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Observations about the nature of trails and afterimages (palinopsia)


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 I'm gonna relay my own experience with trails and afterimages, and some things I've realized about it which I think could possibly be a lead to some treatment. Of course this is completely personal and probably won't apply exactly to other people, but it might have something valuable.

So first of all, I developed palinopsia before I used any drugs. It was not very strong though. It didn't bother me too much. Then I started smoking weed and it became significantly worse. It happened particularly from two heavy smoking sessions, getting worse on each one. It became very depressing and difficult to manage.

A few years after that, I tried Gabapentin, though I didn't take it therapeutically. As other people have reported is an effect of the drug, the palinopsia got worse. However, it returned to baseline after the drug left my system. Just recently I took a large amount of DXM in order to cope with an opiate withdrawal. The palinopsia got permanently worse again.

Since then, I tried Gabapentin again, and once again the palinopsia got worse, but it returned to baseline after I stopped taking the drug. However, this time the trails I saw on Gabapentin were worse than the previous times I had taken it, before the DXM, so basically Gabapentin makes the trails worse in comparison to your baseline, whatever that is. If I never had any trails to begin with, it would probably result in an effect similar to what I see anyway.

So I have a couple of things to takeaway about this:

1. Some drugs induce a long-term effect of worsening my afterimages, as if the brain, after experiencing the effect on some drug, comes to think of it as normal, and doesn't return back to my previous vision. However, some drugs don't do that, namely Gabapentin. There's something about certain drugs such as weed and DXM, which makes the brain retain the visual phenomenon and not go back to normal, while Gabapentin induces the trails differently, in a way that doesn't foo the brain in that way.

2. My brain seems to really think that this vision is normal, because even after taking another drug that would induce palinopsia, it makes the symptoms worse, rather than just leaving it at baseline.

3. If I could understand the mechanism by which drugs like weed and DXM affect my vision in a way that makes it not go away, vs. the way that Gabapentin affects the brain, I could determine a couple of things. One would be which drugs would be safe to take and which would be harmful, and two would be that I could possibly find a drug which affects the brain oppositely, reducing the afterimages. Also, if I could understand the mechanism by which the effect stays with persistence, I could possibly find a drug that has that same mechanism, but in reverse.

4. My palinopsia isn't just some sort of illusion which is induced by my own neurochemistry alone, it's the result of a very specific effect on the brain, which certain drugs apply in the exact right way to make the brain think that this new perception of vision is normal, and to make it the baseline.

So hopefully that's interesting to someone. I don't know how I would go about pursuing any further research into this, but maybe it will help someone else. I'd be curious to know how much other peoples' experiences line up with this.

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