(This is a repost from a recent LiveJournal post)
This piece is written with a theist bent, but that aside I’m finding the information in there very intriguing to my own situation. I also greatly enjoyed reading about the science behind the biology, and overall the article is very well-researched.
With regards to alcohol-induced rage, I have been known to go into this state during intoxication, but I wouldn’t say alcohol is the cause of this. Generally pain doesn’t stop me. The only thing that would stop me suddenly is if my breathing were to get obstructed, or maybe someone attempting to talk me down. Otherwise, I eventually just run out of steam.
In the end I would concur with the author here, in it being a self-induced phenomenon, or triggered by some sort of strong emotion. Neurotransmitters such as adrenaline would go strongly into play here. This can definitely be seen as a form of altered state, and as such, anyone with a strong religious inclination can definitely see it as a spiritual experience. Very similar to this would be the ordeal-frenzied shamans have been known to whip themselves into, though the means and ends may be slightly different.
My experience with it is also similar, in the sharpening of senses. My muscles will spasm. My mouth has a tendency to get real dry. I’ll pace. I’ve been told I have a habit of growling a lot. My hands will clench and unclench and, in thinking about it, they do tend to be held in an attitude suggesting claws. Paranoia and fear are also experienced, to varying degrees. Usually when I come out of this episode, I am weak, sore all over, and experiencing strong migraine symptoms. Usually I spend most of the day hibernating, but occasionally I will awaken the next morning and act as if nothing has occurred. I think it all depends on the emotions involved at the time, and the general situation. I also found some similarities with the author’s recounting of his own childhood. When describing the physical attributes of berserkers, I was surprised to read that “short and skinny” (which fits my description) was a common attribute, as well as the more commonly-known broad and hairy ones.
Overall, it was an interesting read. It also gives me something to think about, as it relates to my own personal situation.