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Do I have HPPD or something else?


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So basically I've been using pot daily since I was 16/5 (19 now) and experimented with other drugs, LSD (probably 3 times), DMT (3 times, never broke through), E & "pure" mdma (5-6) times. When I was about 17, I took 2 acid tabs, and had a really bad trip, a huge panic attack and was left with really bad anxiety which lingered for along time, I stopped all other drugs and didn't touch anything, except prescribed medications and pot which I continued smoking heavily daily, I was prescribed Lexapro for the anxiety and used it for around 6 months, still smoked pot daily, It helped somewhat with my depression which i had been dealing with for an extended period of time as I had a fairly traumatic life between 13-17yro. I had taken prozac at 14 & ADHD meds (ritalin,concerta around the same time for no longer than a month). Anyways I continued to smoke pot and take my lexapro and was alright but I always had underlying anxiety, especially health anxiety. I decided to stop all medication at the end of 2017 and was clean from everything (except the daily pot smoking) and my depression was gone but I still had underlying anxieties although they weren't that bad, my health anxiety started to increase and around July this year I was experience what I thought was lung/chest pains due to smoking so I decided to stop my daily smoking habit of 2 years+ all together. So up until this point I'd been clean of any drugs except pot for over a year (since the bad LSD trip). Anyways I stopped smoking and my anxiety went through the roof completely I thought there was so many things wrong with me and I started noticing visual disturbances. An abundance of black floaters, ghosting when I look at street signs, especially at night, dark green/purple patches in vision sometimes, afterimages, especially when I close my eyes, and some other weird visual perceptions & I sometimes feel like im on a rocky boat in the water when I lay down / feel very off balance as well as some weird tingling over my face/scalp. I do get lost in my own thoughts a lot and they're usually pretty negative or me over analyzing my own health and the visual stuff, but I haven't had any "out of body" DR/DP, but then again could be the ADHD making me zone out. So I'm just curious to know is this HPPD? what should I do about it, its making my anxiety increase 10 fold and I feel like im going crazy sometimes, but I also am confused as to why it has only appeared 2 something years later after I;ve gone fully sober off everything (including the pot), and why I didn't notice or have these symptoms whilst I was on it. I don't wanna trick myself into thinking I have it if I really don't. (I haven't had MRI or any eye test's done as yet to rule out brain / ocular related issues)

p.s sorry new to forums if this is in wrong place

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All the symptoms you mention, besides the afterimages, aren't related to the HPPD symptoms i experience at all. I have however experienced close to what you're describing when my anxiety was through the roof, actually got a heart attack from my high pulse due to the anxiety at that point.

There is one very important thing to note about this, eventhough you might not have HPPD, the afterimages might be a sign of onset to HPPD, though I highly doubt it as it was that long of a time ago that you used. Nevertheless, if this is a sign of HPPD onset, anxiety is what can be the ignitor, so to speak. 

So try to avoid anxiety if at all possible, do physical activities / fun things that keeps your mind off things. I also realise that telling you that anxiety can bring on HPPD might not be the right thing to hear, to avoid anxiety. But it should help your anxiety somewhat when you realise that your symptoms aren't exactly the norm for HPPD

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1 hour ago, Bottleofwater said:

All the symptoms you mention, besides the afterimages, aren't related to the HPPD symptoms i experience at all. I have however experienced close to what you're describing when my anxiety was through the roof, actually got a heart attack from my high pulse due to the anxiety at that point.

There is one very important thing to note about this, eventhough you might not have HPPD, the afterimages might be a sign of onset to HPPD, though I highly doubt it as it was that long of a time ago that you used. Nevertheless, if this is a sign of HPPD onset, anxiety is what can be the ignitor, so to speak. 

So try to avoid anxiety if at all possible, do physical activities / fun things that keeps your mind off things. I also realise that telling you that anxiety can bring on HPPD might not be the right thing to hear, to avoid anxiety. But it should help your anxiety somewhat when you realise that your symptoms aren't exactly the norm for HPPD

Thanks man. I'd done a fair amount of research and thought these were pretty common symptoms for HPPD? But saying that it doesn't sound as drastic as some peoples and my psyc use wasn't as much as others, more the cannabis. Also forgot to mention I do get visual snow.

Edited by curiouscheese86
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10 hours ago, curiouscheese86 said:

Thanks man. I'd done a fair amount of research and thought these were pretty common symptoms for HPPD? But saying that it doesn't sound as drastic as some peoples and my psyc use wasn't as much as others, more the cannabis. Also forgot to mention I do get visual snow.

Oh okay, things are starting to make a little more sense here, also I apologize for not reading the part about the anxiety when qutting weed properly, sort of skimmed through that part. Having extreme general anxiety / anxiety attacks can definitely bring out the HPPD in most individuals, assuming they've had tiny indications/or not noticable at all for a very long time after psychedelic use. I gotta ask, about the Visual Snow, did you experience visual snow prior to this or is it included in your recent visual onset of things? 

 

My story is sort of similar, but not really, I had started to notice extremely mild HPPD symptoms when it first started, really small things like not being sure if my negative after-images on those optical illusions stayed longer in my vision or if I was able to get the illusions quicker than most people. So we're talking really tiny things here, but you'll see the reason for this stupid rant very shortly. 

 

The only reason I was looking for these kinds of things was because I had "imagined" the texture-pattern on my bathroom wall was moving slightly, wasn't evident at all.

 

So this is where it all boils down to: When I noticed I had these minor symptoms of HPPD, I started smoking cannabis a lot, on a daily basis (Was VERY uneducated about HPPD at the time) And the visual things seemed to go away, mostly because I was in such an early stage of my HPPD, I thought everything was fine at this point so I quit smoking cannabis, 1-2 days later... BAM! The anxiety of the cannabis "withdrawal", and probably the cannabis use to begin with, left me with full blown HPPD.

So really what I'm trying to get at is, it seems as though your onset is caused by extreme bouts of anxiety, but you are in such an early stage, that if you don't touch any stimulants at all, I would even suggest not touching benzodiazepines (Some long-term HPPD'ers use to ease the visuals) You have a very high chance at this point in time for it to go away, but only if you somehow are able to keep your anxiety on the low. If I've learned anything from personal experience, sure coffee, alcohol & various other substances do contribute to the onset of HPPD, and making HPPD worse if you have it is true. But through my years of experience dealing with HPPD the number 1 cause & reason for it getting worse is the damned anxiety. I would highly suggest you give it 2-3 weeks, to see if you can on your own, without medication manage your anxiety, which will be very hard but it's probably the best way out. If you cannot control your anxiety, and you might start noticing the HPPD getting worse, OCCATIONAL, and very low dosage usage of benzodiazepines like clonazepam that have a long half-life will be able to maintain your anxiety so that you don't make it any worse, besides it'll actually reduce your visuals while on it. But PLEASE try the sober way first, it's the way most people get rid of HPPD on the early onset weeks. As for how you should properly manage anxiety, I guess accepting it and constantly do things to sitting for hours and thinking about it will help. 

 

Also if you still have some of that prozac, some people on this forum has reported it helping them with their HPPD. One more Thing. I know I might seem like an eratic keyboard-ridden warrior with my long, and sometimes poorly put-together replies. But if you ever need any help or advice personally feel free to DM 

 

Take care now and enjoy life 

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12 hours ago, Bottleofwater said:

Oh okay, things are starting to make a little more sense here, also I apologize for not reading the part about the anxiety when qutting weed properly, sort of skimmed through that part. Having extreme general anxiety / anxiety attacks can definitely bring out the HPPD in most individuals, assuming they've had tiny indications/or not noticable at all for a very long time after psychedelic use. I gotta ask, about the Visual Snow, did you experience visual snow prior to this or is it included in your recent visual onset of things? 

 

My story is sort of similar, but not really, I had started to notice extremely mild HPPD symptoms when it first started, really small things like not being sure if my negative after-images on those optical illusions stayed longer in my vision or if I was able to get the illusions quicker than most people. So we're talking really tiny things here, but you'll see the reason for this stupid rant very shortly. 

 

The only reason I was looking for these kinds of things was because I had "imagined" the texture-pattern on my bathroom wall was moving slightly, wasn't evident at all.

 

So this is where it all boils down to: When I noticed I had these minor symptoms of HPPD, I started smoking cannabis a lot, on a daily basis (Was VERY uneducated about HPPD at the time) And the visual things seemed to go away, mostly because I was in such an early stage of my HPPD, I thought everything was fine at this point so I quit smoking cannabis, 1-2 days later... BAM! The anxiety of the cannabis "withdrawal", and probably the cannabis use to begin with, left me with full blown HPPD.

So really what I'm trying to get at is, it seems as though your onset is caused by extreme bouts of anxiety, but you are in such an early stage, that if you don't touch any stimulants at all, I would even suggest not touching benzodiazepines (Some long-term HPPD'ers use to ease the visuals) You have a very high chance at this point in time for it to go away, but only if you somehow are able to keep your anxiety on the low. If I've learned anything from personal experience, sure coffee, alcohol & various other substances do contribute to the onset of HPPD, and making HPPD worse if you have it is true. But through my years of experience dealing with HPPD the number 1 cause & reason for it getting worse is the damned anxiety. I would highly suggest you give it 2-3 weeks, to see if you can on your own, without medication manage your anxiety, which will be very hard but it's probably the best way out. If you cannot control your anxiety, and you might start noticing the HPPD getting worse, OCCATIONAL, and very low dosage usage of benzodiazepines like clonazepam that have a long half-life will be able to maintain your anxiety so that you don't make it any worse, besides it'll actually reduce your visuals while on it. But PLEASE try the sober way first, it's the way most people get rid of HPPD on the early onset weeks. As for how you should properly manage anxiety, I guess accepting it and constantly do things to sitting for hours and thinking about it will help. 

 

Also if you still have some of that prozac, some people on this forum has reported it helping them with their HPPD. One more Thing. I know I might seem like an eratic keyboard-ridden warrior with my long, and sometimes poorly put-together replies. But if you ever need any help or advice personally feel free to DM 

 

Take care now and enjoy life 

I've been sober off any medication for ANYTHING since Jan this year, I have been doing the sober route since I noticed the onset of these visual symptoms, and been sober from any other substances at all since July when I quit Cannabis and I plan to continue so I suppose that is good. I've also recently seen a new doctor and I present my symptoms without the context of drug use, hppd or any psychiatric pathways and in turn he is approaching it as a physical illness which is good since I haven't cleared it from being these yet. I'm booked in for CT & MRI and Eye specialist test over the coming weeks, although I expect them to be normal. And yes I assume I only got the visual snow (or at least notices it) when I had had these other symptoms. I have bad health anxiety but finding HPPD sort of relieved the "health" anxiety in a way but brought about the anxiety that makes you feel like you're going mad. But I'm managing both quite well at the moment. So I hope to find answers first and then work on a solution. I'd say my chances are pretty good of recovering so I'm staying positive and staying sober from everything.

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