Drug abuse can trigger many different types of strange experience such as powerfully realistic hallucinations. The individual may find some of those to be enjoyable, but they can also be quite terrifying. They person may feel like they are going insane. It may even be the case that some people suffer long term psychological damage as a result of experiences during a bad trip. One of the strangest things that might happen to people while under the influence of drugs is the out of body experience.
An out of body experience (OBE) involves an experience where the individual feels like they are outside their own body. There is no doubt that people do experience this strange phenomenon, but there is as yet no adequate scientific explanation for why it occurs. Many parapsychologists believe it is evidence that consciousness cannot fully be explained as a property of the brain. It has even been used to support the idea of life after death.
An out of body experience can involve a number of characteristics including:
* The feeling of floating outside the body.
* The individual may be even able to view their body from above.
* Prior to the OBE it is common for people to describe intense feelings of vibration in their body.
* Many also experience a strange buzzing or electrical sound.
* It is common for people describe a feeling that their head is exploding just before they become out of body.
* If it is dark the person floating outside of their body can see their surroundings because of strange light that illuminates everything.
* Those people who are having an OBE may be able to move around.
* Some individuals who are having an OBE will find themselves in a location that is not the same as their normal reality. In such instances their OBE will share many similarities to a lucid dream.
People can experience OBEs in a number of different ways but the most common stages involve:
* The individual stops consciously interacting with the external world as sensory inputs cease. This is similar to falling asleep.
* The individual experiences vibrations all over their body as they move towards complete blackness.
* They often feel like they have somehow crossed over to a different world, and they now experience themselves floating away from their own body.
* The individual can now see their body below them. Some people will now be able to leave their body and explore.
* The individual arrives back in their own body. This is often described as a jolting experience.
A lucid dream is a situation where people become aware that they are dreaming. This awareness means that they can influence what happens in the dream. The existence of this ability to dream lucidly has been established by science, and it is not viewed as anything paranormal. The fact that OBEs can closely resemble lucid dreams has led to the idea that they may be describing the same thing. The OBE does feel completely real but so can a lucid dream. In fact similar techniques can be used for triggering a lucid dream as can be used for triggering OBEs.
The idea that an OBE is the same as a lucid dream has been criticized because:
* An OBE often happens when people are awake.
* People who have lucid dreams usually do not see their own body.
* The lucid dreamer can interact with the dream to make things happen but someone having an OBE is a passive observer.
* Those people who are having a lucid dream will show REM sleep patterns on an EEG, but this does not occur with an OBE.
* OBEs can sometimes have a positive impact on a person’s life. This is particular true of near death experiences.
* The individual who is having a lucid dream knows that they are dealing with a subjective reality – this is why they become lucid. Those who have an OBE feel like they are connecting with an objective reality.
* Even though people can be lucid in a dream there will still be a great deal of confused thinking. Those who have an OBE describe normal or heightened consciousness.
The most common triggers for an out of body experience include:
* Drug induced.
* Near death experiences.
* Techniques for deliberately inducing an OBE. This can include
* When people are dealing with a great deal of stress in their life they may experience an OBE.
* Some individuals have spontaneous OBEs where there appears to be no obvious trigger.
* Those who meditate intently may experience OBEs.
* Sensory deprivation
* Electrical stimulation of the brain
The drugs that are most likely to cause OBEs include:
If people are properly prepared for an OBE it should not be a dangerous experience. Such individuals will know what to expect and will have some theories to ground their observations. When people who are unprepared have an out of body experience it can be traumatic, and this is particularly true of drug induced OBEs. The dangers of this include:
* The person having a drug induced OBE can easily experience panic. They may find the whole experience to be terrifying.
* The fact that the individual’s mind state has been altered by drugs will usually mean that they will not get any benefit from the experience. Those who naturally experience this phenomena will often describe how it has benefited their life, but the same cannot be said of drug induced OBEs.
* Those people who have had this experience as a result of drugs may become delusional or paranoid afterwards. It will sometimes trigger deterioration in mental health.
* If people already have an underlying mental health condition it could exacerbate their problems.
* Using drugs to trigger OBEs is not recommended because the risks are so grave. There are plenty of safe ways of inducing this experience that do not involve mind altering substances.