anaesthesia
   Also written as anesthesia. The term anaesthesia comes from the Greek noun anaisthèsia,which means numbness. In a broad sense, it refers to a loss or impairment of sensitivity to stimuli in any of the sensory modalities. As a rule, however, the term is used in a more restricted sense, to denote a loss or impairment of sensitivity to stimuli in the somatosensory modality. These stimuli can be of a tactile, thermal, chemical, or any other origin. Some examples of anaesthesia are insen-sitivity to needle pricks or cuts, to hot or cold stimuli, and indifference to ammonia held under the nose. Etiologically, the mediation of anaesthesia is associated with either peripheral or central nervous tissue damage (or tissue manipulation, as in acupuncture), with the administration of anaesthetics or other chemical substances, or with psychological mechanisms. Some examples of psychological mechanisms capable of inducing anaesthesia are stress, suggestion, "ecstasy, "trance, rapture, hypnotic states, "dissociation, somnambulism, conversion, and "psychosis. It has long been debated whether psychologically induced anaesthesia is comparable to 'true' (i.e. measurable, physiological) anaesthesia, or to a kind of role-playing behaviour, where the subject acts as if the stimulus in question has not been perceived. However, measurements of physiological reactions as well as functional imaging studies would seem to indicate that psychologically induced anaesthesia leads to actual, though reversible organic changes. The term anaesthesia is used in opposition to the term " hyperaesthesia. The specific loss or impairment of sensitivity to painful stimuli is usually referred to as " analgesia. For the specific loss or impairment of sensitivity to temperature, the term thermoanaesthesia is used. The terms " total anaesthesia, generalized anaesthesia, and systematized anaesthesia are reserved for psychologically induced states of total body numbness, such as those described in classical studies on hypnotism and hysteria. Total anaesthesia should not be confused with " acenesthesia, which is conceptualized as a condition characterized by a total loss of awareness of physical existence, and with Cotard's syndrome, a condition in which the affected individual can have the delusional conviction (rather than the perceptual experience) that his or her body has ceased to exist.
   References
   Janet, P. (1911). L'état mental des hystériques. Deuxième édition. Paris: Félix Alcan. Wolberg, L.R. (1948). Medical hypnosis. Volume I. The principles of hypnotherapy. New York, NY: Grune & Stratton.
   Wobst, A.H.K. (2007). Hypnosis and surgery: Past, present, and future. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 104, 1199-1208.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

Synonyms:
(as that produced by the inhalation of sulphuric ether, chloroform, etc.), , ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Anaesthesia — An [ae]s*the si*a, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ?; an priv. + ? feeling, ? to feel: cf. F. anesth[ e]sie. See {[AE]sthetics}.] (Med.) Entire or partial loss or absence of feeling or sensation; a state of general or local insensibility produced by disease or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Anaesthesia —     Anæsthesia     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Anæsthesia     (From Greek a, privative, and aisthesis, feeling).     A term in medicine, and the allied sciences, signifying a state of insensibility to external impressions, consequent upon disease,… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Anaesthesia — vgl. Anästhesie …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • anaesthesia — (n.) 1721, loss of feeling, Modern Latin, from Gk. anaisthesia want of feeling, lack of sensation (to pleasure or pain), from an without (see AN (Cf. an ) (1)) + aisthesis feeling, from PIE root *au to perceive (see AUDIENCE (Cf. audience)). As …   Etymology dictionary

  • anaesthesia — [an΄əs thē′zhə] n. ANESTHESIA anaesthetic [an΄əsthet′ik] adj., n. anaesthetist [ə nes′thə tist] n. anaesthetize vt. anaesthetized, anaesthetizing …   English World dictionary

  • anaesthesia — n. (BE) see anesthesia 1) to induce, produce anaesthesia 2) to undergo anaesthesia 3) general; local anaesthesia 4) the anaesthesia wears off * * * [ˌænɪs θiːzɪə] local anaesthesia produce anaesthesia (BE) see anesthesia …   Combinatory dictionary

  • anaesthesia — n. loss of feeling or sensation in a part or all of the body. Anaesthesia of a part of the body may occur as a result of injury to or disease of a nerve; for example in leprosy. The term is usually applied, however, to the technique of reducing… …   Medical dictionary

  • anaesthesia — n. loss of feeling or sensation in a part or all of the body. Anaesthesia of a part of the body may occur as a result of injury to or disease of a nerve; for example in leprosy. The term is usually applied, however, to the technique of reducing… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • anaesthesia — [[t]æ̱nɪsθi͟ːziə, ʒə[/t]] N UNCOUNT Anaesthesia is the use of anaesthetics in medicine and surgery. The operation can be done under local anaesthesia. (in AM and sometimes in BRIT, use anesthesia) …   English dictionary

  • anaesthesia —   n. loss of feeling; unconsciousness; act of causing such state for medical purposes.    ♦ anaesthesiology, n. study of anaesthesia.    ♦ anaesthetize, v.t. cause anaesthesia.    ♦ anaesthetist, n., British doctor specializing in administering… …   Dictionary of difficult words

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