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Major flare up, what HPPD is, how to heal


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Hey all, 

Been a few years since I've been here and that's honestly that's a good thing. HPPD hasn't been a major part of my life for about four years now, at which time I've gone back to school, had several life changing relationships, traveled and in general experienced life in a way I never thought possible. I truly felt like I had left HPPD behind for good and finally moved on with my life... until this past New Years Eve. 

After I got HPPD in 2015 I was stone-cold sober for about five years. Then in the last few years as my HPPD become what I thought was totally healed I started to drink a bit here and there, smoke a little and even do small amounts of mushrooms. I actually had mostly great experienced with all but on New Years I did way too many mushrooms than I should have and lo and behold I woke up a few days later with pretty severe HPPD symptoms again. 

Needless to say I was absolutely devastated. I thought I'd have to drop out of school, I was afraid of talking with my friends, not to mention completely ashamed and terrified of what was going to happen next. As everyone with this condition knows, there's no guarantee for recovery and in many ways this is something we all will struggle with for the rest of our lives in some capacity. 

The good thing about this most recent flare up is that for the last seven and a half years since getting HPPD I've completely changed my life and become an amateur nutritionist, nearly licensed healthcare worker and an absolute expert in my own body and symptomatology. So this time around as soon as I realized I was in a very bad place I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to turn my life around. The reason I am writing this right now is to share what has worked for me to hopefully help those out there who are also struggling with this condition so that they may also heal and recover and go on to live life even if that means HPPD is always a part of it. 

Here is what has worked for my in my recovery and what I know about HPPD: 

HPPD is a brain disease. It is very important to keep this in mind. The symptomatology that defines HPPD also occurs in people who have never done a single drug in their entire lives. The common theme however is that most people with HPPD symptoms also have other comorbid mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, attachment disruptions, schizophrenia, etc. What this means is that HPPD is a neurological disease state and that similar to other mental illnesses there are lifestyle choices you can make that will help and conversely lifestyle choices that will only worsen the condition. As we all know, this is such an ugly disease that worsening often leads to suicidal ideation and even completion, which is why it is so important to fully grasp that similar to other neuro-cognitive diseases like Alzheimers or dementia the stakes are high and the only way you're going to reverse it is through discipline, hard work, dedication, and knowing how to live a healthy and robust lifestyle that enhances mitochondrial functioning, reduces inflammation and induces positive hormetic stress on the body that boosts BDNF as well as autophagy in order to repair damaged cells and clean up the damage done by drug use and overstimulation of the brain, which is essentially what results in HPPD. 

I've made many posts on diet and lifestyle and I encourage people to read them since I now have a proven track record of recovering from severe HPPD. If you're eating a pro-inflammatory diet, not exercising and continuing to do drugs then you're making the choice to continue to possess HPPD and not improve. Again, similar to other neurological diseases you are not going to simply be able to take a pill and magically have the most complex organ in the known universe (your brain) suddenly rid itself of underlying systematic damage that's the result of lifestyle choices. The only way you're going to be able to do it is by taking control of your own life. 

That said, the most important information I can post with regards to this condition and healing straight away is this: stop eating carbs, switch to an animal based diet (carnivore or keto) and start fasting. It is important to keep in mind that these dietary changes are incredibly difficult for most people on the Standard American Diet (or whatever diet is most prominent in your country since most industrialized cultures do not eat healthy these days) and so you need to titrate before suddenly switching over. So please do take your time initially. I would honestly recommend at least a full week to 10 days of steadily cutting down on carbs before going full carnivore or keto. Additionally, I'd highly recommend trying to eliminate anything processed and even cutting back on things like nuts and seeds as well. Healing HPPD is all about re-balancing the glutamate-GABA relationship in the brain and because there's often high levels of inflammation in the brains of those who recently get HPPD you're going to have incredible sensitivity to this ration and anything that stimulates glutamate which is an entire laundry list of everyday food items that are a staple of our diets. 

If anyone wants to know the source of where this is all coming from, there's been a long history of the keto diet as it relates to epilepsy (which has a major overlap in HPPD and other mental health conditions -- this is why benzos are so beloved in this community) and now Chris Palmer out of Harvard is even proposing that most all brain diseases are actually metabolic disorders. I highly recommend reading his new book if you want to understand any of this in further detail. 

The bottom line is, after having this condition for well over seven years I've run every last experiment there is on myself to see what works and what doesn't and if I only had this info when I first got HPPD I cannot imagine how much suffering I would have been able to avoid and so I'm hoping that by sharing this with everyone here there are people who could benefit from this in some way. Keep in mind, I am not saying that by doing this you will be "cured" (we have to do away with this word in this community) or that it will suddenly resolve all your HPPD symptoms. In my experience it takes a really really long time to fully dampen down an inflamed brain and often times lowgrade inflammation will hover around for months or even years in the form of mild HPPD symptoms like visual snow. What I am saying however, is that by giving these diets a try you drastically increase your odds of improving not only your symptoms but your whole life altogether as these lifestyle choices have massive effects on overall wellbeing and happiness in general. 

It is also important to keep in mind that you should be doing your own homework and trusting your own body throughout this process. Again, these diets are rigorous and difficult and they are not -- I repeat, NOT -- meant to be implemented for years on end. These should be utilized as tools to rest the brain and mitochondrial functioning so as to diminish inflammation and symptoms, but once back to baseline it is important to re-incorporate healthy carbs given longterm low-carb diets can actually worsen health and wellbeing overall. 

Please, please, please do your own research and become the physician of your own body. That is the best advice I feel like I can give at this point. Mainstream medicine and trans-national pharmaceutical conglomerates are not your friends and not going to save you from this condition. I cannot emphasize enough how waiting for them to save us is not the way forward. Do your own homework, know your body and mind, listen to what your body needs, eat healthy, exercise, sauna, fast, sleep well, get outside in nature, go to therapy, have lots of friends, do cold plunges, run, make love, and I promise that will be better medicine than anything you can get from a doctor's office. 

 Again, I cannot guarantee this will work for everyone since we are all different, but it worked for me once, it's working for me again right now, and I know that it will probably work for me again in the future at some point. Hopefully this helps at least another soul out there and if so then that's a win in my book. 

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