Modified States of Consciousness (EMC), basic characteristics

Modified States of Consciousness (EMC), basic characteristics

When we talk about Modified States of Consciousness we refer to the alterations that we have in the different areas of our brain when we take some kind of psychoactive substance or drug.

These alterations produce changes in five areas of operation:

1. Perception.

  • Visual: blurred vision, distortion of things, changes in colors, etc.
  • Auditory: they are not usually as intense as the visual ones, the sharpness increases, the music is perceived prettier ...
  • There are also changes in the taste and touch areas, change body awareness, the gravity, the sensation of weight, alterations of the sense of the time, giving the sensation that this one accelerates and it seems that months have passed in only a few moments, or on the contrary it seems to go very slow or even that it stops.

2. Thought.

In its normal process it works in a logical and linear way. Under an EMC, the sequence of thoughts is missing, they jump, they become associative, sometimes they are not controlled by so many disorganized associations and ideas; for example, it becomes very difficult to write correctly. There are also changes in memory: things are forgotten and others can be recovered such as childhood. It also affects the content of thought.

3. Affective state.

There is more intensity and emotional depth. Euphoria may appear but also disinterest, fear, dread, depression. Transcendental experiences can occur: a barrier is crossed where new things are experienced with an increase in affectivity. That's why certain drugs have a lot of appeal among the youngest (for example in discos) generating situations of depression, panic or even suicide.

4. Conduct.

It can generate a kind of warm attitude and cooperation. But according to personality, also of isolation, introversion and anguish In paranoid personalities It can trigger verbal or physical aggression.

5. Psychodynamic structure.

There is a break in the defense mechanisms and the personal repression. This can lead to reminiscences of childhood with a regression in satisfactory or traumatic moments stored inside and that have created ancient behavior patterns of how we related to others.

In any EMC experience, three fundamental aspects must be distinguished that make it unique and distinct from all others:

  • The type of substance (LSD, mescaline, ayahuasca, MDMA, ...). This characteristic only determines a third of the experience of consciousness modification.
  • The context. The context in which the experience occurs on numerous occasions is decisive. It is very different when we face a context that is ritualized (for example through shamans, ritual centers ...) than if there is no ritual (for example at a party or disco). The context determines another third of the experience.
  • Personal characteristics. Each person is different and unique. The individual who consumes a certain substance brings with him his own biography, mood, character (introvert or extrovert), culture, age, intelligence, maturity ... This determines the other third part of the experience.