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Hi everyone, 

Thanks for your time to anyone who is reading this.

 

I have aways been a "sensory sensitive" person (i.e. only kid on a youth soccer team to have to wear sunglass sports goggles). I took LSD (one time only) during the summer after I graduated from college in 2006. Upon waking up the next morning (after little sleep lol) and getting my day started, it was overwhelmingly evident that something in my brain had changed. I have for the 8 years since then been dealing with a variety of extremely bothersome, what I would describe as, visual sensory overload issues.

 

My brain is now agitated and overwhelmed by all sorts of visual stimuli, most notably unnatural lighting that I encounter in the evening (i.e. all forms of indoor lighting, car headlights, porchlights etc). Also, as crazy as it may sound, my brain is often extremely agitated and distracted by shadows that are created by such lights...things that my brain would have formerly subconsciously filtered out. For instance, an overhead fan with a light behind it will drive me absolutely crazy. I also have issues during daytime hours, though not as intensely, as I am also now more sensitive to brightness from the sun (as well as daytime shadows). When I am in the throes of my "symptoms", my experience ranges from mild agitation to literally feeling like my brain is on fire and in desperate need of someone popping my skull open to dump ice water onto it. This latter feeling generally arises from prolonged exposure, for instance a situation where I cannot just go take a shower to calm my brain down or lie down in a dark room for a while.

 

I don't know if the condition I have is precisely HPPD, as I do not experience visual snow, halos, trailers, or any of the other "common symptoms" I have seen listed under diagnosis criteria for HPPD. However, I keep coming back to this forum and other websites related to HPPD because I have had a persisting sensory condition that was (however predisposed I may have been) either caused or multiplied a hundred times by taking a psychedelic drug.

 

To wrap up with a few other details:

I have suffered from Depersonalization Disorder since my senior year of high school (that I am certain was triggered or at least exacerbated by marijuana use). I have not taken any psychedelic drugs since my LSD experience, and have not smoked pot in about 7 years as it makes all of my symptoms much worse.

 

I mostly try to sleep and exercise consistently to help me battle my problems.

 

I have been to several people for help. A neurologist told me frankly that he understood in theory what I was saying, but had no idea what to do. I was later prescribed Xanax by a psychiatrist. It has helped me quite a bit and I generally take it at night time when my symptoms hit at their worst. I do hope to get off of it someday soon because of the zombie-ish feeling it can create. But for now, I much prefer it to the suffering I endure without it. I have been disciplined and have not upped my Xanax dosage during the 2 1/2 years I have been taking it.

 

I believe that the condition I deal with might line up more closely with some of the sensory overload issues faced by MS or Autistic patients. It might very well be that certain receptors were overstimulated during my LSD experience and now my GABA production has been permanently affected. This would explain why taking a Benzo, like Xanax, temporarily makes me feel better. Drinking alcohol, though I don't often engage in it, has a slightly similar calming effect.

 

If anyone has any thoughts, I would greatly appreciate hearing them. I am quite desperate, to be frank, and am open to all suggestions. N-Met is a product I have seen marketed for sensory overload sufferers, as well as GABA Calm. Keppra intrigues me as well because of it's work on GABA receptors, though I am a bit nervous about trying an anti-convulsant. I have also considered meeting with an Occupational Therapist, or a hypnotist. 

 

Thanks everyone!

DJ 

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Sounds like you are doing things the right way... Being cautious with the benzos and alcohol (the two things the bring me the greatest relief too).

 

Do you wear sunglasses indoors at all? I did this for the first few years of my condition (much to the laughter of my friends) and it really helped. I now no longer suffer as badly from the sensory overload of too much light, especially from non natural lights and computers, as you mentioned. For some reason, yellow lens glasses work best for me.

 

The DP disorder is a different beast, something I have never been able to control. Benzos bring some relief. You could try an anti-convulsant like Keppra or Lamictal.... It is nothing to worry about, as long as you follow your doctor's advice about going up and down dosages.

 

Good luck, Jay

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HPPD is a strange beast.  Really it is just various perception-change-symptoms that stick with a person long after taking a drug.  While visual stuff are the main reported issues, things like anxiety or depression (which aren't visual) are often part of it and usually the worst part.

 

That said, a few questions:

 

Early years (pre DP).  You mention sensory sensitive.  Were there things more than just light and sunglasses?  Sound?  Being around arguments?  Concentration?

 

What subjects did you do best in school?  (math, sports, science, language, art, etc..)

 

 

DP from weed.  How severe is it?  24/7?  Can't feel anything or just 'blunted'?  Difficult feeling pleasure or motivation?

 

 

After LSD.  Are you hypersensitive to motion or just shadows?  It is worse in your peripheral vision or central vision?

 

You are calmest and feel best in the morning.  In the afternoon, do you feel better after a brief nap?

 

Any other changes you now live with?  (fatigue, coordination, digestion, libido, ...)

 

 

 

Meds.  Have you taken anything besides Xanax?

 

Have you had a prolactin and testosterone test?

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"Early years (pre DP).  You mention sensory sensitive.  Were there things more than just light and sunglasses?  Sound?  Being around arguments?  Concentration?"

 

Sound also to an extent, in the sense of not being able to sleep with a dog barking or something. I have always been emotionally sensitive (empathetic for others but also heavily affected by listening to things like sad music, or if someone says something negative to me.

 

"What subjects did you do best in school?  (math, sports, science, language, art, etc..)"

 

My strongest subjects are music and language. I was decent in other subjects, but music (I play a few instruments and can learn songs by ear etc) and studying foreign language are what I do best.

 

"DP from weed.  How severe is it?  24/7?  Can't feel anything or just 'blunted'?  Difficult feeling pleasure or motivation?"

 

ome days are worse than others but I basically feel it 24/7. If I am watching a movie or playing piano or something, I won't think about it. But when I am going through my daily life, it often feels as though I am watching myself do things as a passive observer. I have perfect knowledge of what's going on, but it's just a bizarre, and often disconcerting feeling of being out of my body. I can feel things. In fact I think I can feel everything I think. But I often have trouble experiencing it in the moment. Sometimes I will go through an experience in a very depersonalized way and then experience the resulting emotion later on.  It's an interpersonal issue, which makes having a girlfriend difficult for me. Motivation is a bit difficult for me, but I am working on it lol. To be honest though, at this point, I am more focused on my sensory overload issues, because those are the ones that cause me the most agony. 

 

"After LSD.  Are you hypersensitive to motion or just shadows?  It is worse in your peripheral vision or central vision?"

 

Not hypersensitive to motion in general, just shadows. And it is much worse in my peripheral vision. If I stare right at shadows, they are less bothersome than if it they are existing in my peripherals.

 

"You are calmest and feel best in the morning.  In the afternoon, do you feel better after a brief nap?"

 

Actually, the morning is often difficult for me. Usually starting my day is one of the tougher points of the day. Then things tend to get better in the afternoon on through early evening. Then when the sun starts going down, I have the most problems.  I don't often take naps, but I think they do help occasionally when I feel worn out.

 

"Any other changes you now live with?  (fatigue, coordination, digestion, libido, ...)"

 

No, I don't experience much else. Sure, I have fatigue, but nothing outside the realm of what's probably normal. I am actually pretty healthy in most ways I think. I run every day like 4-5 miles. My doctor check-ups go pretty well. DP affects my ability for closeness with people, so sometimes intimate moments too. But my libido is there.

 

Meds.  Have you taken anything besides Xanax?

 

Yes, for a few years I took unprescribed Vicodin. They made me feel warm and cozy, even during symptom times. But I began to worry that I was messing with the dopamine receptors/pleasure circuitry in my brain, so I stopped taking them cold turkey one day. I had a tough time for awhile and then eventually was prescribed Xanax.  I haven't taken much else, besides Omega 3 when I think of it.

 

Have you had a prolactin and testosterone test?

 

Yes, I had a testosterone test (possibly prolactin also) a few years ago. It came back normal.

 

 

Thanks Visual! (Thanks also Jay!)

DJ

HPPD is a strange beast.  Really it is just various perception-change-symptoms that stick with a person long after taking a drug.  While visual stuff are the main reported issues, things like anxiety or depression (which aren't visual) are often part of it and usually the worst part.

 

That said, a few questions:

 

Early years (pre DP).  You mention sensory sensitive.  Were there things more than just light and sunglasses?  Sound?  Being around arguments?  Concentration?

 

What subjects did you do best in school?  (math, sports, science, language, art, etc..)

 

 

DP from weed.  How severe is it?  24/7?  Can't feel anything or just 'blunted'?  Difficult feeling pleasure or motivation?

 

 

After LSD.  Are you hypersensitive to motion or just shadows?  It is worse in your peripheral vision or central vision?

 

You are calmest and feel best in the morning.  In the afternoon, do you feel better after a brief nap?

 

Any other changes you now live with?  (fatigue, coordination, digestion, libido, ...)

 

 

 

Meds.  Have you taken anything besides Xanax?

 

Have you had a prolactin and testosterone test?

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Its hard to say what to do.  Just try things.  Your sensitivity was high and gets worse when trying drugs.  It would seem to be a neurological disposition rather than emotional.

 

I've not tried ADD/ADHD meds but have help with other dopamine increasing meds at low doses, particularly Sinemet 100/25. 

 

Then there are antiseizures such as Klonopin, Keppra, or gabapentin.  Klonopin is similar to Xanax but oriented toward seizure rather than panic.

 

HPPD symptoms are thought to be from overactive visual processing in the brain.  So it seems your hypersensitivity may be for similar reason although you don't have visual problems.

 

Have you noticed any changes in visual depth perception or dullness in colors?

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  • 3 months later...

ADD adhd (i have the disorder)meds cured my dr/dp but I stayed up for 3 days (only 20mg adderal).  I thought it would be ok to smoke weed but i ended up getting hallucinations etc so i had a panick attack and called 911 and it was all in my head... fast heartbeat but not life threatening... its crazy how the mind plays tricks. but thank god my hppd isn't noticeably worse cuz i was out of reality .. but yeah add adhd meds cured my dr/dp idk about hppd until i hit psychosis

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