I was drawn to many of the concepts of Chapter five, which deals with Consciousness. I can relate so much of it to my everyday life! I was very interested in the segment on "Drugs and Consciousness". Over Winter break, I had my wisdom teeth extracted. I was not nervous for the procedure, for many of my acquaintances told me of the pleasurable effects of laughing gas. I almost looked forward to this strange experience. Oddly, however, my experience with this drug was not what I had anticipated. As I took deep breaths of the gas, my senses began to numb in a most terrifying way. My depth perception became askew and senses of panic and fear seeped into my brain. The sounds around me became distorted, distant, and slowed. The rhythmic beats of the heart monitor seemed beckoning. Social paranoia took a hold of me and I closed my eyes. This drug that was meant to distract me from the terrors of the surgeons chair had quite the opposite effect. I wanted the IV it in my bloodstream as soon as possible! When I discussed my experience at the oral surgeon with my mother later in the week, she told me that she had a similar experience with Nitrous Oxide.
In Chapter five, the connection between genetics and alcoholism is discussed. Negative reactions to alcohol use greatly decrease the risk of addiction. Researchers have found that "a mutation in the aldehyde 2 gene causes a distinctly unpleasant response to alcohol: facial flushing, heart palpitations, and nausea," (Lilienfeld, 188). Interestingly, this gene is found in 40% of people of Asian descent. Is it surprising that they have a lower risk of alcoholism? It is difficult for researchers to "prove" the association of drug abuse and genetics, but this information intrigues me.
Although this chapter does not discuss Nitrous Oxide, or the reaction shared through genetics, this information of alcoholism has interested me in finding more information on why my mother and I share unusual effects of this drug.
I would certainly not attend this old time laughing gas party: