Around 1966 Corssen and Domino described the anesthetic and psychotomimetic effects of two new drugs, phencyclidine and ketamine. When administered in high doses, these drugs cause a unique state of unconsciousness which is quite different from that produced by classic anesthetic agents such as halothane or barbiturates. This state is characterized by a rather selective loss of conscious functions. Patients are in a trancelike cataleptic state, profoundly analgesic and disconnected from the surroundings. Given in sub-hypnotic doses, these drugs induce altered states of consciousness. Patients experience abnormal perceptions, sensory illusions, visual and auditory hallucinations, and disorganized thought. In particular, they report bizarre ego disorders that resemble schizophrenic states.
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