Pancakes

Any known cases of full recovery?

27 posts in this topic

Hello all, I am new to the board. I was medically diagnosed with HPPD during a mental institution stay in Nov 2010. I now routinely go to therapy and see a psychiatrist and psychologist. I'm 19 years old, have only done mushrooms twice and lsd once and have developed HPPD. Although, I did use a lot of many different drugs before I ever did hallucinogens, including DPH and DXM. I am thinking that increased my likelihood of developing HPPD, but all of this is irrelevant. I am wondering if there are any known full recoveries (no hallucinations or delusions, no medication needed, no abnormal feelings in the brain/mind, no depersonalization or derealization) from clinically diagnosed HPPD.

I am also interested in hearing the stories of your own struggles with HPPD. I have been suffering with mine for 3 and a half months now. My episodes seem to come and go, mainly coming and staying. I can feel them before they intensify, and I can also induce an episode upon myself. I am able to visualize things clearly in my mind with my eyes open, sometimes involuntarily which is unsettling and distracting. I have problems focusing on anything. Keeping a conversation steady is very problematic for me because I lose concentration within a few minutes.

Although I suffer from all of this, I still maintain a job and stay on a steady work out regime. I find my disorder to be particularly debilitating but I still struggle forwards. Most of my close friends are not aware of my condition, and those who are are highly skeptical of it and aren't particularly supportive or willing to talk about it with me or provide comfort.

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Hey there...I've had HPPD for 4 years now, and I know in my case I've gotten better over time - much better. The only med that really worked for me was Keppra. I still take 500mg per day. It might be worth looking into. I sometimes I wish I took it sooner thinking it would've been better to fight the disorder sooner. I started after about 18 months. I think I would describe my case a mild, I originally had significant dr, trailers, neg afterimages, static, etc. All of these things have dissipated with time. The one thing that helped more than anything was eating right and exercising - and quitting all drugs. I even gave up smoking cigarettes and caffeine - though I'm back on coffee and it doesn't affect me as much today

My advice, live healthy, do your best to get by day by day and gradually things will correct themselves in your brain, or you will adapt to the point of it not affecting you as much. I don't know of any 100% reversals, but I know many people have reported symptoms decreasing so much over time they felt like they were 100% - or at least HPPD didn't negatively affect them anymore.

Hope this helps.

Keep up the good fight, stay positive. Your friends probnably won't understand what you're going through. Don't hold it against them, this is a hard disorder for many people to grasp.....even doctors.

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Your words are truly inspirational, as the after-images I see from everything on a 24/7 basis makes it hard for me to go from one room to another or to look at something in a fluid motion instead of doing it choppily. I also have problems understanding people sometimes, which is really frustrating.

What is your past history of hallucinogen use, if you don't mind me asking? I smoked mj for 3 years, dropped acid once, and have tripped twice on mushrooms, once on less than an 8th, and the second time on 7 grams which is ultimately, in my opinion, what gave me this terrible condition. It was a terrifying trip too.

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I can't add much on whether there are full recoveries or not but I found your experience with your friends extremely similar to mine. You are not alone in this:)

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Your words are truly inspirational, as the after-images I see from everything on a 24/7 basis makes it hard for me to go from one room to another or to look at something in a fluid motion instead of doing it choppily. I also have problems understanding people sometimes, which is really frustrating.

What is your past history of hallucinogen use, if you don't mind me asking? I smoked mj for 3 years, dropped acid once, and have tripped twice on mushrooms, once on less than an 8th, and the second time on 7 grams which is ultimately, in my opinion, what gave me this terrible condition. It was a terrifying trip too.

long history of drug use from age 16 to age 33. For the most part I've stopped using drugs since developing HPPD.

eat right, exercise, stay active, stay social, etc. These things help. Try not to think about it or obsess over it. Easier said than done, I know. There's no magic cure for HPPD except for time and treating your body and mind right.

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I don't know any full cases of recorvery, but I can speak for myself.

The best cure for for HPPD is to be in good spirits. I've had HPPD for about a year and 7 months. At this point, I feel great. Of course I have my ups and downs, but I can live the life I want to lead, smoke weed occasionally (I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS FOR EVERYONE, BE CAREFUL), and generally be happy.

My life was a living hell for a solid 8 months, during which time I thought I was going crazy, suffered panic attack after panic attack. Now, I know that my condition isn't a case of psychosis, but rather of signals going from my eyes to my brain being goofed (simply put). After realizing this, finally believing it, not drinking or smoking for almost year, eating right, exercising, etc.. 70% of my anxiety, depression, and DP went away. At this point I feel almost completely normal again. The visual aspect of HPPD has died down too, but hasn't gone away. Regardless, when you're in good spirits, the visual stuff doesn't bother you.

Weed definitely makes afterimages worse for me, usually lasting throughout the next day. However, given my current mental state, it doesn't bother me because I finally feel human again (not because of the weed). Not everyone reacts like this though, so I'd be careful.

Good luck man, your best days are ahead!

btw, I'm almost 22, my hppd started when I was 20

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Thank you ColForbin. You said your visuals died down. Please, tell us how were you visuals when you got HPPD and what changed since then. Also did you have cognitive issues? Thank you.

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Thank you ColForbin. You said your visuals died down. Please, tell us how were you visuals when you got HPPD and what changed since then. Also did you have cognitive issues? Thank you.

Well, when it first started, I was hit with massive depersonalization and 2d vision. Then the visuals. I first noticed it when I was trying to go to bed. The whole room was static to my eyes. When I closed my eyes, I would see these white swirling patterns that were so bright I literally couldn't sleep. I had the most vivid dreams as well. The combination of these three things ensured that I woke up any number between 20-30 times a night. During the day, I then began to notice afterimages that seemed as if they were burned into my eyes. It wasn't an issue of even looking at bright things - the reflection of the sun or course would give me bad ones. Even 'loud' colors started to give me them. If I saw a red car, I would have the image of a blue car burned onto by eyes for the next 10 minutes or so. Even worse, I would get afterimages of things almost no contrast. For example, looking at my mac keyboard: just the contrast between the grey tops of the keys and shadow making the sides of the keys slightly darker grey would leave the squares of the keyboards burned onto my eyes, both eyes open and closed.

I couldn't read, words seemed to move all over the page. I had to drop a course in school just because I couldn't do all the reading.

Color flashes in my peripheral vision, as well as metallic stars poking into my vision at a rate of 1 every couple of minutes. Floaters also dominated my vision.

If I stared at something and zoned out, my whole range of vision would change color. Everything usually started to turn bluish-purple. Taking an exam on little sleep, I zoned out looking at the test, and no joke, my arms were lime green in my peripheral vision.

So these are pretty much the visual things that happened to me, not to mention the host of psychological shit that went down as a result of hppd and, even more importantly, not knowing even that hppd existed (I found out about it almost 8 months after symptoms started).

Now the good news: As of a year and 8 months (I first noticed improvement 10 months after I 'realized' there was something wrong with me), everything has significantly gone down. Sleeping is not an issue anymore. The closed eye visuals are much less bright and distracting, I don't notice them most of the time. Dreams still vivid, but that doesn't bother me. (One interesting side note is my dreams, which are so real, are AWESOME. They are either good dreams, or nightmares where I never feel glued down or helpless. I usually end up kicking ass and 'winning' the nightmare. I've written many of them down.)

Afterimages also almost gone. I wont get ones from things like my keyboard anymore. Now its mostly relegated to lights. My eyes also feel super sensitive, so reflections on the road get me in a way they might not get others (from what I've experienced with my friends).

Reading is completely normal again.

Color flashes mostly gone. I still occasionally notice floaters, but its no big deal. The metallic stars are probably the most pervasive symptom, but even then, now it just happens a couple times a day.

At the end of the day, I can't say whether feeling better emotionally has allowed me to ignore the visuals, or if they've actually gotten better. I suspect its a combination of both. Regardless, the best times lie ahead! And remember, this is after I had the experience of honestly and legitimately questioning my own sanity - hands down the most traumatizing thing to ever happen to me.

Hope this helps

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I consider my own case a full recovery despite still having persistent visuals. I used to have full on anxiety interespersed with panic attacks. Visuals were rather intense and unbearable. Time really is the best cure and a strong positive mental attitude. I now see visuals but they aren't abrassive or dont' "attack" me. A lot of it was a change in perception. I used to freak out and get really bent out of shape when a HPPD swell would start (naturally, right?). Realizing that this is simply going to be life let me stop feeding the fire with negative emotions and energy and be more accepting of how life with HPPD. this caused a decrease in anxiety and panic attacks which, in turn, caused a decrease in visuals. I abstain from things that make visuals worse such as drugs, sleep deprivation, staying inside all day, being anti-social, hanging around people who use drugs, not being healthy, and the list goes on (and is different for everybody). My one weakness is caffine. Although I don't mind the spike in visuals for a nice cup of tea but I'm a wee bit weary of permanenatly increasing HPPD levels.

Just a little schpeel.

Dukkha

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Thanks you very much ColForbin, that's awesome. Can I ask a few more questions? Why after everything you said you still doubt if your visuals got better? Also, how you got HPPD? And it's interesting you started to get better just after you realized what you had. Any relation? Did you use any remedy?

Dukkha. How and when it started? Did the visuals really got better or you just don't notice them?

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HPPD does alleviate to great extents and also completely in many cases. As I mentioned before the people who experienced this have no rrason to be here. The clinical studies show this.

One doctor who has much clinical experience with people with hppd said to me that hppd is very complex and there are periods of alleviation and recurrance. This has happened to me.

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HPPD does alleviate to great extents and also completely in many cases. As I mentioned before the people who experienced this have no rrason to be here. The clinical studies show this.

One doctor who has much clinical experience with people with hppd said to me that hppd is very complex and there are periods of alleviation and recurrance. This has happened to me.

My hppd will not bother me so much somedays and other days beats me down. Probably sways w/ my depression and anxiety.

Anybody else out there having a hard time getting off a long term benzo habit I'm w/u. It's hell

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I know I haven't been on here in a while, but:

I have completely recovered. I was on the very cusp of suicide, and then I tried Keppra, and my symptoms have decreased 90 percent since being on it. I have been rebuilding my life since then, attempting to learn and develop as a normal person is supposed to during his or her young adult years. But that is a different story.

So, long story short: yes, I have fully, fully recovered. Minus the visual symptoms, but shit having increased afterimages is negligable compared to being unable to form sentences when desired, and having no friends in any capacity because I simply cannot comunicate and so cannot express my personality.

Every every everyone must try Keppra. I used to search these boards like a man searching for water in a desert. Keppra is the only medicine I have seen corroborating stories of longterm aid. And again, this is not just aid for me, this is a cure. I don't mean this in any philosophical sense. I have not simply addopted a new philosophical world-view. The symptoms are gone. My short-term memory has doubled or trippled. I have occassional memories of my younger life, before any and all drugs, and my own hypothesis on this is my consciousness being in a state that more resembled those days prior to any drug usage. I believe the brain fog most people refer to, as well as agnosia and other symptoms can be traced at least in some degree to failing of short-term memory.

Every every every one must try Keppra. I had given up. Entirely. I used to tremble at night and whimper . I was as near death as it gets. And then Keppra. So, two lessons from this:

1: Every every everyone must try Keppra. I am on 1250 mlg for the past 12 or so months (building up the dosage gradually of course), with almost entirely no noticable side-effects.

2: If Keppra does not work, my experience proves that one can be certain of one's own helplessness, and be incorrect. I was certain.

So, if you are so inclined to keep fighting and hoping, something may fall into your lap. I am, after 12 months, stil in shock. The second HPPD stopped for me, I began sprinting away from it, my mind and memory compartmentalizing the entire hell-scape and removing it from my consciousness. I cannot believe I ever got HPPD, and I cannot believe I ever got out of it. It is all so bizarre I cannot really grasp it ever happened. The experience of HPPD has left me sort of blistered to life, and even to this day, something close to a full year of recovery, when I get down about some natural life occurance, I feel the desire, at least for a moment, to kill myself. When these times come, I simply inject pleasure into my life in some form or another, whether that is stop doing homework, put in a comedy movie, etc. The scars still hurt from my experience, unbelievably at times. But the source of them is in the past.

I should have been on these boards providing support for anyone else who was in my position. I am here now, and if anyone, anyone has questions, I will go into every detail I can to answer them, and if anyone is sincerely contemplating the bottle of tylenol PM on the counter, or a razor, or the gun, I am also here. I will give you my phone number if you require it. I owe my life to this website and board, and it is only right that as one who has survived because of it, I help others who were in my position.

So, if you choose to continue on, the fight is not hopeless, regardless of all appearance indicating otherwise. If anyone wants to talk, we can talk on here, or I can give you my email, or if you are on the verge, we can talk voice to voice. Good luck to all.

HBB

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I would also like to add I will have a psychology degree as of this May, and have at least some knowledge of the chemical aspects of HPPD, though I am still very much a laymen in this degree. However, I survived with HPPD for 3 years, and I did not do so by sitting back, though I was crippled in many, many ways during that time. The philosophical techniques I developed to cope with the experience I believe may be of great use to others. Anyways, I want help. Let me know if you need some.

PS I'm not a stick in the mud either. Nobody who takes enough drugs to get hppd is a boring ass person who is going to speak to you like some haughty doctor who won't just chat with ya if that's what you need at that moment.

That is all.

HBB

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Dukkha. How and when it started? Did the visuals really got better or you just don't notice them?

It actually started 6 months after having not taken any psychedelics. Completely out of the blue it seemd but I suspect it might have been triggered by stress/depression and changes going on.

Did the visuals improve or did I not noticed them? I have to say.. is there ultimately any difference? Like LarryC and 1998 say there are up's and down's. But that is life also, isn't it? You can do things though that make these up's and down's less extreme/intense.

Lowell

p.s. WindScar, where are you from exactly?

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Thanks to HBB for your story and your help.

i would really like to try keppra. but i heard of a whole lotta side effects and i think my doc wont prescribe it :(

but i will ask. its the whole depersonalization and derealization thing combined with depressed feelings what makes living so hard these days.

i have hppd for 4 years now and it still gets me down. 4 years like a dream. that sucks.

cheers

eric

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Pancakes,

Your visuals may or may not go away over years. But what I think will happen is that even if they don't, you should get more accustomed to them and then you'll start to tune them out more, and focus on other things, which will make you feel better. This is my experience over the past five years.

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Eric, this is what I did to get my doctor to prescribe it:

I poured through this site (or the previous version of it that is), documenting any and all cases i could of people being helped by keppra. i brought this to one psychiatrist educated at harvard, and he didn't prescribe it because he's a pompous jackass. however, i then took it to another doctor, one who worked at olemiss, and, after i showed him a 30 pages of reports of positive effects from keppra from people on this site, he just said, "you know what. looks like you've done your homework. and i don't think we're gonna get you into any trouble with you takin 500 mlg to start out." this small amount actually seemed to help me, though i can't be sure this wasn't placebo. from that point on, i saw the psychiatrist employed by olemiss, and he was cool enough guy to gradually incrasing the dose, and here I am. He, like the other doctor, didn't really know what the hell keppra was, except vaguely. but he was also enough of a human being to understand that not taking a medicine that is keeping you from killing yourself is a fucking stupid way of adhering to the oath to do no harm.

So, it may come down to finding the right doctor. this is your life, and you can do whatever is necessary to improve it. I can't stress how important i think everyone try this drug, as I had tried many, many, many others before it that didn't help me. I could give you a laundry list. Not all doctors are knowledgable in all medicines. That would be pretty impossible. They also do not all have the same disposition, and some may be ready to take a chance on something, especially if you have reports of people being helped by the medicine.

So try that if you want to. I will even look for the file on my computer of the compiled keppra reports if you would like. you could bring that to him.

HBB

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My hppd will not bother me so much somedays and other days beats me down. Probably sways w/ my depression and anxiety.

Anybody else out there having a hard time getting off a long term benzo habit I'm w/u. It's hell

Unfortunately for me I developed an addiction to klonozipan again. I have to take it for a while and then try to withdraw. It is hell just having a tolerance and it wearing off. Ny sleep is terrible and I am alway waking up with disturbing dreams. Doesn't matter what the dream is. They all become disturbing when the benzo is wearing off.

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hey HBB

thanks for encouraging posts. i will try that definitely! if you find that file it would be great if you send it to me !! my mail is erictiedt@gmx.net

for almost 2 years now i just tried a lot of antidepressants. but didnt help that much. im now visiting a psychotherapist and try to excercise daily.

your story gives me hope. thanks.

eric

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''Unfortunately for me I developed an addiction to klonozipan again. I have to take it for a while and then try to withdraw. It is hell just having a tolerance and it wearing off. Ny sleep is terrible and I am alway waking up with disturbing dreams. Doesn't matter what the dream is. They all become disturbing when the benzo is wearing off.''

Larry not sleeping at all and feeling your muscles twitch all night long (or whatever symptoms you have) makes hppd crazy.

I go on benzobuddies.org and some of the w/d's they are experiencing and especially for the amount of time scares me to death.

I'm still stuck on 3.5 mg of klono for 13yrs. That's 70mg of valium. Anyways try to crossover to valium and titrate. Wish you strength and will power, coming off the end of your benzo's is like having the flu 24/7

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''Unfortunately for me I developed an addiction to klonozipan again. I have to take it for a while and then try to withdraw. It is hell just having a tolerance and it wearing off. Ny sleep is terrible and I am alway waking up with disturbing dreams. Doesn't matter what the dream is. They all become disturbing when the benzo is wearing off.''

Larry not sleeping at all and feeling your muscles twitch all night long (or whatever symptoms you have) makes hppd crazy.

I go on benzobuddies.org and some of the w/d's they are experiencing and especially for the amount of time scares me to death.

I'm still stuck on 3.5 mg of klono for 13yrs. That's 70mg of valium. Anyways try to crossover to valium and titrate. Wish you strength and will power, coming off the end of your benzo's is like having the flu 24/7

Thanks. I wonder if my doc will switch me over.

I am going through nicotine withdrawel right now, so not a time to try to get off benzos too.

I quit smoking for almost 12 years and then went back to it 2 years ago and paid dearly for it. So off cigarettes is paramount.

I just have bad sleep and all dreams disturb me. It also makes me depressed. Don'y know why I went back on klono, it did not reduce my visuals.

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Thanks you very much ColForbin, that's awesome. Can I ask a few more questions? Why after everything you said you still doubt if your visuals got better? Also, how you got HPPD? And it's interesting you started to get better just after you realized what you had. Any relation? Did you use any remedy?

Glad to answer any and all questions. I wish someone had been there for me when I was really in the shit - ANYTHING I can do to help a fellow hppd'er feel better I will do.

"Why after everything you said you still doubt if your visuals got better?"

I don't really doubt anything - they have gotten much better, although they haven't gone away. The only reason I used the word 'doubt' was because it's hard to pinpoint how much they have really gone away vs how much I just don't notice them anymore because I'm in good spirits. When I was in rough shape, I felt like many of you all, wondering how can I heal the visuals. It seemed unfathomable that I could continue life if the visuals were going to be a part of it. This is an example of where perspective becomes everything. When I was thinking those thoughts, I was depressed and had full-on panic disorder. Now, I have gotten my life under control, gotten healthy, and in this mind set, the visuals just don't bother me that much, plain and simple. And they've objectively gotten better. Things that used to give me afterimages (like my keyboard) don't any more.

"Also, how you got HPPD? "

I got HPPD from a solitary shrooms trip, my only time. Bad tripped for a bit during the trip due to stomach ache. It wasn't a get-naked-and-climb-trees bad trip, but more of a sit in a chair while extremely uncomfortable bad trip. Friends tell me the shrooms were very strong, and I ate an 8th.

"And it's interesting you started to get better just after you realized what you had. Any relation? Did you use any remedy?"

This is long, I answer your questions in short form at the end.

I think I need to give a better explanation for this. In my original post, I wrote "my hppd started when I couldn't sleep etc..," but the truth is, I noticed that something was weird way before then. I took the shrooms in early february of 2009. I initially felt fine afterwards, despite the bad trip. Two weeks later, I had a huge panic attack related to my heart, and went to the hospital only to be told I was fine. I kept having panic attacks, and generally being uneasy/not trusting the doctors who told me I was fine. I FELT different, but I couldn't quite place what it was, and suspected it was a problem with my heart (which was really just chest anxiety). By late april, I began noticing that when I smoked weed, I felt really high, much more so than normal. Smoking weed became no fun anymore, so I stopped doing it, figured I had grown out of it.

I moved into my new apartment early that summer, and that was when I really started to feel 'different.' Something was definitely wrong, this was when the DP definitely hit me. The visuals started shortly thereafter. It was a stressful time because I knew something was wrong but didn't know what it was. I didn't suspect the shrooms at all because it was so long after the trip, and I didn't know anything remotely like hppd even existed (I always just thought you handled your drugs or you didn't. Now I know that there are degrees of sanity). I was stressing about my heart a lot, but every time I went to the doctor, they said I was fine. I suspected maybe it was just a sleep problem, which lead to the visuals and DP. I tried sleep medication (lunesta), but it made me feel like shit and short of breath.

That summer became a weird time where I was convincing myself, despite every single one of my instincts, that I was ok. As soon as I stopped stressing about my heart, it seemed as if the visuals started. In my DP state, I tried so hard to convince myself that the visuals were due to lack of sleep/I was just imagining them.

I hit rock bottom when I went home for a week in late summer 2009. I woke up early one morning and noticed that my window, which had the shade drawn, was rippling. I blinked, and it was still rippling. At that point, I couldn't ignore that there was something going on with my eyes/brain. I contemplated how I was slowly going crazy, how I would end up in a mental institution, how I would be shitting my pants, all my dreams dead on the floor, my friends abandoning me, etc... It was the worst day of my life when I truly questioned my own sanity, and its an experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

My mom somehow convinced me to take a walk with her that afternoon and told me something I will never forget. She said, as if it was obvious, "forbin, if you were really going crazy, you wouldn't realize you were going crazy." I realized she was right. This was the beginning of my uphill battle, as far as spirits go. I still didn't know what hppd was, but I was determined that I wasn't going crazy. From here on out, I started exercising and eating very well, and slowly started to feel better. It was definitely rough for a long while though.

Near the end of the first semester of school that following year, I still suffered from panic attacks and the visuals, but compared to where I was at that one summer day, I was much better. At parties, I would just bring a gallon of apple juice and sip on it. My friends began to meet the new me, a sleepier, slightly more anxious version of myself. Around this time, I stumbled somehow on the original hppd forum ran by david kozin, and it was at this point when I started to piece things together. I was already on the way to recovery, but the knowledge of this condition did miracles in giving me peace of mind. I have never been 'diagnosed' with hppd, despite seeing multiple psychologists and psychiatrists, but the pieces just fit too well together for this not to be what I was suffering from.

So to answer your questions, I was already in the process of getting better when I learned about hppd. Also at this time, I found a girl who I dated, and also began to just feel better. Feeling like myself, getting back to normal things, being with my girlfriend and friends were all factors that helped to allow me to move beyond hppd psychologically. Their support, along with my family's, was invaluable to me.

As far as remedies go, I tried lunesta for a couple nights, as I said before. Also, I was prescribed and used Welbutrin XR 150mg from mid summer 2009 to april 2010. I like to think it helped, but I'm not really sure to be honest. It definitely didn't hurt. As a plus, it allowed me to quit smoking cigarettes (its also marketed as a smoking cessation aid).

I hope this helps you all. Sorry its so long, I just hope someone reading this will be able to draw parallels to their own life, and hopefully they won't reach the levels or darkness and despair that I did.

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