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Is there a reliable and, at least, relatively safe way to keep a person unconscious for a period of at least a year(more would be better)?

It doesn't really matter whether the individual is comatose or just "sleeping". I just need a way to keep a person unconscious for a year or more without causing any substantial physical damage to them. I'm not an expert so I don't know if using anesthetics for a long time is dangerous or how to avoid other issues like bedsore and stuff.

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closed as off-topic by Mołot, Vincent, L.Dutch, Sherwood Botsford, adaliabooks Nov 19 '17 at 20:38

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    $\begingroup$ I'm grateful this question is on Worldbuilding.SE and not, say, Biology. Or Parenting. $\endgroup$ – Ben Millwood Nov 18 '17 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ @BenMillwood Are you certain it shouldn't be migrated to InformationSecurity.SE? ;) $\endgroup$ – Shadow1024 Nov 18 '17 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ I think you need to define "substantial damage". Are you looking for something where people just can wake up and walk around, or if it's okay if they need a few weeks rehablitiation afterwards to build up muscle (plus some time for the wounds from the tracheotomy and gastrostomy to heal) ? If "no substantial damage" means "no irreversible damage" then that is indeed possible. $\endgroup$ – Eike Pierstorff Nov 18 '17 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ What does this have to do with worldbuilding?? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Nov 19 '17 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ @EikePierstorff The idea is for this process to be used for a business, so every risk is something a willing person could possibly take of their on accord. The "substantial damage " is to make clear that this is not an experimental or illegal procedure $\endgroup$ – SilverCookies Nov 19 '17 at 14:42
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If you have the person completely unconscious, in addition to bedsores you have to feed and water them, change them, etc. A drug strong enough to produce a coma can be strong enough to have you stop breathing, so you need to pay attention to the dose.

If the person alters reality with their mind then you might need unconscious. If you just need them out of commission and not paying attention you can have them awake, and on antipsychotic and amnestic drugs.

old thorazine ad

This ad is a little funny because of the waving cane but it is close to the truth. The drugs in thorazine class make inputs from the outside world less strong and bothersome, and make people disinclined to do anything. If someone has schizophrenia and is afflicted by sensory inputs that are too much or cannot be ignored, these drugs can allow a normal life. They can be used to settle down someone who is drunk or on acid so they are disinclined to act on their impulses. They can make a person with Alzheimers be inclined to sit and nap instead of try to cook or leave the house. Such drugs are tools, and people have mixed feelings about some of their uses. But they work. They also are great for hiccups for some reason.

Combined with a benzodiazepine (the best known is Valium but the date rape drugs are in this class; when you have them on board you do not lay down memories as well) you can snow your person and keep them snowed. But the person will shift weight to avoid a bedsore, eat if you put food in front of them, walk from here to there with encouragement.

Also a person in this situation makes a better narrative device because they are still present, and capable of (reduced) agency.

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    $\begingroup$ "They can be used to settle down someone who is drunk or on acid so they are disinclined to act on their impulses." ...You sure it's safe to mix with other drugs? o_o Still, good answer. $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Nov 19 '17 at 8:17
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An induced coma can be used for weeks or months at a time. Like most medical procedures, it has side effects, but they are considered less dangerous than any alternative in some cases. "Substantial physical damage" may be in the eye of the beholder.

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No.

Spending a year unconscious will damage you. There isn't any way around that.

Here is a description of spending 70 days mostly inactive:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jma83d/nasa-patient-8179-200

If you spend a year that way it will be worse.

There are a number of other concerns like bedsores or the risk associated with whatever you're using to induce unconsciousness, but "without causing any substantial physical damage" is just off the table.

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  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't even unconscious. I broke my hip in a traffic accident and was not allowed to put weight on my left leg for 5 weeks. I noticed my left thigh was smaller than my right after 2 weeks. One year of no movement means you wake up a cripple. It'll be years of physio before you're anywhere remotely self-sustaining. $\endgroup$ – Nelson Nov 18 '17 at 19:21
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Regarding whether using anesthetics for a long time is dangerous, of course it is. Using anesthetics at all is dangerous. Unconsciousness, even on the order of minutes is possibly (and even likely) lethal. Mortality due to anesthesia in surgical procedures is presently at 0.4/100,000 in Europe (used to be 8/1,000 in the 1960s). So, yes, you can die just like this, even with a dedicated person watching your body in super-paranoia mode, only because of anesthetics.
Note that when I say "super paranoia mode" this means that persons under anesthesia normally have much better vital parameters than you do in normal life, the anesthesist makes sure of that.

Is it possible to hold a person unconscious for a year without serious defects? In principle.... sure.

You will need either a PEG tube or intravenous feeding, which works reasonably well nowadays, monitoring, and you will need a clinitron bed and a dedicated nurse at the very least. Also, you will need a physiotherapist visiting daily, and you will have to perform transcutaneous electrostimulation.

So... if three thousand or so dollars per day are no problem, then sure, you can do it. Not that I'd recommend it.

The solution proposed by @Will is much preferrable due to its cost effectiveness and safety. Doesn't have to be thorazine, there's a couple of drugs that will do well for the task. Dim the light a bit, cage the window, close the door, and you're good to go.

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A person can be put in a hypnotic suggestive state where he is "frozen" and would be appearing to be unconscious for as long as you want. The successful and maintained suggestion is all that is required. Time would not appear to have passed for such a person if that was also suggested. This sort of thing is not possible with all people, though. Psyops projects that looked into the programming of highly suggestible people for subsequent use in assassinations, i.e. exploit the fact that a suggestion can have a very long lasting effect. Derren Browne has a few popular demonstrations of this type of remote control effect over time. One of his demonstration includes a remotely induced state of control that is triggered by a specific stimulus leading to a fake assassination attempt. In another case a participant is rendered unconscious and transported into a completely different part of the world, and yet another is just transported later in time to his astonishment. It is certainly possible. Indian Gurus in caves also reportedly accomplish this by suggestion too, except they work on themselves.

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It's sedation or anesthesia which IS NOT the normal restorative sleep. I have read this article mentioning the Michael Jackson case. It seems that the sedated people must be allowed to go to a normal sleep from time to time.

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Yeah sure, unless you want the person to still be alive.

There is a 2.199% Of the person staying alive. AND a even less chance of all the body parts being able to work. (And, you`ll have pee in your bed)

You could try to put them in a freezer. But... you might again,die from hypothermia..

Also, you might die from not having water, as started at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-long-can-the-average/

Unless you would like to risk it, don't do it. Why do you even ask.... Locking Door

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    $\begingroup$ Can you clarify and elaborate a bit? Right now your answer is very confusing. $\endgroup$ – Olga Nov 19 '17 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry. I'll fix it up. $\endgroup$ – Firework Nov 19 '17 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ Where does the 2.199% come from? $\endgroup$ – Ben Millwood Nov 20 '17 at 13:55

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