Revista de neurología 51,4 año 2010
|Valiente-Barroso, C., García-García, E.|
Introduction. Religiosity in the human being constitutes a universal and present phenomenon in all their evolution, extending times and cultures. The spirituality, like a base of the human religious dimension, and not strictly identified with this one, implies, among others manifestations, intense subjective experiences that, sometimes, can derive in altered consciousness states. Aim. To review some of the most outstanding phenomena that constitute consciousness alteration related to experiences of spiritual nature, trying to explain the neurological framework that justifies them. Development. We analyze the connection that takes place between peculiar expressions of religious and mystical exacerbation with respect to some forms of epilepsy, distinguishing between distinct manifestations from those based on its appearance moment within the epileptic moment (ictal, postictal and interictal periods). Later on, we present the most important psychoactive substances, also used in ritual contexts, with capacity to bring about ecstasies experiences. Conclusions. Affirming the possibility of including the religious fact and their manifestations within the scientific argument, we tentatively propose the neurological foundations that underlie to these exceptional consciousness states to associate to the spirituality. They are involved in many occasions in the clinical practice requiring of being known and considered as a deeper investigation, which continues clarifying all these aims.