What Is The Twilight State?

What is the twilight state?

Consciousness is a complex cognitive process. Around him, we find very interesting points which strongly draw attention to psychological discipline. Among these points, we wonder about these disorders which are capable of altering human consciousness. One of the most studied is the twilight state.

Disorders like epilepsy or substance abuse are associated with the onset of twilight. This manifests itself as a narrowing of consciousness and it is found seriously impaired. Moreover, this process is accompanied by involuntary or impulsive movements. Subject rarely remembers what happened while in this state.

The twilight state

The twilight state is conceived as a temporal disturbance of consciousness, attention and executive processes. It includes strong mental confusion, reduced sensory capacity, spatial and temporal disorientation, localized amnesia in the twilight state, and involuntary and impulsive movements.

sad woman

Among the people who suffer from this pathology, we can find a great diversity of cases. The twilight state can vary in its severity as well as in its quality. In this way, we face complete alterations in consciousness or more specific damage to certain attentional or executive aspects. This variety is due to the large amount of processes involved in consciousness. Thus, depending on which one will be damaged, the pathology will be expressed in a different way.

This disorder does not have a primary or isolated form. In other words,  it is normally part of the symptomatology of wider pathologies. Among them, we find epileptic disorders and the abuse of certain types of substances: these are the most important pathologies. Despite everything, it should be added that the twilight state and the symptomatology associated with it can appear through brain lesions of different types.

The development of the twilight state usually begins with a sudden attack, which occurs without warning. The process then continues for an irregular period of time, which largely depends on the patient (it can last from a few hours to a few days, in more severe cases). Finally, the twilight state will also have an abrupt end, after which the patient will return to his normal state.

Thus,  the main characteristics of this condition are its sudden onset and disappearance. A bit like pressing an “on” and “off” button.

Symptoms of the twilight state

In this type of narrowing of consciousness, we can face a wide variety of symptoms. We are now going to mention the most important and those that best define this disorder:

  • Significant narrowing of the field of consciousness. The subject’s brain waves will end up in a very low state of alertness, with a very low amplitude between them.
  • Severe impairment of attention. The person will hardly be able to respond to the various stimuli that will arise during the episode.
  • Appearance of involuntary or impulsive movements. Manual and facial gestures appear with other behaviors, such as walking suddenly. These movements do not serve any purpose, they do not have the slightest meaning and are done repetitively.
  • Amnesia of the temporal moment surrounding the episode. Patients are unable to remember anything or, if they do, have a very poor memory of what happened during the twilight state.
  • Possible appearance of hallucinations or delusions. It has sometimes been noted that patients suffer from auditory and visual hallucinations and have inconsistent thoughts or even delusions.
  • Presence of total disorientation of the patient. The subject is totally disoriented, he does not understand where he is or what time it is.
  • The subject’s appearance and external attitude could be defined as restless and aggressive. The patient is sweating.
light beam emanating from a skull

The twilight state is a pathology that is found in various psychological and psychiatric disorders. However, many people do not know what it is. In fact, research on this altered consciousness can provide us with valuable information.

Knowing the causes, symptoms and consequences of the twilight state helps us discover methods to cure or prevent this disorder. In this way, we will be able to improve the lives of those people who suffer from it.


Dissociative amnesia, forgetting caused by trauma
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