A class of hallucinogens called dissociatives distorts the perception of sound and sight and produces feelings of detachment (or dissociation) from the environment or self. While many drugs can produce such effects, dissociatives are different in that they cause hallucinogenic effects. This includes sensory deprivation and dissociation as well as dream-like states of anesthesia. Nonselective drugs that affect the dopamine/opioid systems and are not selective in their action may induce euphoria. Dissociatives can cause sedation, respiratory depression, and analgesia. They also have cognitive and memory impairment.

Dissociatives can cause sensory dissociation, hallucinations, and hallucinations as well as mania, catalepsy, and analgesia. Pender (1972) states that dissociative anesthesia is a state in which the patient appears disassociated from his environment. Johnstone et.al. (1970) and Pender (1972). Johnstone et al. (1959) reported that anesthesia patients receiving ketamine or Phencyclidine had a tendency to make erroneous movements, and were subject to hallucinations (or “dreams”) while under anesthesia. Some patients found the hallucinations to be euphoric, while others found them disturbing.

Dissociatives can alter cognitive and perceptual processes that are affected by hallucinogenic drugs like mescaline and LSD. They are therefore often compared and also considered hallucinogenic. The most notable subjective differences between dissociatives, mescaline, and other hallucinogens are their detaching effects. This includes depersonalization, which is the feeling of being disconnected from oneself or unable to control one’s actions, and derealization, which is the feeling that the outside is not real or one is dreaming.

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