Unconsciousness is a state which occurs when the ability to maintain an awareness of self and environment is lost. It involves a complete, or near-complete, lack of responsiveness to people and other environmental stimulus. Unconsciousness may occur as the result of traumatic brain injury, brain hypoxia (inadequate oxygen, possibly due to a brain infarction or cardiac arrest), severe intoxication with drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system (e.g., alcohol and other hypnotic or sedative drugs), severe fatigue, pain, anaesthesia, and other causes.
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|Jean-Martin Charcot demonstrating hypnosis on a "hysterical" Salpêtrière patient, "Blanche" (Marie Wittman), who is supported by Joseph Babiński.|
Loss of consciousness should not be confused with the notion of the psychoanalytic unconscious, cognitive processes that take place outside awareness (e.g., implicit cognition), and with altered states of consciousness such as sleep, delirium, hypnosis, and other altered states in which the person responds to stimuli, including trance and psychedelic experiences.