Type of spiritual experienceHallucination
A description of the experience
Nerve agents - Ivarsson U, Nilsson H, Santesson J, eds. A FOA briefing book on chemical weapons: threat, effects, and protection. Umeå, National Defence Research Establishment, 1992.
When exposed to a low dose of nerve agent, causing poisoning, characteristic symptoms are increased production of saliva, a running nose and a feeling of pressure on the chest. The pupil of the eye becomes contracted (miosis) which impairs night-vision. The accommodation capacity of the eye is also reduced so that short-range vision deteriorates and the victim feels pain when he tries to focus on an object nearby. This is accompanied by headache. More unspecific symptoms are tiredness, slurred speech, hallucinations and nausea.
Exposure to a higher dose leads to a more dramatic development and symptoms are more pronounced. Bronchoconstriction and secretion of mucous in the respiratory system leads to difficulty in breathing and to coughing. Discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract may develop into cramp and vomiting. Involuntary discharge of urine and defecation may also form part of the picture. The discharge of saliva is powerful and the victim may experience running eyes and sweating. Symptoms from the skeletal muscles are very typical. If the poisoning is moderate, this may express itself as muscular weakness, local tremors or convulsions.
When exposed to a high dose of nerve agent, the muscular symptoms are more pronounced. The victim may suffer convulsions and lose consciousness. To some extent, the poisoning process may be so rapid that earlier mentioned symptoms may never have time to develop.
Muscular paralysis caused by nerve agents also affects the respiratory muscles. Nerve agents also affect the respiratory centre of the central nervous system. The combination of these two effects is the direct cause of death. Consequently, death caused by nerve agents is a kind of death by suffocation.