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Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Support Forum
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John

Do I have a mild form of HPPD? I'm scared shitless

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I've only tripped on acid 3 times but I smoked weed constantly for 2.5 years. My first trip I took way too much (600ug) and had the worst experiences of my life alone in my room. This should have dissuaded me from further trips but apparently I don't learn until it's too late. 2 weeks later I had a much smaller dose and for the most part I enjoyed the trip. The last time I did it was 6 weeks later (about 12 days ago) with an even smaller dose and I felt fine after coming down. But after about a week I was hitting tokes and looked up to notice the uncanny effects of an acid trip. No visual snow, I never got that while tripping anyway, but my depth perception was off - straight lines didn't look completely straight - and my world was spinning slightly. There weren't any enhanced colours or anything else, no fractals, no auras, but I convinced myself it felt like acid. This freaked me out more than I can ever put into words as I had sworn never to do acid again after my last trip as I felt sure it wasn't for me and the experience of tripping really scared the living hell out of me. The only thing was, the night before I had read about auras caused by hppd and had extreme anxiety because I had developed an astigmatism in my right eye and I thought it was due to acid. Until I realized I had texted my mom about my vision problems a week before ever dropping. I was sobbing inconsolabley on the floor until I realized this. I'm a bit of a hypochondriac so I wasn't sure if the initial effects of weed had caused a full on anxiety attack when my vision naturally distorted slightly as a result of being super high and my extreme anxiety the night before. The next day at work I felt dizzy and my vision still felt off, despite my being completely sober. On my break I hit some tokes to try to calm down but they did not help as I still felt off. In fact, for the first time in years, weed made my anxiety worse. This made me almost puke - I was shaking and could barely function I was so scared of developing hppd. My anxiety didn't subside the entire day and night and I remained hypervigilant to any visual disturbance. I couldn't fall asleep because I kept staring at my wall, focusing intently, and I would notice it would move slightly if I stared for long enough. I then googled it and apparently this occurs for everyone - my friend (whose only psychadelic experience is a couple months of weed) also confirmed the wall bubbled when she stared at it for long enough. My depth perception was also still off - or so I was telling myself. I ended up falling asleep talking to my friend on the phone as I could not calm myself down. I didn't eat more than a couple bites of anything for days because my anxiety made anything I ate feel like it would come up a second later. The next day I worked 8 hours through near-constant panic and had to I sleep at my friend's house as a result. That was also the night I quit all drugs (minus caffeine), alcohol, and even cigarettes. I didn't think it was possible for me to do this but my fear of hppd seemed to overpower every addiction I've ever had. I'm willing to do anything to ensure I don't develop it. It's been 4 days since I quit, but I've felt sick and dizzy since then. I still sometimes feel like I'm tripping while completely sober but it's normally momentary - like the angle of my phone will seem weird or text won't seem quite right - but I have no way of distinguishing between what is normal and what isn't. I don't know whether I have a stomach bug (I have diarrhea, am extremely woozy, and my head feels cloudy), whether I'm still going through some sort of withdrawal, or whether I have a mild form of hppd and I am in a state of denial. My questions are:

1. For those of you with HPPD, is it obvious that you have it? Or do you have long periods where you could believe you were 100% clear?
2. Has anyone ever been in my hypochondriac position of believing every visual abnormality they've ever had is a result of an acid trip? Or am I just in denial?
3. If I stay sober, will it go away? What if it was never here in the first place and I spend the rest of my life freaking out over visual disturbances I've always had?
4. Do you ever experience dizziness/wooziness? My head feels like it's spinning like it would if I didn't eat for days (which I haven't, really) so I want to confirm that this isn't an hppd symptom.

I'm really just looking for someone to calm me down. I don't have any friends who have experienced this so I need to look elsewhere for assurances. I'm a 20 year old male and I've never experienced anything close to the anxiety brought about by my continual self-diagonsis and denial 5 minutes later. I had to leave work for a couple hours to go throw up. The fact that I may also be sick from something doesn't help my extreme hypochondria. More than anything, I just want to know whether I have it or not. My constant self doubt and recurring panic are extremely hard to handle.

Thank you in advance.

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You've had a clear warning sign, I wouldn't say you have mild hppd, but you certainly have all the precursors to suggest any more dabbling with drugs could trigger something. 12 days is too soon to know anything, so stay totally sober and see what happens. There is every chance you will recover, but take notice of what your brain is telling you.

Also be aware that your vision was never perfect, but you were never actively looking for issues... The more you focus on hppd, the more you will see the eye's natural flaws and panic yourself... My advice, try to forget about hppd, distract yourself... get out in the world and do things that you enjoy that don't require drugs/alcohol. 

If, in a month or so of sobriety, you still feel there are lingering problems... Then start doing more serious research on the topic.

All the best, Jay

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You're clearly mentally intact and you recognize there might be an issue.  Be thankful that you discovered this early on.  Also, you dosed quite recently.  Even after a chemical like LSD wears off, there can be residual effects that aren't necessarily permanent.  Try not to dwell on your fear because fear can cause stress and stress can make everything feel worse.  As Jay said, stay clean and that included cannabis.  Give yourself some time and be patient. 

Hang in there.

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