Modified state of consciousness (MSC) is defined as a mental state that can be subjectively recognized by an individual or by an objective observer of the individual, as representing a difference in the psychological functioning of the “normal” state, alert and awake of the individual. Drugs are products with definitions and conceptual boundaries, historically defined. The use of psychoactive drugs is related to the increased plasticity of human subjectivity which is reflected in various technical means to change the perception, cognition, affect and mood. The authors propose to conduct a literature review on the types of MSC, the way to achieve them and their implications in drug consumption pattern.
A MSC consists of dimensions such as self-oceanic limitlessness, agonizing self-dissolution and visionary restructuring.
Normal MSC includes dreams, hypnagogic state and sleep. Others may be induced by hypnosis, meditation or psychoactive substances. Those achieved by drugs allow the subject to access feelings and sensations which go beyond the everyday reality or, on the other hand, leakage of reality.
Anthropological studies show that in almost all civilizations, man sought ways to induce MSC.
What characterizes the problematic or abusive use of certain substances is not necessarily the amount and frequency of drug use, but the disharmony in the socio-cultural, family and psychosocial contexts of the individual.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.