A lethargic sleep is a deviation, a specific condition, similar to external signs with deep sleep. At the same time, a subject who has fallen into lethargy does not show external stimuli. This state reminds someone. All vital indicators are preserved, but it is impossible to wake a person. In severe manifestation, imaginary death may occur, characterized by a drop in body temperature, a slowing of the heartbeat and the disappearance of respiratory movements. Today, the concept under consideration is considered to be a fictional state, mainly described in artistic creations and the preservation of the vital functions of organs that differ from coma. However, it has long been no secret that the body of human individuals for a long period can not do without drinking. That is why the maintenance of life in a protracted unconscious state is impossible without medical care.
Interesting facts about lethargic sleep
An individual residing in the state being described is immobilized and does not show any reaction to external stimuli. At the same time, vital activity is preserved. Breathing is slow, the pulse is almost impossible to grope, the heartbeat is also barely perceptible.
The term "lethargy" came into use from Latin. "Summer" means "oblivion." This word is familiar to many from the mythological works of antiquity, which refers to the kingdom of the dead and the river Leta flowing in it. According to the legends, the departed, who drank the waters from this source, forget everything that happened to them in the life of the world. The word "argy" means "stupor." There have been cases of lethargic sleep in history, so in antiquity there was an irrational fear of being buried alive.
Back in the 18th century, the Duke of Mecklenburg in his own possessions in Germany forbade the bury of the dead immediately after death. He decided that from the moment of the statement of death and until the moment of burial it is necessary to withstand three days. From this date, 3 days should have passed. After some time, this rule spread throughout the continent.
In the 19th century, masters of undertakings developed special "safe" coffins that allow a person, mistakenly buried, to live for some time and even signal his own awakening. For example, most often they took the pipe out of the coffin to the surface of the earth, so that the clergy who regularly visit the graves could hear the call of the subject buried alive. In addition, the smell of a corpse should have come out through such a tube, if the person is not buried alive. Therefore, if, after a certain time, the smell of decomposition was absent, then they had to open the grave.
Today, in most countries of Europe, many ways have been developed to avoid the burial of a person alive. For example, in Slovakia, they put a telephone in the coffin to the deceased, so that the subject suddenly wakes up - he could call and thus avoid a terrible death, and the UK uses a bell for this purpose.
Examples of lethargic sleep were examined and studied by the physiologist I. Pavlov. He examined a man who was in a state of lethargy for 22 years, who, upon awakening, told that he was aware of what was happening, he heard, but he could not react, tell or make a movement. Official medicine recorded the longest episode of lethargic sleep in Dnepropetrovsk. 34-year-old N. Lebedin went to bed after a family conflict, and woke up only after 20 years.
Examples of lethargic sleep can be found in literary works, such as: "Premature Burial" and "Sleeping Beauty". The earliest mention of lethargy is found in the Bible.
The lethargic sleep today remains a mysterious and poorly studied phenomenon. Unknown reasons for the entry of subjects in this state. Some people tend to look for reasons in magic or interfering with something otherworldly. It is easier for people to take responsibility for supernatural forces or to deny the possibility of existence when they do not understand something.
Causes of lethargic sleep
There are cases of lethargic sleep occurring after a person has suffered a serious severe shock, stress. Also, this condition can occur in persons on the verge of serious nervous or physical exhaustion. More often lethargy occurs in women with high emotionality, prone to hysterics. According to the theory of psychologists, a wonderful world of oblivion awaits those with excessive emotionality. For them, the state of lethargy is a place where there are no fears, stresses and unresolved problems. Chronic fatigue syndrome can also cause the lethargy.
Today, it has not been possible to accurately determine the factors contributing to the development of the state in question. There are only general hypotheses. So one of them says that before falling into a lethargic sleep, people suffered from frequent sore throats. Scientists have established the connection of this condition with an infection caused by streptococcus. Suffering from lethargic sleep, are owners of a rare and unusual form of streptococcus, causing angina. Scientists believe that these bacteria are modified and produce lethargy. They explain this connection by the fact that a harmful parasite infects the brain, causing inflammation.
Some diseases that traumatize the nervous system, for example, lethargic encephalitis, also lead to this condition. It is believed that lethargy is due to the occurrence of a pronounced common and deep inhibitory process, localized in the subcortex of the brain. The most frequently encountered factors causing the described condition include severe mental shocks, hysteria, marked exhaustion (for example, due to severe blood loss due to childbirth). In addition, it is possible to artificially introduce the subject into a lethargic state through hypnosis.
Symptoms and signs of lethargic sleep
In the disorder under consideration, the symptoms are not varied. The individual sleeps, but at the same time, physiological processes, such as the need for food, water and others, do not disturb him. Metabolism in lethargy is reduced. Also, the person is completely lacking response to external stimuli.
In accordance with modern concepts, lethargy is a serious disease characterized by several clinical manifestations. In humans, before falling into lethargic sleep, there is a sudden inhibition of the functioning of organs and metabolic processes. Breathing is impossible to determine visually. In addition, the individual ceases to respond to noise or light effects, to pain.
People who are in a lethargic state do not age. At the same time, after awakening, they rapidly catch up on their biological summers.
Relatively conventionally, all cases of the described condition can be divided into light lethargy and severe. It is rather difficult to distinguish between them, as well as to mark the moment of transition of the easy stage to the difficult one. It is known that in individuals who are in a lethargic sleep, the ability to perceive what is happening, the analysis and the function of memorization are preserved, but there is no possibility to react to what is happening.
Mild forms of lethargy are characterized by immobility of the patient, even breathing, relaxed muscles, a slight drop in temperature. The ability to swallow and chewing function is preserved, physiological functions are also preserved. This form resembles the usual deep sleep.
The features of severe lethargy include: muscle hypotonia, lack of response to stimulation from the outside, pallor of the epidermis, lower blood pressure, lack of individual reflexes, difficulty in feeling the pulse, a strong drop in temperature, no need for food and physiological functions, mental arrest, dehydration.
What is the difference between lethargy and coma? The disorder and coma are two dangerous ailments, often leading to death. Moreover, if an individual is in one of the described conditions, doctors are unable to provide the terms of recovery from them, guarantees of recovery. The similarity of these disorders ends there.
Lethargy is a serious illness characterized by slowing metabolism, the disappearance of the response to stimuli from the outside, and easy and difficult breathing. A similar condition can occur for several decades.
Coma is an acute pathological condition characterized by a lack of consciousness, depression of the vital activity of the nervous system, a malfunction in the functioning of the body (respiratory distress, circulatory disturbance, deviation in metabolism occurs). Dates of stay in this state cannot be established. It is also impossible to say with certainty whether the individual will regain consciousness or die.
The difference between the ailments in question is to get out of them. From the lethargy the individual goes on his own. He just wakes up. Those who have fallen into lethargy should be provided with parenteral feeding. It should be turned over, washed, and also eliminated in a timely manner waste products. For the withdrawal of patients from coma requires drug therapy, the use of special equipment and specific methods. If an individual who has fallen into a comatose state is not provided with timely resuscitation measures and is not provided with the maintenance of vital activity, then he will die.
An individual, being in a lethargic sleep, breathes on his own, even when breathing is invisible. At the same time his body continues to function normally. In a comatose state, everything happens differently: the vital activity of the body is impaired, as a result of which its functioning is ensured by special equipment.
In order to distinguish lethargy from death, electrocardiography or electroencephalogram must be performed. You should also carefully examine the torso of a person for the detection of injuries that clearly indicate incompatibility with life, or obvious signs of death (rigor). In addition, capillary bleeding can be checked with a small incision.
The therapeutic strategy must be purely individual. The violation in question does not imply hospitalization of the patient. It is enough if the individual is under the supervision of relatives. A person who is in a state of lethargy, first of all, should be provided with adequate living conditions in order to minimize the occurrence of side effects upon awakening. Care involves placing a person in a ventilated and carefully cleaned private room, parenteral feeding (or through a probe), hygienic procedures (the patient must be washed, anti-decubital measures should be taken). It is also necessary to monitor the temperature regime. If it is cold in the room, a person should be covered. In case of heat - try not to overheat.
In addition, since there is a version that an individual who is in a lethargic sleep hears everything that happens, it is recommended to talk to him. You can tell him about the events that happened during the day, read books or sing songs. The main thing to try to fill his existence with positive feelings.
With a pronounced decrease in blood pressure, an injection of caffeine is indicated. Sometimes immunotherapy may be required.
Due to the lack of complete information about the etiological factor of the disease in question, it is impossible to develop a single therapeutic strategy and preventive measures. The available data only make it possible to understand that in order to avoid a state of lethargy, it is necessary to avoid exposure to stressors and to strive for a healthy existence.