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Probably HPPD - successfully treated by chance?


leelalala
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Hi there!

 

For the past two years, I have been having difficulties with video projectors, and sometimes leds.

When I watched anything on a projector, the image seperated into red-green-blue trails. Usually a great sense of terror and panic attacks accompanied the visual disturbance. It was awful for me, because as an art student I am exposed to projectors constantly, and I had to give up on many of my classes because of it.

It all started about a month after a very bad psilocybin experience. (I guess I haven't been exposed to any projectors in between) At the time I also experienced constant sleep paralysis, disturbing lucid dreams which started over and over when I tried to wake up...

 

When I mentioned this to my psychiatrist, he didn't seem to care and prescribed me antidepressants and antipsychotics for my depression and general anxiety (first prozac and rexapin, then cymbalta and seroquel). I started seeing another pdoc, and it was the same with him.

I told my parents about my problem (not the psilocybin experience though) and a neurologist who is a family friend suggested that I get screened for epilepsy. I went to an epilepsy expert. She wanted EEGs and MRIs which came out clear. I told about my drug use, and gave her a list of drugs I have tried over the years. She said that it must be a result of my drug use, but offered nothing to help.

 

About 6 months ago I started seeing another pdoc. She said that some minor epileptic cases may not be diagnosed by EEGs, and prescribed me a low dose Lamictal. The main reason for Lamictal was that it acted as a mood stabilizer, but she also wanted to see if it helped with these symptoms. I started with 25 mg, around 75 mgs the visual disturbances vanished (now I'm using 200mgs but that's for the mood stabilizing effects).

 

Well, altough I mentioned my drug use none of these doctors mentioned anything about HPPD, I guess they just don't know about it. I just found out about it myself, and after reading some articles and the posts on this forum, it seems a lot more relevant to me than photosensitive epilepsy. Still, it was treated by the instincts of my pdoc I guess :) I'll talk more about this with her next time we meet.

 

What I'm curious about is, is this thing curable? Or will it return if I stop using Lamictal?

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Do you still have any symptoms? Is day to day life still difficult?

 

It's hard to say if HPPD is 'curable', because it has so many causes, so many treatments, and every individual is entirely different in essentially every way, thus further complicating treatments. Additionally, It's difficult to know if one truly has HPPD or other disorders/diseases that can fall under the extremely wide range of symptoms associated with HPPD. Yet, in my opinion, yes, it is curable. In my opinion essentially everything is curable, at least if you look at things on a "bio-energetic" level. 

 

Some of what you described resonates with me (at least in terms of having to drop classes due to panic attacks, extreme fear, and excessive visuals). I've gotten progressively worse in the past 2 years. For a time I was temporarily 'partially-cured'; I used transcranial LLLT (low level light/LED/laser therapy) with near infrared light (850nm) along with some mitochondrial enhancing supplements and some dietary changes (lots of coconut and mct oil, some butter, and complete lack of vegetable and seed oils). Not only were my symptoms about 50% (or more) reduced, but my general cognition was greatly enhanced in almost every facet, along with a consistently increased sense of well-being and emotional resiliency. I stopped for about 6-8wks and the effects persisted but with every passing week my symptoms gradually came back; then an intense stressor made my HPPD wayyy worse than before, to the point of me being essentially nonfunctional nowadays. Two things are helping me now, z-health and CES. I could go on and on about potential therapies and our bodies innate regenerative capacities when fueled with proper nutrition (especially when supplying large amounts of nucelic acids/nucleotides) and simple supplementation with things such as aspirin and baking soda, but I tend to distract various threads, haha. You can check out the HPPD stack thread, or my "journal" thread for more information. Or you could pm me. 

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Thanks for the recommendations, I'll definitely check those threads.

 

Well, my daily life is still difficult but not because of HPPD :) The disturbing symptoms have almost vanished completely...

 

I just checked the list of symptoms over erowid again. Actually I had most of them for a long long time, and still do, but they are very mild. I started experimenting with drugs when I was 13 (now I'm 24), so it's hard for me to tell if they started before or after drugs (never been a heavy user though).

What I still have is mostly static, geometric patterns and halos but they aren't disturbing, sometimes they're even fun.

Some color combinations still give me a bit of a hard time, cyan + magenta in particular. When they are together, they tend to get illuminated, a bit 3D like and moving... But it's easy to ignore by not looking.

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I believe it was her bad psilocybin experience. 

 

Personally, my 2 psilocybin experiences were nothing short of.... transcendental? I wish I stopped there, or at least took a break and only smoked weed like I originally did. I always wanted to try Iboga and Ayahuasca, but after hearing of your experience, MissJess, as well as a few others, I wouldn't do it even if I didn't have HPPD (and considering the severity of my HPPD, I don't think I'll ever use another substance recreationally again). 

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Personally, I've been sober for many months and considering that I've been getting progressively worse (which really makes me want to get a SPECT scan and PET scan to make sure nothing else is happening (such as neurotoxins or something)... if anything I'd be able to use that knowledge for more directed supplementation, too) I don't mind. During my first 6+ months of having HPPD I still took benzo's and drank alcohol. If I was under the influence of benzo's and/or alcohol, I'd actually be able to smoke weed and be fine. I haven't drank alcohol in probably 8-12 months, though, and haven't smoked weed or taken anything else for much longer. I don't know if I'd drink or not given the chance - considering my past experiences with HPPD and alcohol I feel as though I'd be fine, yet at the same time considering I'm worse off now than before that may not be true. I always noticed, though, that since HPPD, although I could consume alcohol, it affected me differently. Before I could drink allll night and I swear I never had a hangover and never got sick like other people; yet with HPPD at about 6 shots I get the dizziness that one would get at double that amount (or more).

 

Whatever. I'm more than content with being sober. In the hypothetical situation that I were to get rid of HPPD, I don't know if I'd do anything anyhow considering there are cool things like light and sound machines and sensory deprivation tanks. 

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As I said mine was triggered by a psilocybin experience, but I think my overall state of mind at the time was also a huge influence.

 

Before that, I have always been careful with psychedelics, have done them only when I was in a good mood with the right people and environment. I used some shrooms, lsd and salvia between ages 15-17. But I have been in an ongoing depressive state ever since, and anything I used led to panic attacks, so I didn't use anything for over 4 years except the occasional weed.

In 2011 my depression got a lot worse, and I started using Cymbalta (an SNRI). I guess it triggered a manic state in me, and I started doing a lot more drugs than ever. After about 6 months of excessive alcohol, mdma and such, I quitted cymbalta and the drugs altogether. A few months later some life events brought me to a nervous breakdown, and I took some shrooms in the middle of it. Aside from panic attacks, it was my first real bad trip and I freaked out for the first time.

 

Btw, I don't have any problems regarding alcohol and hppd since I started lamictal, but lamictal itself lowers my alcohol treshold a lot and I wake up feeling like shit everytime, even with a few beers.

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