Cognitive suppressions

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Cognitive suppressions can be described as any effect which suppresses or lowers the intensity and capability of a mental process.

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 can be described as 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[1], psilocin[2], LSD[3], ibogaine[4] and N-acetylcysteine (NAC).[5]

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 seems to suppress feelings of addiction in a more direct and consistent manner. This is thought to occur as a result of its action on glutaminergic and dopaminergic pathways which may reverse brain functions that have become disturbed by heavy drug addiction.[6]

Amnesia

Main article: Amnesia

Amnesia can be described as an inability to later recall the events which occurred under the influence of a substance after it has worn off. During states of amnesia, a person will usually retain a functional short-term memory which can still recall events that recently occurred despite those same events failing to later form into long-term 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 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

Amnesia is an extremely common effect under the influence of common to heavy dosages of many GABAergic depressants. These compounds typically alcohol, benzodiazepines, GHB, ambien, and more. However, this effect can also occur less commonly under the influence of very heavy dosages of hallucinogens such as psychedelics, dissociatives, Salvia divinorum, and deliriants.

Anxiety suppression

Main article: Anxiety suppression

Anxiety suppression can be described as the partial to complete suppression of a person’s ability to feel anxiety, nervousness, general unease, and negative feelings of psychological tension. The experience of this effect may decrease anxiety-related behaviour such as rumination, muscular tension, panic attacks, and restlessness.

Psychoactive compounds which consistently induce this specific effect are referred to as anxiolytics. These compounds typically include benzodiazepines, alcohol, GHB, gabapentin, and various other GABAergic depressants. However, this effect can also occur more indirectly under the influence of a large variety of other pharmacological classes which include but are not limited to opioids, dissociatives, and SSRIs.

Cognitive fatigue

Main article: Cognitive fatigue

Cognitive fatigue can be described as a general feeling of mental exhaustion. 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 or food. These feelings of exhaustion involve a wide variety of symptoms which generally include some or all of the following effects:

Cognitive fatigue is an extremely common effect under the influence of heavy dosages of antipsychotics, during the withdrawals of many depressants and during the offset of many stimulants.

Confusion

Main article: Confusion

Confusion can be described as a state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind about something. 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 when a person is unfamiliar with the substance they are on.

Confusion will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as delirium, delusions, and short term memory suppression in a manner which further increases one's lack of comprehension. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, and salvia divinorum. However, it may also occur more inconsistently with heavy dosages of benzodiazepines and antipsychotics.

Creativity suppression

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

Creativity suppression will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as thought deceleration, emotion suppression, and analysis suppression in a manner which further decreases one's creative abilities. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of depressant compounds such as antipsychotics, and GABAergics.

Disinhibition

Main article: Disinhibition

Disinhibition can be described as a partial to complete suppression of one's self-restraint when it comes to governing socially acceptable behavior and general decision-making processes. A person with drug-induced disinhibition will experience a decreased ability to control and manage their immediate impulsive responses to the external environment. This is usually manifested through impulsivity, 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, sometimes 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 will often synergize with other coinciding effects, such as amnesia and anxiety suppression, in a manner which can further decrease one's observance of and regard for social norms. It is most commonly induced under the influence of common to heavy dosages of GABAergic depressants such as alcohol,[10] benzodiazepines,[11] phenibut, and GHB. It is also a commonly reported effect of entactogenic substances such as MDMA, methylone, and mephedrone.[citation needed]

Dream suppression

Main article: Dream suppression

Dream suppression can be described as a suppression of the vividness, intensity, frequency, and recollection of one's dreams. At its lower levels, this can be a partial suppression which results in one 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 one not experiencing any dreams at all.

In the context of psychoactive substance usage, this effect can occur when certain compounds are ingested before a person sleeps. It is most commonly experienced under the influence of cannabis and other cannabinoids. This is due to the way in which they reduce REM sleep,[12][13] the phase of sleep in which the majority of dreams occur.[14]

Emotionality suppression

Emotion suppression can be described as an effect which greatly decreases the intensity of one's current emotional state far below normal levels. 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. It is worth noting that although a reduction in the intensity of one's emotions can be beneficial during negative states, it can detract from one's well being in equal measure during more positive emotional states.

This effect is most commonly triggered by antipsychotic compounds such as quetiapine, haloperidol, and risperidone. However, it can occassionally occur under the influence of other compounds such as benzodiazepines, some SSRI's and dissociatives.

Focus suppression

Main article: Focus suppression

Focus suppression can be described as the experience of a decreased ability to selectively concentrate on an aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. 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. This effect will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as motivation suppression, thought deceleration, and sedation.

Focus suppression is an extremely common effect under the influence of heavy dosages of antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, and hallucinogens. However, it is worth noting that the same stimulant compounds which primarily induce focus enhancement at light to moderate dosages will also often lead into the opposite effect of focus suppression at their heavier dosages.

analysis suppression

Main article: analysis suppression

Analysis suppression can be described as a distinct decrease in one's overall ability to process information and logically or creatively analyze concepts, ideas, and scenarios. The experience of this leads to significant difficulty contemplating or understanding basic ideas in a manner which can temporarily prevent normal cognitive functioning.

Analysis suppression will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as thought deceleration and emotion suppression in a manner which further decreases one's cognitive abilities. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate| dosages of antipsychotics. However, it can also occur less consistently under the influence of very heavy dosages of dissociatives, cannabinoids, and GABAergics.

Language suppression

Main article: Language suppression

Language suppression can be described as a decrease in one's ability to use and understand spoken language. This creates the feeling of finding it difficult or even impossible to vocalize one's own thoughts and to process the speech of others. It is worth noting that the ability to speak oneself and to process the speech of others do not necessarily become suppressed simultaneously. For example, one may find themselves unable to formulate a coherent sentence while still being able to perfectly understand the speech of others.

Language suppression is an extremely consistent effect under the influence of heavy dosages of antipsychotics such as quetiapine, risperidone and haloperidol. However, hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants can inconsistently induce this effect under the influence of heavy dosages. This is far more likely if the person is more likely if 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) can be described as an effect which directly inhibits one's ability to maintain a functional short and long-term memory. 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.

It is a process which can be broken down into 4 basic levels:

  1. Partial short-term memory suppression - This 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 - This 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 the plot of most forms of media as one cannot retain the memories long enough to do so.
  3. Partial long-term memory suppression - This 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 - This 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 one's long-term memory. This includes everything from one's name, hometown, and past memories to 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 an extremely common effect under the influence of strong to heavy dosages of many hallucinogenic substances. These compounds typically include almost any psychedelic, dissociative, and deliriant substance.

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 including concepts 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 psychonautic subculture.

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. Ego death suppresses the otherwise nearly constant sensation in waking life of being a separate observer interacting with an external world. Ego death does not necessarily shut down awareness of all mental processes, however, 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. The accompanying effects further elevate the subjective intensity and transpersonal significance of ego death experiences.

Motivation suppression

Motivation suppression can be described as a significant temporary decrease in one's desire to be productive or engage in certain activities. These tasks most often include tasks deemed challenging or unpleasant, such as working, studying, cleaning, and doing general chores. Stronger 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.

It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of antipsychotics or during the after effects of almost any stimulant compound. However, it can also occur in a milder and much less consistent form under the influence of heavy dosages of cannabinoids, benzodiazepines, deliriants and certain dissociatives.

Personal bias suppression

Personal bias suppression (also called cultural filter suppression) can be described as the inhibition of the personal and culturally taught biases, preferences, and associations which a person knowingly or unknowingly filters and interprets their perception of the world through during everyday life.

Established personal bias heavily influences how we act. People's decisions and opinions seem to be at least partially based upon a consistent and unconscious tendency to notice and assign significance to observations that confirm existing beliefs whilst filtering out and rationalizing observations that do not confirm pre-existing beliefs. This is a well-established concept within the scientific literature known as confirmation bias.[15][16][17] Confirmation bias affects everyone's thoughts to a varying degree, but its effects are significantly stronger in the case of emotionally charged issues and deeply entrenched cultural beliefs.

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 through this effect often induces the realization that certain aspects of one's personality, world view and culture are not reflective of objective truths about reality, but are in fact subjective or even delusional opinions. This realization often leads to or accompanies deep states of insight and critical introspection which can create significant alterations in one's perspective that last anywhere from days, weeks, months or years after the experience itself.

Personal bias suppression often coincides with conceptual thinking, analysis enhancement and especially memory suppression. It is a very common effect under the influence of common to heavy dosages of hallucinogens such as dissociatives and psychedelics. However, other compounds such as entactogens and cannnabinoids can inconsistently induce this effect under the influence of heavy dosages.

Thought deceleration

Main article: Thought deceleration

Thought deceleration can be described as the mental 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.

Thought deceleration will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as analysis suppression and sedation in a manner which not only decreases the speed of thought, but also significantly decreases the sharpness of a person's mental clarity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of depressant compounds such as benzodiazepines and antipsychotics. However, it may also occur during the offset of stimulant compounds and less consistently under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogens such as psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, and cannabinoids.

Thought disorganization

Thought disorganization can be described as a state of cognitive suppression 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 a somewhat common effect under the influence of many hallucinogenic and depressant compounds such as PCP, zolpidem, quetiapine, and 1P-LSD. It can also occur to a lesser degree under the influence of certain cannabis strains and during heavy dosages of stimulants. However, it is worth noting that the same compounds which induce this mind state at higher dosages can often result in the opposite effect of thought organization at their lower dosages.

See also

References

  1. Psychedelics: entering a new age of addiction therapy | http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/features/psychedelics-entering-a-new-age-of-addiction-therapy/20066899.article#fn_link_1
  2. Pilot Study of the 5-HT2AR Agonist Psilocybin in the Treatment of Tobacco Addiction (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4286320/
  3. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for alcoholism: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22406913
  4. Mind-altering drug could offer life free of heroin (New Scientist) | https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929313-900-mind-altering-drug-could-offer-life-free-of-heroin/
  5. Cystine/glutamate exchange regulates metabotropic glutamate receptor presynaptic inhibition of excitatory transmission and vulnerability to cocaine seeking (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16000629
  6. Cystine/glutamate exchange regulates metabotropic glutamate receptor presynaptic inhibition of excitatory transmission and vulnerability to cocaine seeking (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16000629
  7. Fragmentary and en bloc blackouts: similarity and distinction among episodes of alcohol-induced memory loss | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12921196
  8. Experiential aspects of alcohol-induced blackouts among college students. | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15083562
  9. Alcoholic "blackouts": a review and clinical study of 100 alcoholics | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5804804
  10. Alcohol Disinhibition of Behaviors in C. elegans (plos.org) http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0092965
  11. Benzodiazepines and disinhibition: a review (rcpsych.org) | http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/26/12/460
  12. Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana (ncbi) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18313952
  13. Effects of high dosage delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on sleep patterns in man (ncbi) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/164314
  14. REM SLEEP – TYPES AND STAGES OF SLEEP (howsleepworks.com) | https://www.howsleepworks.com/types_rem.html
  15. Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises | http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-02489-003
  16. What is confirmation bias (PsychologyToday) | https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201504/what-is-confirmation-bias
  17. Confirmation bias (sciencedaily) | https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/confirmation_bias.htm