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Lethargy (other - Greek λήθη — "oblivion", and  — "inaction") — the disease state similar to a dream and characterized immovability, lack of reactions to external irritation and sharp decrease in intensity of all external signs of life (so-called "small life", "imaginary death"). The lethargical sleep, as a rule, lasts of several o'clock and up to several weeks, and in rare instances — and months. It is observed also in a hypnotic state.

Lethargy reasons:

Why some of us are capable to plunge into a dream deep and serene (at first sight). The modern medicine states such reason as effects of a severe mental injury. The lethargical sleep in this case acts as special type of self-defense. The organism needs to endure a peak stressful situation, and it turns on protective mechanisms. Such dreams are usually short and short-term.

Other reason of a lethargy – an organic disease of a brain. The special form of such dream is observed at a so-called catatonia, a psychological disease which occurs at patients with schizophrenia.

From stresses and strong nervous experiences any person is not insured. There is a truth very "thick-skinned" people, but also they have "Achilles' heel" which defeat can lead to serious mental shock. So it turns out – all of us are potentially inclined to a lethargy?

Healthy people with a certain mentality can fall into a lethargical sleep. If at the person very vulnerable and easily excited mentality, the increased suspiciousness, uncertainty in the near future, constant nervousness and persuasive dark thoughts, then with probability one to hundred thousand imaginary death can be provoked by continuous series of events which demand huge nervous tension.

The image of the great Russian writer Gogol Nikolay of Vasilyevich is an example of that (1809-1952). Persistent rumors go that at a reburial of his body in 1931 when the coffin was opened, attendees saw a strange picture: the body lay on one side, the head rested against a sidewall, two fingers on the right hand of the writer were broken, and on a coffin cover from the inside there were chronic scratches.

Lethargy symptoms:

Meets at hysteria, the general exhaustion, after strong disorders. The attack is sudden, proceeds from several hours to several years (the case 22 years long is known). Consciousness is usually kept — patients perceive and remember surrounding, but do not react to it. It is necessary to distinguish from a lethargical sleep hibernation at encephalitis or a narcolepsy.

The lethargical sleep can be shown in two forms: heavy and easy.

Longing a severe form of a lethargy for external signs becomes similar to the dead: cooling of skin, pallor, lack of a photoharmose and pain, not probed pulse; heartbeat is slowed down to 2 — 3 beats per minute, shallow imperceptible breathing. The person loses weight, biological allocations practically stop.

Sick easy form also remains motionless, weakened, however, keeps even breathing and incomplete perception of the world around.

The academician I. P. Pavlov described the sick Ivan Kuzmich Kachalkin who overslept 22 years — from 1896 to 1918. It was in a catatonic state — "lay a live corpse without the slightest autokinesia and without uniform word". He had to be fed by means of the probe. In recent years before the sixtieth anniversary it began to do gradually some movements, eventually he could get up in a toilet and sometimes is without assistance. Concerning its last state Ivan Kachalkin explained that he "understood everything that about it occurs, but felt terrible, invincible weight in muscles so it was even difficult for it to breathe". He died in September, 1918 of heart failure.


If physicians have suspicions about a possibility of a lethargical sleep, then they:

- remove the electrocardiogram or the electroencephalogram;
- make careful survey of a body, trying to find injuries, obviously incompatible with life (for example, craniocereberal), or strong indications of approach of death (for example, a cadaveric spasm);
- check capillary bleeding at an easy cut;
- conduct a chemical blood analysis.

Treatment of a lethargy:

This disease does not demand immediate hospitalization (unlike a coma), and the patient prevails under regular observation of the family in house conditions. It is very important to provide all conditions of life activity to avoid in the future serious problems with health.
First of all, it is important to take care of comfort of the characteristic patient, to allocate it the certain room, to protect from foreign sounds and noise, and also to regularly change bed linen. At cold to warm a body a blanket, and at hot weather to avoid its overheat, supporting by that normal temperature condition.
Besides, it is very important to provide healthy nutrition. That is an artificial way to avoid final exhaustion of an organism. Food has to be served exclusively in the liquid state, at the same time has to be vitaminized and balanced. Also you should not forget about danger of dehydration of an organism, providing sufficient volumes of the consumed liquid. The range of admissible products should be stipulated with the attending physician in an individual order then steadily to follow all medical recommendations.
Additional medicamentous therapy is not required at all though in separate clinical pictures not superfluous is an immunotherapy. However besides the family has to coordinate all the actions concerning the patient with the specialist qualified in the matter previously.
It is also important not to forget about high-quality hygienic leaving which considerably will suspend irreversible processes of aging and will keep a well-groomed and tidy look of the sleeping person. Such responsibility is conferred on shoulders of the family which should not leave the ailing relative in such state.
After its awakening life is returned to a former bed, and the patient also does not suspect that had rather long disease.

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