Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dream Drug Withdrawal

English: Pineal Gland and Pituitary Body Locat...
English: Pineal Gland and Pituitary Body Location inside the Brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         The previous two posts have dealt with disoriented awakenings and witnessing the confused awakening of another.  A dreamer often awakens into a dazed state of mind that takes a while to transition into a state of coherence, and even then the influence of the dream state may linger or even profoundly affect us for some period of time.

         This particular confused state could be attributed to various mental or even spiritual factors.   One might feel regret in leaving a dream that is beautiful or pleasant in some way and wish to cling to that dream experience.   In other cases, the dreaming may have been so vivid as to convincing the dreamer that it has all been very real--the awakening is the juncture of two ambiguous reality possibilities that must be sorted out before continuing into complete consciousness.  And there could be many other scenarios that could come into play.

          My conjecture in this current blog installment is that the dazed and confused state of the awakening dreamer's mind is due to a sort of dream drug withdrawal.  Dreaming may be a way of becoming naturally high.   This waking and feeling groggy and  disoriented may be much the same as one feels after heavy drinking or using certain mind altering drugs.  Are we "drugged" by our dreams?

         Since I am not a doctor, nor one who has done research in this field, nor any kind of expert in this field of oneirology (the scientific study of dreams), I can only base my reflections here on what I have read or heard from those who are acknowledged as experts.  I also make my own suppositions based on personal observations.  I offer these caveats so as not to mislead anyone in what I present here.

         According to some research the brain and body produces a strong psychedelic substance called dimethyltryptamine (DMT).  A release of this substance during sleep may be responsible for dream activity.  DMT is a naturally occurring substance throughout the plant and animal kingdom and research about its effects are ongoing.

          The Pineal gland produces Melatonin and Seratonin, which are two drugs that have been determined to be vital for sleep and apparently highly influential to dreaming.  In all, the brain seems be responsible for the production of as many as fifty drugs with many of those influencing dreaming.

           With all of these drugs in our system is it any wonder that we might wake up from a dream in a dazed and confused state?  Studies have indicated that an imbalance of any of these drugs can lead to mental illness, sleep disorders, and other malfunctioning of the mind and body.  Factors such as diet, physical exercise, mental stretching, and healthy surroundings can all play a role in proper balance of chemicals produced in the brain.

             Do you think the drugs of the brain play a role in muddling our thinking upon waking?   Have you taken any supplements or received treatment for an imbalance of any brain chemicals?   Have you ever experienced the use of a natural substance such as DMT administered other than from your own brain?

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  1. I found this extremely interesting as I have to take anti convulsant drugs for epilepsy, one of the side effects is vivid dreams and boy they are vivid. I hate having them but I suppose it's a small priced to pay for getting seizures.


  2. Interesting post, Lee. We're still a long way from understanding sleep, dreams, and consciousness. Your theory may be correct; we know that certain chemical inbalances can cause insomnia, which is treated by drugs such as Ambien, which has side effects such as vivid dreams, hallucinations, and sleepwalking/eating/driving where the person has no memory of it. So it's realistic that the chemicals produced by the brain to induce sleep might leave us with feelings of being disoriented, "hungover", or uneasy upon awakening.

  3. When I nap (not often) I often wake up so disoriented, it takes me a few moments to even know what day it is or where I am. It's one reason I don't nap. I don't like feeling this way. In the mornings though, I wake up refreshed. So maybe it all has to do with the chemicals my body is releasing. That's better than thinking I'm losing my mind. And of course you've aroused my curiosity and I'm going to Google DMT.

  4. Hi Arlee,
    Nice to be here again after a bit gap.
    This is really an interesting post
    I am eagerly waiting to hear from your readers experience, very interesting subject indeed.
    Keep inform

  5. I wake up befuzzled if I take too long a nap. Twenty minutes is supposed to be max for refreshing the mind and body.

    Longer than that takes you deeper into the sleep cycle and you awaken groggy and disoriented. (Is it morning, how long was I asleep, what day is it?)

    Power naps - no longer than 20-30 minutes. (per the experts, not me)

    I dream mostly when I'm worried or have had emotional upheaval. They were very vivid when I was a child, and during stressful times in my life.

  6. Yvonne --I will probably do a post about the effects of drugs on our dreams.

    Li -- Considering some of the side effects of certain drugs that we ingest, it makes sense that drugs produced internally could affect us in similar ways.

    Em -- DMT is interesting to read about. I almost always have to take and nap in the afternoon, and yes it can result in disorientation upon waking.

    Phil -- Good to see you drop in. I really must get by your blog. My visiting activity has been sharply curtailed of late.

    DG -- I prefer to keep naps at 10 to 20 minutes, but once I'm asleep it's difficult to know when to wake up.


  7. Hey Lee! I love this blog...I find that if I lay down for a nap in the afternoon, the dreams I have then are usually far more vivid and weird than dreams I have at night.
    I have an old journal filled with strange dreams I had years ago while on medication (seratonin re-uptake inhibitor)for depression. Some of them were so real that they would stick with me for days afterward..I haven't been on any of that medication for about 12 years now, and once in a while I will still have a vivid, real and clear dream, but for the most part they are pretty run of the mill and forgettable.
    Very interesting topic!

  8. I would think (although I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination) that an abundance of any particular hormone in the body would either speed up or slow down metabolism. Bottom line - you may be on to an interesting theory.

  9. Interesting theory! Definitely one to think about some more. I'm one who has a hard time remembering my dreams. I wonder if perhaps I'm deficient in one of these drugs? Like I said: interesting! :D

  10. Eve -- I usually don't remember any dreams during daytime naps, but then again my naps are usually rather short power naps. However, when I do sleep for more that a few minutes sometimes I can wake up super groggy.
    Your experience with the anti-depressant sounds interesting.

    Paula -- Disorientation could be the result of an imbalance or a natural function of the presence of the drug. It could also relate to the dream stage we are in when we wake up. I hope more research is being done about this.

    Liesel --Your difficulty in remembering your dreams might be because of some sort of imbalance, but I think I'd be more apt to think that it's due to not training yourself to remember. Remembering dreams can be honed by focusing upon the dream state and keeping a journal. When this is done, a person starts to remember dreams better after a while.



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