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Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Support Forum
Tyler

Need advice for a newcomer please!

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Hi there my name is Tyler. I’m 19 from Australia and have recently developed HPPD. I have done some deep reading on here and on other webpages and have been overwhelmed by the feeing of uncertainty and just how different people’s experience with this condition vary. So with that I am seeking advice on how to deal with and adjust to living with symptoms. I will start with saying I have used marijuana on and off for the last year, have had LSD once in January and once in February this year and tried what I believed was MDMA three times spread between May and June. The last time I had MDMA I smoked marijuana at the end of the night and had a traumatic experience having to care for a friend who had a panic attack while on the same intake. Two nights after I smoked again by myself and this is where the visuals first presented themselves (very intense acid like) which I dismissed as just a bad trip and got too high. I didn’t touch any drugs what so ever since, 4 weeks later I woke up with the trails in my vision and panic set in not knowing what was wrong. Two weeks in things got a lot worse including VS, floaters, depersonalisation, depression, anxiety, and continued to get worse under stress including halos, flickering in my vision feeing like things were moving around me, brain fog. And I’m constantly worried that I am going to lose my mind as my symptoms have been worsening. I am seeing a psychologist and have seen a psychiatrist who has prescribed me mirtazapine to target anxiety and depression. 

What I would like to know from you guys: is it normal that my visuals began 4 weeks after I touched any psychoactive substances, is there any rhyme or reason as to why my symptoms have been getting worse? Is mirtazapine an appropriate medication or can it make my visuals worse? I have been on it for three nights now and adjusting has made me feel like things seem to shake in my vision a little and things seem to flash across my vision and longer tracers. Finally I would like to say that I have been Keeping active going to the gym and runs, eating healthy, vitamin B supplements and teas, no caffeine :( and no alcohol while I adjust to this. I am now three weeks into having HPPD and would love to receive some support to know that I’m not alone and to hear that things will get better (whether that’s recovery or just getting use to things). 

- Tyler :) 

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Hi Tyler! First, I only have mild HPPD for some weeks so I'm not the most expierienced guy, but I've read a lot studies during past weeks. It can totally happen that symptoms occur later (was also in my case). I've read positive and negative reports on Mirtapazine. I think basically it's russian roulette - to be honest, I wouldn't take it if I were you. The most effective med against DPDR / anxiety and may also visuals is Clonazepam, but its highly addictive. But if you take it for some days you may have some time to calm down and process whats happening with you. From all of what I've read, I guess Clonazepam and other Benzos probably mostly do not have so much influence on how the disease evolves - they just help to cope with / supress the symptoms.

My psychiatrist has some expierience with HPPD patients and also did publications about HPPD - he said in most cases all symptoms fade away within 12 months if people are taking care of themselves. That also matches what some people here are saying. Also, he said, emotional symptoms improve often quite fast after some weeks. 2 weeks are not much, it's very likely that it gets better soon. I've read some posts here claiming that its not uncommon for symptoms to get worse first while getting better later on. Anyhow, there is no guarantee, this is also what makes it very hard for me. Anyhow, as you see here in the board, nobody died and its possible to live with it.

What helps me a lot currently is meditation and stress reduction. I wish you all the best, hopefully it gets better soon on your case.

Edited by AlphaBeta
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Hi Tyler and welcome to our little community.  First I know it can be daunting to try and come to terms with this condition; it is scary stuff and can be very debilitating.  With that said a healthy fear is probably a good thing to keep us from making the same mistakes.  It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and are aware of the best actions you can take i.e. exercise, sleep, eating healthy... Definitely keep that up.  Time is another friend of yours, the longer you abstain from drugs the better you will get, believe that and it will happen.  I also recommend trying to learn meditation.  For me, my condition is often brought out by some anxiety or fear.  I have found that meditation has a way of neutralizing anxiety and helps me live in the moment and be grateful for all that I have.  Positive thinking is an excellent tool to combat HPPD. 

You can also take solace that your drug history doesn't seem to be  as excessive as it can be and many people on this forum are not so lucky.  I myself took more than 15 hits of good acid in one night.  That certainly did a number on me.  And I kept tripping for another year before I realized I had to stop or I would never be the same.  That's one of the more terrifying aspects of this disorder for me; I can forget how to be me! 

You will find as your progress that HPPD intensity varies and discover the things that cause it to flare up.  For some its caffeine, for me its sugar and lack of sleep as some examples.  The point is it is very possible to live a normal productive happy life with this condition.  It may very well leave you entirely or become barely noticeable over time.  The major factor in recovery is not using psychedelics, it's almost guaranteed to make things worse.  I myself abstained for about 8 years, pretty much completely recovered and then I started smoking weed again.  This worked to alleviate my anxiety for several months but then I started tripping again and it brought my symptoms back with force.  I had 7 mushroom trips in about 7 weeks and one DMT breakthrough.  I have since stopped and things are much much better.  I have almost one year completely sober and doing really well but I had to pick the pieces up and start from the basics.  I don't want anyone to make that same mistake.  But sometimes we have to fall down to learn.

Anyway, I'm sort of rambling now.  Welcome to the site.  We are here for you. Try and stay positive and off drugs and life will open up again. 

I wish you the best.

Nick 

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On 7/21/2019 at 6:55 AM, AlphaBeta said:

Hi Tyler! First, I only have mild HPPD for some weeks so I'm not the most expierienced guy, but I've read a lot studies during past weeks. It can totally happen that symptoms occur later (was also in my case). I've read positive and negative reports on Mirtapazine. I think basically it's russian roulette - to be honest, I wouldn't take it if I were you. The most effective med against DPDR / anxiety and may also visuals is Clonazepam, but its highly addictive. But if you take it for some days you may have some time to calm down and process whats happening with you. From all of what I've read, I guess Clonazepam and other Benzos probably mostly do not have so much influence on how the disease evolves - they just help to cope with / supress the symptoms.

My psychiatrist has some expierience with HPPD patients and also did publications about HPPD - he said in most cases all symptoms fade away within 12 months if people are taking care of themselves. That also matches what some people here are saying. Also, he said, emotional symptoms improve often quite fast after some weeks. 2 weeks are not much, it's very likely that it gets better soon. I've read some posts here claiming that its not uncommon for symptoms to get worse first while getting better later on. Anyhow, there is no guarantee, this is also what makes it very hard for me. Anyhow, as you see here in the board, nobody died and its possible to live with it.

What helps me a lot currently is meditation and stress reduction. I wish you all the best, hopefully it gets better soon on your case.

Thank you very much for your reply. It’s relieving to hear that I’m not the only one going through this. I decided to stop taking it after 4 nights as it made me feel twitchy and too out of it. My goal is to take the most natural approach for the time being. It is great to hear your psychiatrists experience with hppd, gives me hope. My psychiatrist said there’s nothing we can do but here’s some antidepressants to get rid of your anxiety. 

Sleep has been my biggest issue here. The first few weeks I basically didn’t but the mirtazapam helped me sleep a great deal. My psychiatrist dismissed my request for any benzos for short term relief so I think I’ll try and find one who might be willing to try this for me. Other than that is there ANYTHING at all that you or others here have had success with for sleep? 

Mindfulness meditation has been really good for me too and I’ve been eliminating as much stress as possible. I even had to give up my part time job at KFC as this was the biggest stressor with shift work. Thank you and I hope you are able to work through this yourself. 

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14 hours ago, cosmiccharlie said:

Hi Tyler and welcome to our little community.  First I know it can be daunting to try and come to terms with this condition; it is scary stuff and can be very debilitating.  With that said a healthy fear is probably a good thing to keep us from making the same mistakes.  It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and are aware of the best actions you can take i.e. exercise, sleep, eating healthy... Definitely keep that up.  Time is another friend of yours, the longer you abstain from drugs the better you will get, believe that and it will happen.  I also recommend trying to learn meditation.  For me, my condition is often brought out by some anxiety or fear.  I have found that meditation has a way of neutralizing anxiety and helps me live in the moment and be grateful for all that I have.  Positive thinking is an excellent tool to combat HPPD. 

You can also take solace that your drug history doesn't seem to be  as excessive as it can be and many people on this forum are not so lucky.  I myself took more than 15 hits of good acid in one night.  That certainly did a number on me.  And I kept tripping for another year before I realized I had to stop or I would never be the same.  That's one of the more terrifying aspects of this disorder for me; I can forget how to be me! 

You will find as your progress that HPPD intensity varies and discover the things that cause it to flare up.  For some its caffeine, for me its sugar and lack of sleep as some examples.  The point is it is very possible to live a normal productive happy life with this condition.  It may very well leave you entirely or become barely noticeable over time.  The major factor in recovery is not using psychedelics, it's almost guaranteed to make things worse.  I myself abstained for about 8 years, pretty much completely recovered and then I started smoking weed again.  This worked to alleviate my anxiety for several months but then I started tripping again and it brought my symptoms back with force.  I had 7 mushroom trips in about 7 weeks and one DMT breakthrough.  I have since stopped and things are much much better.  I have almost one year completely sober and doing really well but I had to pick the pieces up and start from the basics.  I don't want anyone to make that same mistake.  But sometimes we have to fall down to learn.

Anyway, I'm sort of rambling now.  Welcome to the site.  We are here for you. Try and stay positive and off drugs and life will open up again. 

I wish you the best.

Nick 

Thank you for your reply Nick. Again it is nice to hear that there are others who can relate. I am definitely working hard on meditation and hope to get better at it. Practice makes perfect and as I’m only 4 weeks into this I am putting faith into time healing things. A lack of sleep definitely makes things worse for me and often feeds the cycle of anxiety. In your experience has there been anything you have done to help with sleep? 

That is true that my drug history isn’t excessive but that’s the thing about this odd condition is that it could happen with first time use! I appreciate your advice on abstinence, I’m sure that would have been a difficult setback but I’m glad to hear that things are better now. :) we do all make mistakes but I understand it’s important to not dwell on the past and work towards a happier and healthier you, leaving the past in the past where it belongs. This SUCKS right now but I believe if others can overcome it than so can I.  

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For sleep, valerian root helped me a bit, 150 - 900mg as needed. You could start with 450mg and see if it helps.

In case you get hands on Benzos, I’d recommend to dose as low as possible (start with quarter of the recommended dose and increase only if necessary). Your receptor sensitivity is usually increased during HPPD and often small doses are enough. The higher the dose the higher rebound effects can get and the higher the risk of taking directly again and get dependent. Also, avoid Benzos and similar meds with short elimination half-time (like Zopiclone), rebound can be extremely bad there.

Edited by AlphaBeta

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On 7/23/2019 at 2:19 AM, AlphaBeta said:

For sleep, valerian root helped me a bit, 150 - 900mg as needed. You could start with 450mg and see if it helps.

In case you get hands on Benzos, I’d recommend to dose as low as possible (start with quarter of the recommended dose and increase only if necessary). Your receptor sensitivity is usually increased during HPPD and often small doses are enough. The higher the dose the higher rebound effects can get and the higher the risk of taking directly again and get dependent. Also, avoid Benzos and similar meds with short elimination half-time (like Zopiclone), rebound can be extremely bad there.

I have tried a sleep formula with valerian root but didn’t have any success. But thank you for the suggestion. I’ll keep that in mind if I do get my hands on some. Might need to see a different psychiatrist to get it but I think for the short term it would be beneficial. 

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I use Mirtazapine currently just for sleep. For it to work properly then you have to take a very low dose. Then it helps with sleep and doesn't really have any affect on depression. I take about 2.5-3 mg a few hours before bedtime. Have to brake the pill into smaller parts.

I've been on Mirtazapine for several years. Was when I developed HPPD and quit it for four months just to rule it did not make things worse. Quitting it had no effect on my HPPD so I'm not especially worried now it would affect it somehow at these small amounts. Sleep is extremely important to deal with all the symptoms, so I think it's worth it right now.

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