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HPPD like symptoms without drug use?


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Hi everyone! 


I'm 17 years old and my life is totaly ruined.

I must deal with a lot of symptoms of drug user. But I have really never used drugs. I havent drunk alcohol, coffe and smoke...

My diet always was really good and always I was almost healthy, but only almost, because since I was a child seen 24/7 visual snow and afterimages and thought it was normal.

About 1,5 year ago I sick for mononukleosis and after this I felt fatiuge, depression, derealization and incresed VS and afterimages. I and doctors thinks its only my psyche and I must rest. I forgive about this symptoms and its decrease, I thought that I back to normality. But my life was totaly ruined in day when my brother had an accident, where I was participant. I almost fainted with fear, after this event I got really annoying symptoms. Exists starts be impossible. Half of this symptoms was only neurosis and were gone, but half stay with me to today. My symptoms: VS (much than after), severe afterimages, random shapes, closed eye hallucinations, severe derealization, headache and head pressure, neck pain , sometimes heart pain ,rare panic attacks, fatigue , weird aliment with my pupils: they pulsate and still expand and shrink, lightphobia and eyes pain, dry eye syndrome because I sleep with open eyes (after accident I did not have it), serious cognitive problems, problem with maths, memory, concetration, realistic and weird crazy dreams. I still feeling like as I pass out, this fatigue and mental problems makes my life messed out.


My life was hell, now It is a bit better but still wrong. Symptms that bother me a lot are: ghosting, cognitive problems, derealization, afterimages and random shapes, headaches and head pressure (i feel like my head exploding), neck pain.


I done a lot of medical test include blood tests, MRI of head and really a lot of tests... , all was normal, i have only "change" in my thyroid but I'm under endocrinologist care. 


I tried a lot of supplements like choline, oil fish, urydyne, B complex, all A-Z witamins... Its only bit better...


It is possible to have HPPD without drug use? I really frustrated, cant life normally and still feel pain and this weird symptoms.


What can I do with this shit? It is possible to back to normal state?


Sorry for my english but it is not my main language.



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Welcome to the forum, but sorry that you are suffering.


It is possible to have the symptoms of HPPD without having used drugs.  As a technicality it wouldn't be called HPPD (because the H refers to use of hallucinagens).


Some have had it all their life.  Others develop it without knowing why. You'll find posts throughout the forum such as this one http://hppdonline.com/index.php?/topic/4550-hppd-since-childhood-without-hallucinogens/


There are other forums, typically speaking of Visual Snow, that relate much of the symptoms HPPDers have.  The mild symptoms are one thing but the progression is obviously destressing you.


Dr Abraham has spent years researching HPPD and states, "Developing HPPD without ever tripping on acid can also happen, but in my experience this is quite rare, and suggestive of another disorder in the nervous system that needs medical attention." - http://amrglobal.powweb.com/category/hppd


You describe your symptoms in several stages:

  1. Visual snow and afterimages since early childhood
  2. Worse symptoms following mononukleosis
  3. Much worse symptoms following an accident
  4. Just a little better since

This follows a pattern of a weakness that stress aggravates - similar to what Dr Abraham said.  Although you are frustrated, it is really good that various tests are all normal.  So the problem is more subtle.  


It can be as simple as difficulty absorbing something your body needs even though you eat well.  Recently have had help with a simple vitamin (thiamine) that I cannot absorb in common form - see http://hppdonline.com/index.php?/topic/5027-thiamine-cocarboxylase/  Some of your symptom indicate that possibility.  And this type of problem is easy for doctors to miss.


In time you will find an answer, or series of answers, that will help you be more normal and be able to enjoy life.  What do your doctors suggest?

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Thanks for your reply!

Maybe I will take this vitamin in this form, maybe it will help.


"suggestive of another disorder in the nervous system that needs medical attention."

Autism is a nervous system disorder? Psychiatrist said that I have or had in childhood a lot of symptoms of high-functioning autism, asperger syndrome, the orphan disease, Multiple-complex Developmental Disordersensory integration dysfunction... I'm really special case...


Ok I have never used drugs, drunk alcohol, smoke itd. but I am not holy, I have an addiction of masturbation. I did this first time when I was 10 years old, and can do this more than 3 times per day and cant stop. Its too affect on brain . You know... dopamine etc. Some scientists compare this addiction to heroine addiction...


Maybe synergy of high mental and physical stress , all this problems with autism spectrum and chronic overmasturbation, ruined my brain?


I have had bad resistance for stress since I can remember. Problems with test in school, long trips etc...




Och man... In my country doctors suggest nothing else like depression or neurosis. Only maybe 2 of them were interested by my case. Now I try to convince my neuroophthalmologist to do PET-CT. She said that maybe we will do this but now I must do VEP test, and when it will be fine she will "think about this". 


Hmm... so the common cause of HPPD like disorders isn't known yet, bad... too bad...  In my opinion this is nothing else than damaged receptors in brain. As a result of this in several parts of brain some neurotransmiters are in insufficient amount, like acetylocholine or something. 

There are peaople whom their symptoms COMPLETELY gone?  





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Don't worry about that particular addiction ruining your brain.  It is a habit to deal with stress and many people do it ... it is usually only considered a mental illness if one does it in public  :P .  Just slowly cut back and you will feel better about yourself.


Many HPPDers recover completely in time.  Because you've had some symptoms a long time, maybe that will persist but the recent things should be reversible.


Many people with HPPD suffer attention/focus difficulties.  Some report ADD/ADHD.  All these have in common with autism dopamine issues.


Autism is a developmental nervous system disorder.  Your more recent symptoms from virus and from accident can happen to anyone ... not just autism spectrum people


There are links with autism and thiamine deficiency and treatment:

You could ask your doctor for a erythrocyte transketolase blood test.  But if you are just mildly deficient, it might not show.  One of those, 'don't know until you try' things.  Dysautonomia can cause the pupil fluctuations you describe - which ties in both dopamine and thiamine.


The VEP test makes sense.  PET scans do not usually reveal anything in these cases.  Even with mild autism they are subject to debate.


Are you taking any medications right now?  Are there meds you have tried in the past?

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As you propably know PET-CT scans shows hypermetabolism in the right lingual gyrus and left cerebellar anterior lobe with people suffering for VS. Thats why I plain to do it.


I have a lot of symptoms of this Dysautonomia inluding palpitations, vertigo , headache. I had test of katecholamines and Holter test in Hospital and results were good.


I will try tiamine but now I have forms: thiamine nitrate and thiamine mononitrate. I dont know  if I can buy other forms in my country.


I know that chronic masturbation is "only" habit. But dopamine what is realase during this act can affect on brain. I saw a researches about this.


You said that many HPPDers recover completely in time. I fear about that all symptoms will be persist. I have suffered for VS since birth, maybe now its get worse and this changes are irreversible.


I take a lot of supplements but not meds. I will be grateful to you when you prepare a list for me what supplements and meds can help me. I think you have a lot of experience with HPPD and maybe you know which meds/supples except thiamine can be helpfull. I can try everything but I MUST recover.

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As for HPPD treatments ...


Dr Abraham mentions CBT as the most important thing.  It helps people develop skills to cope with the problem.  There are several aspects:

  • Reducing anxiety - For many, anxiety actually makes symptoms worse ... and once they reduce it, other symptoms begin resolving.  Anxiety increases physical stress on the brain, so it is important for all to resolve it.  Anxiety can make life miserable.  Also 'panic' puts one out of control, running in circles.
  • Reducing depression - which saps life of joy
  • Eliminated the feeling of helplessness - 'learned-helplessness' can cause a person to give up trying.  To think in terms of black-and-white.  Life is rarely all-or-nothing, so resolving HPPD isn't likely to be either.  Knowing how one can take charge of their life in spite of problems: “Self-control is another name for changing ourselves” http://www.allto.ca/WORKSHOPS2015/WEBSCIARTICLES/WebofSciencescientificamerican0415-60Conquer.pdf
  • Attention/Focus - many suffering HPPD have attention problems.  Relieving the above and further developing attention skills is important to successfully manage life

As for medications,

  • Klonopin - For many it helps most symptoms.  For some it does nothing.  The downside of it is it only manages symptoms ... it does not cure.  Also, a person can quickly become dependent on it and withdrawal is difficult and a slow process.
  • Keppra - A few report good results from it
  • Sinemet - Some get benefit, others do not.  Dr Abraham did a drug trial with it and another med that boosts the effect and even more benefited - but it isn't a practical solution since the other med can damage the liver


You will see as you look throughout the forum, that people try many things and for some it helps but most they do not.  In the end you will have to feel your way through it and try things.


Often people get better without taking anything ... just time and 'healthy' living.



I would encourage the thiamine cocarboxylase.  What country do you live it?  Perhaps you can order it on amazon if you can't find it at stores.  It is possible that some doctors have it - many years ago some used to.  Then there are several thiamine analogs, some of which are mentioned in articles posted.  I do not have experience with them, but theoretically they should work.  The problem is that theoretically if one takes enough thiamine mononitrate it will work ... but it does not with me or some others.


You sound motivated to get better, so see what you can find where you live.  Again, you will be able to find things that will help.

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I'm too afraid to taking some meds, especially when in my opinion these meds are not cure, bring relief but not repair the cause. For example when you have got a deficit of Witamin X what causes problem, you dont cure this by taking meds which just deceive your brain that you have much this witamin than in reality. This is how works SSRI for exapmle. SSRI have never cured depression but only suppres symptoms of this disorder.  

For now I will try supplements like this tiamine. I live in Poland. I cant translate "cocarboxylase" so cant check if I can buy it in my country. Heh...


Really vision symptoms dont bother me a lot as another symptoms like "feeling like stoned", head pressure, eyes pain (oppression), stupor and something similar to vertigo but I dont know how I can explain this feeling.

When I now exactly thinking about my whole life, I have had always "weird feeling" like mild derealisation or something similar. I remember when I was in kindergarten and I was feeling "weird" like in dream or like stoned, but it was just mild version of this what I feeling now.


Yea, I'm really motivated to recover, it is my dream now. I dream about it even when I sleeping. I dont know how but I have assimilated a lot of knowledge about diffrent vitamins, disorders, medical facts, supplements within just seven months, I know more than 99% of my peers in my age which I know but I still dump... I can remember a lot of informations, but do simple mistakes like forget insert letters, forget and deceive some words and have other annoying symptoms that makes me dump like.


"Often people get better without taking anything ... just time and 'healthy' living."

This statement interested me a lot. Can you give me links to any people in this forum or other which accomplished this? In these cases all symptoms completely gone?




PS: This isn't sleep paralysis because I had this, and it was something diffrent than this current ailment. I am not conscious when my eyes are open, I wake up with opened eyes. Also when I try sleep they automatically open without my conscious decision.



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Och nice I have found this tiamine version in polish. This is Pirofosforan tiaminy (Thiamine pyrophosphate). 

I've found also this information : 


Thiamine deficiency impairs the function of these biologically active proteins. Damage is especially nervous tissue, where there is a disturbance in the synthesis of acetylcholine

And now look at this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticholinergic#Acute_Anticholinergic_Syndrome

I also read that antibiotics and heart drugs can cause Thiamine deficit. I took both of this, because I have hypertrophy of the right heart ventricle and also had infections.


But the solution cant be that simple, here is must be a something else. :P

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No specific links that I know of ... just occasional threads - most of those seem to be resolving anxiety and then the rest follows.  Also, since the med listed don't cure, its mainly a matter of time.


Anxiety, depression and fatigue are the most disabling symptoms.  Visuals, like many things in life, one may get used to.


Cocarboxylase is a chemical name, probably latin since that is most common in science.  It is thiamine diphosphate + hcl.  Many meds have hcl as a water soluable 'salt' for absoption.  You may find something under diphosphate or pyrophosphate - just read the find print because some brands talk about pyrophosphate but are just mononitrate or hcl.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiamine_pyrophosphate


Don't know what companies ship to Poland but some members on this forum live there as well and may be able to assist.

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Och nice I have found this tiamine version in polish. This is Pirofosforan tiaminy (Thiamine pyrophosphate). 

I've found also this information : 

And now look at this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anticholinergic#Acute_Anticholinergic_Syndrome

I also read that antibiotics and heart drugs can cause Thiamine deficit. I took both of this, because I have hypertrophy of the right heart ventricle and also had infections.


But the solution cant be that simple, here is must be a something else. :P


Do you have a link to the actual product we can look at?


Looking at the model of severe thiamine deficiency (which puts a person in the emergency room), it is necessary to restore thiamine (obviously).  Then the person gets better over weeks/months ... but because the problem was severe, they have damage that can't be fixed.


Those here responding to TC would have mild (or perhaps moderate) deficiency.  It is difficult to know how much damage has been done.  But for sure, the brain has had to adapt to the situation of reduce energy metabolism and incorrect neurotransmitters levels and balances.  So once deficiency is being addressed, then the brain will remodel accordingly.  What the end result will be only time can tell ... but one cannot get better without addressing it.


Perhaps one can compare HPPD to surviving a plane crash.  Some walk away without any problems ... but it is unlikely that they will forget the experience...



There can be other factors and nutrients.  It would be wonderful if TC fixed everything.  Given so many responding to it on this forum - so far significantly disproportionate compared to the general population - it may be we have identified at least one common factor as to why people develop HPPD (estimated at 4% of recreational drug users).  Also, reports so far are about it helping or changing but not completely resolving all problems.


So ... you are at the beginning of a journey.  Hopefully it will help brainfog and anxiety.  If nothing else, that is significant.  And correcting thiamine deficiency will prevent further deterioration from that angle.

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It is good compare with this plane crash.


I didnt wrote about that I was found product but translation of "cocarboxylase"   :P.

When I went yestarday to pharmacy and ask about active form of tiamine, received the answer:

There is only this: https://www.doz.pl/leki/p2098-Benfogamma   (I know that you dont know polish but you can translate content of this website.)

She said that there is not Thiamine pyrophosphate but there is benfotiamin from which created Thiamine pyrophosphate. Try this one?


The med named "Piracetam" can be helpfull?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Why go to psychiatrist? In my opinion they know nothing about my weird disorder. If I went to psychiatrist he probably would give me SSRI for "depression". This is not good idea.

"Symptoms similar to those of HPPD appear in a lot of mental diseases. "

OK, so when can I check list od these diseases?

I dont have schizophrenia and something similar. In schizo symptoms have continously worsen, in my case they are still same or a lit worse when I stressed. I also dont have "positive" symptoms of this disease.

In my opinion my case is very specific. My mum told me that my childbirth was very hard and after several hours I was born with convulsions and blue skin. That was propably hypoxia, infection or something, I had had a biopsy and few other tests before they brought me to her. When I was 1-3 years old I could not sleep more than 5 hours per day, when normal kids sleep a lot. Later I remember that I had had problems with anxiety in dark rooms and weird phobias like fear of lamps which used to look like monsters in my perception , fear of my vision etc,. But in days I had not too much problems, I was only a little too busy and had learing problems, espiecially in math. My state has worsen when since I was sick for mononukleosis. Before I had mild problems but they not bothered me a lot.

"Don't delude yourself into thinking that you will solve whatever is happening to your brain by randomly trying supplements and reading medical journals. "

Sorry but its only way to recover. Doctors say that I'am healthy and have neurosis... They know nothing important in my case.

My plan is to do PET scan and MRI of spine (physioterapy helping me with tennsion in neck and terapeutist advised me to do this scan because my muscle trailers in neck are still in tennsion), which probably will be with wrong results. And only then I will go to doctors. Then they will not ignore me.

I also will try tiamine but cant do this now.

So I asking again: The med named "Piracetam" can be helpfull?

Good luck to you too!


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Re Piracetam:


If you do a search, you'll see various posts here about it.  It does nothing for me.


Re Psychiatrist:


Docs started hinting it was all in the mind and 'hypochondriac' so went to psychologist and eventually it came down to: "You have a serious neurological problem.  Stop wasting your time in this town and go to Boston".  Well, didn't know who to go to in Boston and did not have insurance that covered out-of-town (in USA, much health insurance only covers a local region ... if you need outside help either get rich or rot).


What this did accomplish is establishing a medical record that it isn't 'just-in-the-mind'.  Don't know what Poland is like but this helps establish bases.  And it is also useful to learn techniques to better manage anxiety and depression


Re Hypoxia:


Interesting account.  Mom had a long, many hour delivery.  Born with water on lungs and difficulty breathing.  For 4 months would stop breathing, turn blue, and have to be revived.  Always a skinny, fidgety, shy, anxious child.  Like you, have long thought hypoxia a factor.  According to Robert Sapolsky in Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, if you want to make an anxious/neurotic rat, briefly deprive it of oxygen just after birth - it changes their brain.


Had learning problems but not with math or science.  Language is a problem and work very much to try to communicate accurate.  To this day, even though hearing tests have always shown better than average hearing, usually cannot hear or understand lyrics to songs.  Curiously, some thiamine deficient children show language problems and some movement problems.  Always a klutz.  A little ADD.  Would often stare in space in own thought and got the nickname 'Spacey'.  Teachers would be mad but then usually passed tests - 'B' student unless vocabulary or history.  Social interaction problems ... lets see, an anxious, needy, spacey, ADD, klutz with language problems - what could possible be wrong?  Add an abusive older brother to the mix just to spice life up a little.


Ironically, some of the dopamine meds I take have not only helped visual stuff, but also some lifelong problems ... actually have needed Sinemet since childhood.  Also another beneficial med but it damages heart valves and would be dead by now if started taking it as child.


The only visual thing as a child was mild CEVs.  It was fun to put light pressure on eyes and watch the shapes form and change.  Doc once told me that severely retarded children do that ... so apparently am severely retarded.  These slight CEVs gradually went away in the 20s.  If I take a lot of anticholergeics/Keppra can get some faint CEVs.


Grew up isolated and learned to make own world.  To this day, prefer to reinvent a wheel rather than use one already made.  Thrive on learning/understanding principles.  But details are random on remembering.  And words are a nightmare to learn.  Perhaps the best therapy would be to be dropped off in a country of different language and forced to learn.




Unlike most here, have never tried recreational drugs.  One advantage of being isolated ... and being spacey - don't need drugs to go off into la-la-land.  Problems started 9 years ago and official diagnosis is Toxic Encephalopathy which is broad and considered worse than HPPD.  It also does not have any standard treatment protocols.  Ironically, I probably don't belong on this site ... but since there are overlapping symptoms and treatment responses, am here.


Re Muscle tension:


This showed in late teens, got worse in 20s, much worse in 30s, horrible in 40s.  Chiroprators helped a lot.  Prolotherapy for damaged tendons helped.  But finally dopamine meds really helped.  Most recently, thiamine cocarboxylase further helps.  Anticholerginics help but each day the dose needs to be increased until memory is trashed and can't function well.


Are you neck muscle problems since the accident or have you had difficulties before that?



Since there are these similarities in our cases, perhaps:

  • Somehow get thiamine cocarboxylase - does Amazon ship there?  Think onelovez is in Poland but he hasn't confirmed what he got or how
  • See about Sinemet 25/100
  • Discuss these with doctor.  If they are rear-ends, search for useful ones
  • Go ahead and work with a shrink.  Some can be useful.  Look for one who does volunteer work on the side - that may indicate someone who cares and is not a useless cold fish.  Some of these are more willing to prescribe Sinemet and other 'unusual' things than most docs.
  • Med responses, good or bad, can help with diagnoses and, most important, begin to provide direction for what to try next.
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  • 3 weeks later...



  • Somehow get thiamine cocarboxylase - does Amazon ship there?  Think onelovez is in Poland but he hasn't confirmed what he got or how

I will have thiamine cocarboxylase and benfothiamine in the next week.



  • See about Sinemet 25/100


This is med for PD, when it help me I will scare that I have PD... :P

I have no idea how to get this med in my country, only thing that can be get from psychiatrsit in my country is SSRI, so seems that I will have problem with that.



  • Discuss these with doctor.  If they are rear-ends, search for useful ones

As I said above, there are no doctors who will not say: "You have only depression" or "its just on your mind"



  • Med responses, good or bad, can help with diagnoses and, most important, begin to provide direction for what to try next.

Maybe you have right in this statement but problem is with getting these meds.


In my opinion I have deficit of few neurotransmitters, not only one. Why? Because I have had problem with vision since childhood but my frame of mind was good, sometimes great, now I have another problems. In eye are 2 neurotransmitters : dopamine and acetylocholine. I also have symptoms of both deficit. I also looks like have GABA deficit because anxiety and restlessness. 


I have conclusion about one thing. You said that my addiction is only "habit". I do not agree with this. Habit is for example which hand you brush your teeth, when you try use second hand you will be fine and not feel bad. But addiction differs of habit in that when you try to stop you have abstynence symptoms. I cant withstand without this 2 days without new symptoms... But when I do this I feel too much better every one day. When I had tried kick this , over few days I had was depressed, had had a lot of symptoms like heavy restlessness, insomnia , obsesive thinking about this, but when I withstended more I felt excellently, I had a lot of energy, motivation, I woke up with feel of rest. In my opinion it cause imbalance of neurotransmission. 

There is a theory that agree with me in this. A lot of people get benefits when stop compulsive masturbation. 

I found a doctor's who agree with this theory website, maybe at first glance it looks strange but when you you learn about some of the content you will know it that much of this informations are not imaginary, there are also links to pubmeds researches which are based on this theory.

Here is example: 





If this theory is true we have an explantation why before I did this first time I was happy, energetic, motivated, but since then over the few years of 2-4 per day masturbations and sometimes one of them lasted even 3 hours, I have been apathetic, anxious etc.

Yust think about it seriusly and see connection. When I dont masturbate for few days I feel better, when I do it 4 times for few days, my derealization, anxiety, brain fog, and especially fatigue and tiredness are really more stronger. 

In my opinion masturbation in combination with porn is the same narcotic the same action like heroin, but maybe weaker. It also changes the same neurotransmitters in brain chemistry like increse dopamine level for a while.





Can you told me what have where your the worst symptoms? My are severe 24/7 derealization, weird dizziness, tennsion in eyes, head and neck muscles, before accident I didnt had these problems with tennsion, 24/7 brain fog, forgetfulness, anxiety, weird fatigue and somnolence and feeling like "stoned", very, very weird feeling. I dont know how to explain that... I feeling weird with same derealization but with visual, both create stoned feeling, exactly I was on LSD or something. I also have brusism that can cause symptoms like tennsion headaches and dizziness. And my favorite symptom: lucid dreams, sleep paralisis with something like hallucinations, How it works: The best hour to experience this is wake up at 3-5 am and come sleep again. It works almost always. Then I have this: I feel like I dont sleep but I'm in dream, I still in my bedroom and see reality but this reality is changed, there are strange things like moving items, people, sounds, dialogues, I hear talk like this: "-It is possible to be cow? -No, no you can not be creative like mountains". When I wake up all these changes disapear immediately. It is really strange, wierd and frightening...


 You said that some people recovered when not drug used. Anxiety and stress and masturbation make my symptoms worse. Maybe when I stop this all, I will recover, maybe not completely but  significantly. It is very hard for me to dont feel stress and anxiety when I am in school, but I will have free days in next week, so maybe I will try... About masturbation it also will be very hard but if I found occupation and rejected obsessive thinking about it, would be able to survive additional symptoms of abstinence.


And... There is one thing yet. When I had was in hospital 3 years ago, I had taken fenantyl because I had operation. After this about three months I felt like stoned, and had panic attacks and anxiety. It went away and never returned until now. So... I have taken drug but not for my wish :P.




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  • 3 years later...

I have all OP's symptoms and bunch of others from stopping antidepressants. Mine is constant and quite severe. Its been with me for 7 years. Just wanted to get it out there. Antidepressants and benzo withdrawal can cause all of this so be careful. I havent taken any psycotropic drugs or any drugs for that matter in 7 years. No booze and ive never smoked. Actually ive never taken any drugs besides a weed cookie years ago.

Edited by NoMeaning25
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My issues started when I stopped with Effexor last year quite quickly and started with Lamictal (for bipolar disorder). My issues got worse when I stopped Zopiclone cold turkey this winter.

Done a bunch of drugs a few years ago and smoked weed for several years but never experienced any issues from them. Issues started when I changed medications. But then again, psychedelics can trigger things years after they've been tried.

So personally I have no idea what actually triggered my symptoms but I have a feeling it has a lot to do with all the pharmaceuticals I've been eating for years in combination with psychedelics and weed.

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  • 3 months later...

I see you're extremely well researched, and I've been doing a lot of that too.

For me, it all points to dopamine D2 receptors.

I'd love some help looking into the effects of dexamethasone :)
Someone here said it worked for him, and the method of action clearly adds up for me

Same with amisulpride

amisulpride seems to be good for symptoms, but dexamethasone  could even be a long term solution

Edited by yosoydiego
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