The Dream Drugstore by J. Allan Hobson
Chemically Altered States of Consciousness

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In this book, J. Allan Hobson offers a new understanding of altered states of consciousness based on knowledge of how our brain chemistry is balanced when we are awake and how that balance shifts when we fall asleep and dream. He draws on recent research that enables us to explain how psychedelic drugs work to disturb that balance and how similar imbalances may cause depression and schizophrenia. He also draws on work that expands our understanding of how certain drugs can correct imbalances and restore the brain's natural equilibrium.

Hobson explains the chemical balance concept in terms of what we know about the regulation of normal states of consciousness over the course of the day by brain chemicals called neuromodulators. He presents striking confirmation of the principle that every drug that has transformative effects on consciousness interacts with the brain's own consciousness-altering chemicals. In the section called "The Medical Drugstore," Hobson describes drugs used to counteract anxiety and insomnia, to raise and lower mood, and to eliminate or diminish the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia. He discusses the risks involved in their administration, including the possibility of new disorders caused by indiscriminate long-term use. In "The Recreational Drugstore," Hobson discusses psychedelic drugs, narcotic analgesia, and natural drugs. He also considers the distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate drug use. In the concluding "Psychological Drugstore," he discusses the mind as an agent, not just the mediator, of change, and corrects many erroneous assumptions and practices that hinder the progress of psychoanalysis.

About J. Allan Hobson

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J. Allan Hobson is Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and Director of the Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
Published July 1, 2001 by The MIT Press. 360 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Drawing upon a wide range of theories and discoveries—such as William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), David Hartley's startling theories of dreaming (circa 1804) and Albert Hofmann's accidental discovery of LSD in 1938 —Hobson elucidates such cultural and scientific questio...

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