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler in his 1983 paper Law Without Law. The eye represents the self and the line directly opposite represents that which it is perceiving within the "external" environment. The two sections are connected into each other via arrows to demonstrate that it is a singular and unified system.

Unity and interconnectedness can be described as the experience of one's sense of self becoming temporarily changed to feel as if it is constituted by a wider array of concepts than that which it previously did. For example, while a person may usually feel that they are exclusively their “ego” or a combination of their “ego” and physical body, during this state their sense of identity can change to also include the external environment or an object they are interacting with. This results in intense and inextricable feelings of unity or interconnectedness between oneself and varying arrays of previously "external" systems.

It is worth noting that many people who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, the destruction of which is often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.” However, it is important to understand that these conclusions and feelings should not necessarily be accepted at face value as inherently true.

Unity and interconnectedness most commonly occurs under the influence of psychedelic and dissociative compounds such as LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, mescaline, and ketamine. However it can also occur during well-practiced meditation, deep states of contemplation, and intense focus.

There are a total of 5 distinct levels of identity which a person can experience during this state. These various altered states of unity have been arranged into a leveling system that orders its different states from least to the most number of concepts that one's identity is currently attributed to. These levels are described below:

1. Unity between specific "external" systems

At the lowest level, this effect can be described as a perceived sense of unity between two or more systems within the external environment which in everyday life are usually perceived as separate from each other. This is the least complex level of unity, as it is the only level of interconnectedness in which the subjective experience of unity does not involve a state of interconnectedness between the self and the external.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level can manifest, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • A sense of unity between specific living things such as animals or plants and their surrounding ecosystems.
  • A sense of unity between other human beings and the objects they are currently interacting with.
  • A sense of unity between any number of currently perceivable inanimate objects.
  • A sense of unity between humanity and nature.
  • A sense of unity between literally any combination of perceivable external systems and concepts.

2. Unity between the self and specific "external" systems

At this level, unity can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to (in addition to the body and/or brain) specific external systems or concepts within the immediate environment, particularly those that would usually be considered as intrinsically separate from one's own being.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the specific physical systems or concepts within the perceivable external environment which are currently the subject of a person's attention. This creates a sensation of becoming inextricably "connected to", "one with", "the same as", or "unified" with whatever the perceived external system happens to be.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level can manifest itself, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • Becoming unified with and identifying with a specific object one is interacting with.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with another person or multiple people, particularly common if engaging in sexual or romantic activities.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the entirety of one's own physical body.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with large crowds of people, particularly common at raves and music festivals.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the external environment, but not the people within it.

3. Unity between the self and all perceivable "external" systems

At this level, unity can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to the entirety of their immediately perceivable external environment due to a loss of perceived boundaries between the previously separate systems.

The effect creates a sensation in the person that they have become "one with their surroundings.” This is felt to be the result of a person’s sense of self becoming attributed to not just primarily the internal narrative of the ego, but in equal measure to the body itself and everything around it which it is physically perceiving through the senses. It creates the compelling perspective that one is the external environment experiencing itself through a specific point within it, namely the physical sensory perceptions of the body that one's consciousness is currently residing in.

It is at this point that a key component of the high-level unity experience becomes an extremely noticeable factor. Once a person's sense of self has become attributed to the entirety of their surroundings, this new perspective completely changes how it feels to physically interact with what was previously felt to be an external environment. For example, when one is not in this state and is interacting with a physical object, it typically feels as though one is a central agent acting on the separate world around them. However, while undergoing a state of unity with the currently perceivable environment, interacting with an external object consistently feels as if the whole unified system is autonomously acting on itself with no central, separate agent operating the process of interaction. Instead, the process suddenly feels as if it has become completely decentralized and holistic, as the environment begins to autonomously and harmoniously respond to itself in a predetermined manner to perform the interaction carried out by the individual.

4. Unity between the self and all known "external" systems

At the highest level, this effect can be described as feeling as if one's identity is simultaneously attributed to the entirety of the immediately perceivable external environment and all known concepts that exist outside of it. These known concepts typically include all of humanity, nature, and the universe as it presently stands in its complete entirety. This feeling is commonly interpreted by people as "becoming one with the universe".

When experienced, the effect creates the sudden perspective that one is not a separate agent approaching an external reality, but is instead the entire universe as a whole experiencing itself, exploring itself, and performing actions upon itself through the specific point in space and time which this particular body and conscious perception happens to currently reside within. People who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, with the revelation often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.”

Although they are not necessarily literal truths about reality, at this point, many commonly reported conclusions of a religious and metaphysical nature often begin to manifest themselves as profound realizations. These are described and listed below:

  • The sudden and total acceptance of death as a fundamental complement of life. Death is no longer felt to be the destruction of oneself, but simply the end of this specific point of a greater whole, which has always existed and will continue to exist and live on through everything else in which it resides. Therefore, the death of a small part of the whole is seen as an inevitable, and not worthy of grief or any emotional attachment, but simply a fact of reality.
  • The subjective perspective that one's preconceived notions of "god" or deities can be felt as identical to the nature of existence and the totality of its contents, including oneself. This typically entails the intuition that if the universe contains all possible power (omnipotence), all possible knowledge (omniscience), is self-creating, and self-sustaining then on either a semantic or literal level the universe and its contents could also be viewed as a god.
  • The subjective perspective that one, by nature of being the universe, is personally responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of every single specific detail and plot element of one's personal life, the history of humanity, and the entirety of the universe. This naturally includes personal responsibility for all humanity's sufferings and flaws but also includes its acts of love and achievements.

See also

References

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