In psychology, a fugue state (also known as a 'psychogenic fugue' or 'dissociative fugue') is a state of mind where a person experiences a dissociative break in identity and attempts to run away from some perceived threat, usually something abstract such as the person's identity. People who enter into a fugue state may disappear, running away to a completely different geographical region and assuming another identity. A bewildered facial expression is a common symptom of the condition that can involve both physical and psychological escape from a stressful environment.
A fugue state is often triggered by stress. The condition often follows interpersonal events in which a person is exposed to rage, threats to their self-esteem and challenges to habitual patterns of impulse control.
Non-psychologists more commonly use the term "fugue state" to refer to the state of mind attained by a gifted musician or athlete where the person attains a high degree of focus and attention to their art or actions. This is also a dissociation from one's surroundings, to concentrate on the work at hand. Other names for the same basic concept include
* the mental state called flow, often seen in the context of programming, and
* being in the zone.
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