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 removal 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 wears off or it can last only while it is still active. Addiction suppression is a rare component and 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 triggered by a combination of analysis enhancement, personal bias suppression and general introspection. However, N-acetylcysteine seems to have a more direct effect that occurs as a result of its action on glutaminergic and dopaminergic pathways which is thought to reverse brain functions which have become disturbed by heavy drug addiction.[6]


Main article: Amnesia

Amnesia is an effect which is induced by many psychoactive drugs. It can be described as the simple experience of not being able to remember the events which occurred under the influence of a substance once the person has sobered up. It is present in varying degrees across many different substances, ranging from something which only occurs at the highest dosages to something which consistently occurs even with lower to moderate dosages. This feels as if it is the result of a suppression of memory formation and feels identical to the way in which people often forget their dreams almost immediately after waking up.

The best way to combat drug-induced amnesia is to document the experience through either video or audio recording whilst making a conscious effort to verbally communicate what is happening. Another alternative is to have a friend ask the user questions regarding their current state of mind and take detailed notes to the best of their abilities.

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.

Cognitive fatigue

Main article: Cognitive fatigue

Cognitive fatigue can be described as feelings of mild to extreme mental exhaustion which can last anywhere from several hours to days and is often felt as a rebound effect after experiences with stimulants. These feelings of exhaustion can potentially include a sustained sense of suppressed mental clarity, emotional instability and agitation alongside of specific subjective effect components such as thought deceleration, information processing suppression, thought disorganization, depression, irritability and anxiety.

Prolonged bouts of sleepiness, a lighter form of cognitive fatigue, can lead to this effect. Muscle fatigue, the physical equivalent of this component, frequently occurs simultaneously alongside of cognitive fatigue.


Main article: Confusion

Confusion is the state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind about something. It is fairly common under the influence of heavy dosages of certain psychoactive substances which one is unfamiliar with and can occur within a spectrum from mild to extreme.

Creativity suppression

Creativity suppression can be described as a suppression of both one's motivation and capabilities in regards to performing tasks which either produce creative output or involve complex problem solving. This component is particularly difficult to deal with for artists of any sort as it can effectively induce creative block.

This is mainly an effect of antipsychotics and certain depressants such as quetiapine and alcohol. Creativity suppression is often amplified and maintained by accompanying effects such as thought deceleration and emotion suppression.


Main article: Disinhibition

Disinhibition can be described as the partial to complete loss of restraint in governing normal behavior and decision-making processes. It is manifested by impulsivity, poor risk assessment, and disregard for social conventions. A person with drug-induced disinhibition will experience a decreased ability to control and manage their immediate impulsive responses to the external environment.

For the most part, disinhibition simply allows one to overcome emotional apprehension and suppressed social skills in a manner that is quite controllable for the average person. In many cases, the disinhibited individual may be unable to or have a lack of desire to disguise their emotional responses, sometimes at the expense of politeness, sensitivity, or social appropriateness. This lack of constraint can be positive or negative depending on the group or individual. The removal of social filter generally cannot be regarded as an alteration of one's views; it is simply an increased ease at displaying how one already feels.

Disinhibition often occurs along with amnesia and anxiety suppression. It is also a defining characteristic of alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Dream suppression

Main article: Dream suppression

Dream suppression can be described as a cognitive component which partially to entirely suppresses recollection and retention of dreams. This can decrease the perceived frequency and vividness of dreams, eventually leading into a complete lack of ability to recall any of the dream's details.

Emotionality suppression

Emotionality suppression can be described as a person’s current emotional state being suppressed, blocked and replaced with neutral apathy regardless of how positive or negative their previous emotional state may have been. This results in strong feelings of emotional neutrality and can potentially lead into catatonic states of disinterest or indifference.

Focus suppression

Main article: Focus suppression

Focus suppression is the cognitive process of a decreased ability to selectively concentrate on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. In the context of substance usage, many drugs create feelings of an inability to maintain focus, attention and concentration in a manner which can prevent one from sustaining productivity.

Information processing suppression

Information processing suppression can be described as a partial to complete suppression of a person’s ability to process information and logically analyse a situation in an understandable and linear fashion. This is something which can result in states of stupor, indecisiveness, confusion and even irrational behaviour or delirium. It is often accompanied by thought deceleration which further intensifies one's own sense of cognitive incapability.

Language suppression

Main article: Language suppression

Language suppression can be described as a cognitive component which partially to entirely suppresses one's ability to use and/or understand spoken language. This creates the feeling that one has considerable difficulty or a complete inability in vocalizing their thoughts and can often results in people talking in gibberish and nonsensical sentence structures.

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, in a manner that is directly proportional to the dosage consumed, directly inhibits one's ability to maintain a functional short and long-term memory.

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

  1. Partial short-term memory suppression - This is the partial failure of a person's short-term memory. It can be described as a general difficulty staying focused and an increase in distractibility.
  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 for more than a few seconds. This is capable of resulting in thought loops, disorientation, loss of control and confusion for the inexperienced. Long-term memory, however, remains entirely intact as people are still perfectly capable of recollecting their name, date of birth, childhood school, etc.
  3. Partial long-term memory suppression - This is the partial failure of both a person's long-term memory and the complete failure of their short-term memory. It can be described as the experience of having difficulty remembering even the most basic fundamental human concepts stored within the long-term memory.
  4. Complete long-term memory suppression - This is the complete 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 human concepts stored within the long-term memory. This includes one's name, identity, home town, that they are on drugs, what drugs even are, what human beings are, what life is, what existence is or what anything is. The most notable of these, however, is the loss of one's ability to recall their concept or sense of self and identity which is commonly referred to as "ego death."

Although memory suppression is similar in its effects to amnesia, it differs in that it is usually possible for the person experiencing it to recall what happened during the process after it is over. However, amnesia by its very definition allows people to retain information within the present moment but renders them incapable of recalling it afterwards.

Ego death

At level 4, the most profound aspect of all-encompassing long-term memory suppression is the way in which it obliterates one's ability to recall or even feel a general sense of their own name, identity, or selfhood. The experience of this is colloquially known as ego death and is well documented throughout the modern psychonautic subculture. It results in the profound experience that although one is not unconscious, there is no longer an “I” experiencing current sensory input; there is just the input as it is and by itself. This allows one to experience concepts from a perspective which is completely untainted by prior experience and memories due to the accompanying presence of simultaneous personal bias suppression.

Motivation suppression

Motivation suppression can be described as a decrease in desire to do certain activities. This most often includes working or cleaning. At a higher intensity, this can also include activities which can be considered entertaining or fun to the user. This effect is common on most drug comedowns or when one is simply bored. Deliriants or depression may also suppress one's desire to do almost anything, including moving or talking.

Personal bias suppression

Personal bias suppression (also called schema suppression) can be described as a removal of the cultural and individual biases which human beings knowingly or unknowingly filter and interpret their perception of the world through during everyday life.

The idea that the opinions and decisions of people are 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 is a well-established concept within the scientific literature. This is known as confirmation bias. This exists within varying degrees across all people, but is significantly stronger for those with emotionally charged issues and deeply entrenched cultural beliefs.

The suppression of this tendency, however, seems to consistently show people that many aspects of their personality, perspective and culture are often merely subjective or delusional ideas and not an objective reality. This experience often leads onto deep states of introspection, insight and analysis which can create profound alterations in perspective that last anywhere from days, weeks, months or years after the experience itself.

Thought deceleration

Main article: Thought deceleration

Thought deceleration can be described as the mental process of thought being slowed down significantly. When experiencing this effect, it literally feels 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. Not only is the speed of thought decreased, but the sharpness of a person's mental clarity seems to decrease alongside it, resulting in an absence of new or insightful ideas.

Thought disorganization

Thought disorganization can be described as a state of cognitive suppression in which one's ability to think, vocalize and formulate ideas using conceptual information in a fluid, linear and logical order is degraded. The experience of this component results in thoughts and ideas becoming shuffled, rearranged and randomized in their order and general content. This makes conceptual thought increasingly nonsensical, unintelligible and difficult to understand.

See also


  1. Psychedelics: entering a new age of addiction therapy |
  2. Pilot Study of the 5-HT2AR Agonist Psilocybin in the Treatment of Tobacco Addiction ( / NCBI) |
  3. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for alcoholism: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials ( / NCBI) |
  4. Mind-altering drug could offer life free of heroin (New Scientist) |
  5. Cystine/glutamate exchange regulates metabotropic glutamate receptor presynaptic inhibition of excitatory transmission and vulnerability to cocaine seeking ( / NCBI) |
  6. Cystine/glutamate exchange regulates metabotropic glutamate receptor presynaptic inhibition of excitatory transmission and vulnerability to cocaine seeking ( / NCBI) |