What happens in the body when all of a sudden the senses dwindle, the ground gives way underfoot and the mind is fogged? Is fainting always dangerous or are there situations where unconsciousness protects the brain?
What is consciousness, what is unconsciousness?
If one brings together all thoughts, feelings, memories and perceptions - ie the totality of experience - and combines these psychic processes with the knowledge of one's own "I" (the self-consciousness), one gets a rough idea of the complex concept of "consciousness". that seems to distinguish us humans from the animals.
However, especially in recent years, it is increasingly being examined to what extent consciousness, and in particular self-confidence, is present in animals; however, research on animals that have a very different communication system is difficult. For example, they can not tell us what causes pain for their feelings and how their self-confidence influences their actions.
States of consciousness: consciousness switched off?
In medicine, the consciousness is tested by using different methods of attention, orientation, memory, thinking and acting is examined. Different states of consciousness (such as tenacity, vigilance, scanning, relaxation, somnolence, REM sleep, coma) are distinguished, of which the tenacity is the state of consciousness with the greatest attention span and strongest tension, the coma, however, as extremely reduced state of consciousness, in which only a few defense mechanisms work.
In the case of unconsciousness the consciousness is switched off - this disturbance can be short-term or longer-term, depending on the cause. A short-term unconsciousness is also called powerlessness - because in this situation we are "without power" over our psychic and subsequently also physical processes. Disorders of consciousness can have a quantitative or qualitative character. In the case of quantitative disturbances of consciousness, the consciousness is increasingly limited - with drowsiness and somnolence, the person concerned is increasingly drowsy, but not yet unconscious.
In Sopor, prekoma and coma, however, the unconsciousness is increasingly so deep that the affected person is not aroused even by the strongest pain stimuli. Qualitative disturbances of consciousness are delirium and twilight state, with them hallucinations, anxiety or irritability can occur.
How is a loss of consciousness?
The brain with its complex nerve connections tolerates only a few deviations from its normal metabolic state. To keep it more or less constant, cerebral circulation, brain metabolism, and pressure in our bony skull are embedded in a delicate control system that instantly recognizes and responds to changes.
When a disorder occurs in this system, all higher brain functions - which include all facets of consciousness - are reduced in favor of vital protective functions and reflexes such as regulation of respiration, heartbeat, or ensuring a certain blood sugar level: thus, the brain is slowing the time out Survival is no longer safe and irreparable brain and body damage occurs.