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Caffeine, what gives?! (and other things)


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So, generally my visual symptoms aren't that bad, unless I am tired or in oddly-lighted situations (more below)...

But I just had a cup of coffee, and damn, the dots on my wall are pulsing and other patterns in my perception too.

What's up with that? D'ya reckon a cup of coffee now and again could effect recovery in the long run? (Surely, hopefully not!)

Anyway, other than my visuals, everything seems to be going fine.. it's been 8 weeks since I had a drop of alcohol and longer since other substances.

Oh yeah-another thing- when you're somewhere with low/ambient/clubby lighting do you just get the maddest visuals? Someone's teeth started strobing at me the other day, and another's mildly bad skin made them look like a crazy zombie... everything goes completely bonkers in those situations, I get visuals like I'm tripping balls.. but luckily I don't seem to get any of these [anxious/panic] 'feelings' with them that other people get.. strange..

I can't tell if I have any of these other symptoms.. if I had them, moderately/averagely (not mildly, which I am sure I probably do), would I somewhat know for sure? Like when you get these anxious feelings/panic attacks, from your descriptions it sounds like they are pretty damn obvious. I don't have any incidents where these are obviously coming into play.. At most, I would say perhaps hppd has affected these areas, but not so much that I can say it is hppd causing it for sure. Some things I think, 'maybe that's just a part of my personality-how I act and feel in social situations'-not attributable and linked to my psychedelic use/these weird visuals I get. But then sometimes I think, well they must be.

It's hard to tell for me because I got HPPD at the same time as many social changes around me (joining uni etc.) - so it's hard to tell whether this is just me finding my feet or due to psychedelic use. I can't really remember what my personality was like before psychedelic use.. not as weird, for sure, but I can't tell how much substances are responsible for this or just my general interest in the weirder aspects of life, and indeed, embracing that kind of culture..

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My personal view is that most of our visual symptoms are based around seeing white blood cells (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_field_entoptic_phenomenon)

Drinking coffee speeds up blood flow and would therefore make the flashing of the blood cells faster and more pronounced. Pure speculation, but there is logic to it... My visual spike massively when I excerise too, same principle.

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Interesting, I'm not sure I agree though. Correct me if I have missed something, but with this 'blue field entoptic' phenomenon, the white blood cells are an actual object (by this, I mean something distinct from hallucinatory/false objects, as contrasted to 'actual' objects if you like) of your perception, whereas my understanding of what's going on with HPPD is that we are perceiving false, hallucinatory objects, caused by a psychedelic disorder, not a visual one. In other words, I would say that with the 'blue field entoptic' phenomenon, something is being perceived that the eye can see (light traveling into our eyes), whereas the visual symptoms of HPPD don't seem to be caused by something external such as the capillaries in our eye (this sounds weird, because the capillaries of our eye seem internal, but by external I mean 'not in the brain'). So, I don't think HPPD is caused by a fault of our eyes. It's a fault of how our brain processes the contents of what the eyes transmit to it, related to psychedelic use. Not to mention, would this phenomenon explain closed eye visuals (is it possible to experience the phenomenon with your eyes closed)?

Hope I explained myself well.

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a lot of visual disturbences reported by HPPDer are normal ways of perception.

e.g. Bluefield entoptic phenomenom, Afterimages, Halos, CEVs, Visual snow even trails could be seen by people without HPPD. do you know these fire jugglers?

but maybe we see it to a higher degree or without focussing on it.

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It is open to interpretation, but I´m 99.99% sure that what we see is mostly natural, we just "damaged" the filter that usually dismisses that visual info. The fact that so many people see this sort of stuff, without ever taking any drugs, suggests it is natural.

I even think most visuals while on the drugs are natural, but a completly unfiltered view.

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But I just had a cup of coffee, and damn, the dots on my wall are pulsing and other patterns in my perception too.

What's up with that? D'ya reckon a cup of coffee now and again could effect recovery in the long run? (Surely, hopefully not!)

have a look at the pharmacology of caffein:

Inside the body caffeine acts through several mechanisms, but its most important effect is to counteract a substance called adenosine that naturally circulates at high levels throughout the body, and especially in the nervous system. In the brain, adenosine plays a generally protective role, part of which is to reduce neural activity levels

now have a look at the function of adenosine:

Inside the body caffeine acts through several mechanisms, but its most important effect is to counteract a substance called adenosine that naturally circulates at high levels throughout the body, and especially in the nervous system. In the brain, adenosine plays a generally protective role, part of which is to reduce neural activity levels

further:

Brain adenosine levels are increased by various types of metabolic stress, including lack of oxygen and interruption of blood flow. There is evidence that adenosine functions as a synaptically released neurotransmitter in some parts of the brain

but now the most important part i think:

Several classes of adenosine receptors have been described, with different anatomical distributions. A1 receptors are widely distributed, and act to inhibit calcium uptake. A2A receptors are heavily concentrated in the basal ganglia, an area that plays a critical role in behavior control, but can be found in other parts of the brain as well, in lower densities. There is evidence that A 2A receptors interact with the dopamine system, which is involved in reward and arousal. (A2A receptors can also be found on arterial walls and blood cell membranes.

There is evidence that A 2A receptors interact with the dopamine system, which is involved in reward and arousal.

As we see in case reports of HPPDer that dopamine agonists help to decrease visuals and other comorbid disseases of HPPD.

Caffeine should increase Dopamine in your brain but in another way as dopamine agonists do.

so i cant explain why caffeine increases your visuals but maybe its because of the anxiety and restlessles caffeine could bring.

my visuals wont get worse or better when i drink caffeine but i got restless which sometimes make my visuals more present.

Caffeine Provokes Anxiety, Insomnia, and Panic Attacks

Caffeine holds a special danger for anxiety sufferers, and particularly for people with panic disorder.

Studies on caffeine and anxiety sufferers have shown that caffeine can:

-- Increase anxiety in anxiety sufferers.

-- Cause insomnia (lack of sleep can promote panic attacks in people that are susceptible to panic attacks).

-- Provoke panic attacks in people that have panic disorder.

But i think that caffeine has no negative effect for your recovery but if you notice that you dont tolerate it anymore i would cut it out so that your brain dont unnecessary get stressed.

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@ Jay

do all your visuals spike wen you excerise?

my Afterimages and Trails get worse for the first hour after workout but dont spike while exercising.

I always thought because of the neurotransmitter which are produced through sports dont know but maybe it is really a blod flow thing like you mentioned?! Because the muscles needs blood and there is less blood in the brain. you can notice it when you train tall musclegroups like the back or the legs, sometimes you got some kind of dizziness.

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Yes, I get a spike after the workout or sports.... But not during, if anything, I see less visuals..... I always put this down to focusing on the task (especially football or surfing) but maybe you are right.

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My visuals are less noticiable after sport, i dont know why, maybe its something about the blood in the brain.

Jay you're absolutely right about the white cells, my doctor told me that when i check my eyes the first time. It's a natural process of the eye, and that is visual snow. Sadly, our brain -not our eyes- is confused about how works properly.

And...i dont really understand why the caffeine increase dopamine and my white cells/vs became worse and levodopa make the opposite for some people. Very good post nepuinthesky.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Gill

Any sort of stimulant seems to aggravate my hppd. I'm kind of so used to caffeine though it's not a big deal. Optimal to avoid of course, but it's ridiculously addictive, for me anyway.

As far as the question of how much is substance related, and how much is just your personality....Well, of course it's a little of both, no one can know how much, but it's really not very important to think about much because doing so can lead to an obsessive thought over it since there's no exact answer; and , course, obsessing won't help the situation.

Take care

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  • 1 month later...

Besides taking action on adenosine activity in the brain, caffeine binds to beta adrenergic receptors on the heart by mimicking norepinephrine, though epinephrine binds to these receptors as well. If we then take into consideration that anxiety, stress and amphetamine comedown increase HPPD symptoms, we could reach the hypothesis that HPPD is somehow related to the function of adrenaline. Since amphetamine increases norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, the body compensates the blood pressure by lowering the level of adrenaline in the bloodstream, decreasing the symptoms during the high, then causing the opposite effect during comedown. Also, my symptoms first arrived when I was being treated with Fluoxetine which has been observed to change the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in rats. This makes it seem that the function of adrenaline has changed to be causing the symptoms of HPPD.

Can anyone detect any flaws in this hypothesis?

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Well, if there is something with the eyes that we perceive in a more extensive way, it would definitely show up on my multifocal ERG that i did a week ago. Basically a contact lense with electrodes measuring the function/activity is placed on the retina. It measures how responsive the retina is to light. I did a VEP as well that is the part of the QEEG that shows the delayed signal in HPPD subjects. My doc believed that the mfERG would show more then the VEP. If there is a significant abnormal result in the mfERG it would probably give credit to Jay's case.

I do however wonder what the 'swirl' thing is that i see without meds. Its constant, and always moving around on surfaces. I remember getting this effect pre-HPPD when staring at a pinwheel and i got that effect for like 10-15 seconds. I have hard to see this as something 'external' but really as some mindtrick. I agree that most symptoms probably are signals that are there in every person but amped, however the pseudo-hallucinations are more tricky.

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Drinking coffee speeds up blood flow

Since coffee is a vasoconstrictor (shrinks blood vessels, used for migraine treatment) this would seem unlikely. But caffine increases adrenaline which is a 'stress response' (energy) hormone.

As mentioned above, here is something curious - coffee affects dopamine "[coffee] injects adrenaline into the system to give you a boost. And it manipulates dopamine production to make you feel good" http://science.howst...m/caffeine5.htm

FWIW, although I am highly sensitive to changes in dopamine, coffee has no discernable effect on me - no changes in visuals or anxiety. I can even chug a triple espresso then take a nap. Excercise does help anxiety, but no effect on visuals.

My visuals are less noticiable after sport

Exercising does produce adrenaline, but it burns even more.

Note: Our symptoms show that the brain is having a lot of work to 'put-it-all-together'. As a consequence, it is far more sensitive to changes in enviornment (less adaptive) such as changes in lighting, activity, or foods.

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Fueling the symptoms yes but i do not think we'll find the cause in that hypothesis

You forgot to switch present tense, this is an oxymoronic statement. You're stating that epinephrine is fueling/causing symptoms yet you do not think they're causing symptoms.

If we switch to past tense; I never said the symptoms were caused by epinephrine. I was stating that maybe the function of epinephrine has somehow changed.

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