Brain Damage in Alcoholics: Altered States of Unconsciousness

  • Oscar A. Parsons
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 59)


It has become popular in recent years to employ the concept of “altered states of consciousness” in attempting to understand the behavioral effects of various drugs including alcohol (Jones, 1974; Mello and Mendelson, 1969; Tart, 1969). Such a concept appears to have value in considering the acute effects of drugs in which a transient alteration in the brain has occurred and where it is recognized by the drug taker as a temporary change from an ongoing non-drug state. For example, most people who drink alcohol report altered subjective states or changed consciousness. But what about the effects of chronic drug use in persons who are no longer using drugs? Are there altered states of consciousness? From the occurrence of “flash-backs” such as LSD-25 users have described (i.e., where the former drug-taker during abstinence has an altered state of consciousness similar to that which he experienced while taking the drug) it seems clear that such experiences are possible with certain drugs. The so called “dry-drink” phenomenon has been reported in some alcoholics. However, these are relatively sporadic and transient episodes. Of much greater permanence and consistency are the behavioral changes suggestive of altered brain states, in the presence of a clear consciousness, in chronic alcoholics.


Frontal Lobe Compatibility Effect Chronic Alcoholic Brain Damage Cortical Atrophy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oscar A. Parsons
    • 1
  1. 1.Oklahoma Center for Alcohol-Related StudiesUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterUSA

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