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Everything posted by itstrevor

  1. Sometimes hitting rock bottom is necessary before allowing oneself to "let go." I saw a large improvement today. It seems to be a recurring pattern that windows of relief/emotional lability/cathartic crying is preceded by periods of high irritability, numbness, and even insomnia or strong OCD symptoms. At this point I realize that I am unable to control the numbness/irritability/hopeless thinking in the moment and that my mind will automatically attribute whatever it is I come across to the "reason I'm feeling this way." For example, "I must be feeling terrible because I'm expected to do too much schooling" or "man all this stuff on the news infuriates me" or "if ____ didn't make me feel sick I wouldn't have to deal with this - it's making it worse!" and so on In reality, I know that it is the receptors/cicuits/chemistry trying to reach equilibrium. I think sometimes to heal/reach equilibrium the brain purposefully does this because after a day or two or three of feeling intensely this way, I get windows. I know the drill at this point and I know to just let go through it and let it flow. I mentally sort of sigh heavily and cross my arms and sit there and tell the problem (feeling this way) "*sigh* whatever, just make it quick - you know I'm not going to let myself get worked up over your stupid antics" It's really just about removing anxiety spikes as much as possible to just allow the brain to do it's thing, and to accept the anxiety spikes that you can't control (the ones you can't control are part of the process). 5ht1a is also important for emotions. It triggers the release of oxytocin/vasopressin and is theorized to be a primary reason that XTC has such empathogenic effects. I guess the only way to find out what effect the 5ht2a receptor has is to use a receptor agonist.... but I think we all know what that means... just check trip reports on erowid or something
  2. I really don't agree with saying "you don't feel the way you do pre-anhedonia after recovery" because that is sort of a defeatist statement that is debilitating and I think that the feelings of deep emotions can come back, and we have several examples of this that I have posted in the thread. "Mindfulness" and other approaches are used to reduce or eliminate anxiety spikes which can perpetuate anhedonia, but are often perceived as useless because they do not seem to do anything acutely, and they are only useful for removing perpetuating factors. Time heals anhedonia most of the time it seems, and a person does nothing - the brain does it itself. SSRIs are useful for "letting go" and reducing anxiety spikes, which, again, perpetuate anhedonia, but SSRIs themselves can perpetuate anhedonia as well. They are useful as tools to remove the anxiety so that things are a bit more approachable. Tapering off of them is like "dipping your toe into a pool" instead of jumping in all at once which can be overwhelming or even impossible. I do not believe that SSRIs should be used long term if possible - then you are never "going into the pool." Slowly learning how to let go of things to reduce anxiety spikes is really what most therapy and meditation revolves around so that there is less "short circuiting" and overactivity in centers of the brain that inhibit reward. Receptors upregulate and downregulate all of the time and new connections form My windows have been proof of this - so have the side effects that I have gotten from medications that leave after abstinence such as intolerance to sugar, shakiness, anxiety, insomnia, tinnitus, myoclonus, and so on. All of this can be "permanent" because some people have long term tinnitus or myoclonic jerks every night, but really I know they are not for me at least, because I see change over time, and I would venture to say that under the right conditions, virtually everybody would notice positive changes if the mind is left to heal.
  3. I guess if you can somehow circumvent oppositional tolerance by taking advantage of the fact that the cannabinoid system is more resilient to "abuse" then let us know, but I'm skeptical. I am continuing to see major gains with my abstinence/anti-anxiety spike programme
  4. This is really interesting because the 5ht2a receptor seems to be involved. I at first thought about the 5ht1a receptor playing a pivotal role (releasing oxytocin and having been proposed as the mediator of empathogenic effects), and the 5ht2a receptor being a sort of "bad" receptor, but perhaps it is actually beneficial to have a high density? ECT certainly did help, though briefly, (though if I was not concurrently on Parnate, who knows). Low dose psychedelics have been proposed, though legally I cannot condone that. LSA is an easy one to obtain, but without proper extraction there might be a ton of nausea and might not be smart to fiddle around with that sort of thing having unstable minds. Abilify (aripiprazole) is a 5ht2a antagonist and seemed to amplify the anhedonia, so who knows? It has been said that 5ht2a density is higher in those with depression, but perhaps this is a different sort of depression than those experiencing emotional blunting? I am not really sure at this point. Many different receptors, neurotransmitters, and circuits are implicated, and it seems that we have put a lot of pieces together, but I have not really understood this piece. 5ht2a agonism and antagonism, I believe, cause downregulation, which may not be good in the long run. As an update, I will say that I am continuing to improve greatly.
  5. I'm really not sure... it could be medication/drug use in the past 3 years, blood sugar/anxiety spikes, aging, stress, or any combination of medical conditions and this. Have you endured the abstinence for 2+ years? I dunno, I don't want to fob you off with my optimism and say that there is a "one size fits all," but it seems that this is a syndrome that is not typically permanent. I really don't know. If the method I suggest does not work maybe explore something else, but I think it will work in the time frame. If not, maybe try sub-threshold "5HT2A agonists" if you catch my drift or ECT or alternative treatments. I just know that there is a lot of risk in some cases and this can set you back, especially with amphetamines, benzos, and opioid-drugs.
  6. Of course, drug withdrawal-related anhedonia has a different trigger than environmentally triggered anhedonia, but the syndrome is the same, and I believe that in the brain similar mechanisms are at work. http://www.paxilprogress.org/forums/showthread.php?t=44089
  7. I do not wish to return to ECT because of the possibility of adverse psychiatric effects (memory isn't too great nowadays as it is), uncomfortable procedures (it isn't very fun having more than a few sessions), and only brief windows of relief. As it is, I see windows probably like once a week and I believe that during my predicted time frame I will feel pretty good. In addition, I have school and work and I've already wasted a ton of time. I'm not feeling great but I am comfortable enough most of the time. I know it's possible, one person I was just reading about today felt it for over a year and is better now. Both my aunt and great uncle said it took them about a year (one of them had ECT and said he felt "off" for a year). Here is another story I found: "I sufferred from FULL BLOWN anhedonia for 14 months, Amaya's Nana sufferred from it for about 10 months, and Shea Carney for about 18 months....we are all FULLY recovered now. The recovery period is different for everyone, but recovery does happen. lov4k9s"
  8. I'm not against ECT. I tried ECT, and had no side effects (though my treatment center was probably up to date with the latest stuff). It only worked for a small period of time though. In addition, it seemed to catalyze an episode of SEVERE ANXIETY. Not really sure how, but after ECT, I became SEVEREY anxious and sick, and this was attributed to the MAOI Parnate that I was on (though I had already been on it for months). Maybe ECT+Parnate is a bad combo... Anyways, works for a lot of people. Not sure if the side effects will differ from treatment center to treatment center. My seizure lasted longer than anticipated.
  9. "NMDAR overactivity" is obviously a reductionist statement because expression of the receptor is different in different regions of the brain, and the expression/activation of the receptor is affected by (and it affects) many other systems/receptors. Drugs that globally block NMDAR such as ketamine show promise at (temporarily, though probably not in the long run) relieving symptoms and other related studies show that NMDAR overactivity is a key part of the puzzle.
  10. Also, ketamine is an NMDAR ANTAGONIST (blocks glutamate activity)
  11. NONONONO the problem is NMDAR OVERACTIVITY not HYPOACTIVITY. Regions of the brain are unable to turn OFF (overactivity) which in turn inhibit reward, which is why after ECT and Ketamine there are windows. I DO NOT recommend ketamine though, and it may create oppositional tolerance (among other issues). While at first glance, turning things down with GABA drugs like benzodiazepines is a viable choice, remember that benzodiazepines also prevent the release of dopamine and other pleasure circuits. Abilify seemed to further blunt things while also making me feel a bit jittery and made it difficult to sleep (for me at least). NMDAR overactivity in itself naturally resolves and does not in itself become permanent, and this is seen in drug users with anhedonia - though this can last a while. Wellbutrin increases dopamine and norepinepherine, but not quickly enough to induce euphoria, so it's gains mostly come in physical energy, personal will to do things and get things done, talkativeness and attentiveness, and other non-reward dopamine functions. In some people, emotional lability increases, but in anhedonia, anxiety may arise and perpetuate issues. Dopamine can potentiate reward if the spikes are great and sudden enough, but dopamine is more about interest and reward WANTING than reward LIKING. With more dopamine, you become more INTERESTED and TALKATIVE in conversations, for example. In addition, artificial dopamine spikes through drug use may over time cause compensatory blunting of reward.
  12. Looking at my experience with Parnate (also blocks MAO-B), I really did not "feel" anything until day 8. It was then where I felt a dopamine boost for a few days (without euphoria) which gradually tapered off. Over a period of several months my anxiety increased along with OCD. I do not recommend. There is a slow increase in dopamine, but it's increase is so slow that compensatory mechanisms sort of balance it out for the most part.
  13. I don't think that artificially increasing things through supplementation is always the best idea, but I think that the body will create cravings for what you need. I am seeing improvements and I'm only on month 3 off of meds Estimated time is 6mos-3yrs, but good times in between I'm not really sure 5ht2a upregulation is really helpful... In fact, after ECT I felt better for a few days. 5ht1a increases oxytocin and is targeted by empathogenics though. This syndrome of symptoms turns up in a variety of different settings and has been shown to have the possibility of reversing over time. The specter of permanence creates anxiety spikes and prolongs recovery. In fact, one of the biggest problems with addiction is anhedonia during sobriety - addicts feel that it is permanent or too difficult to deal with and return to their addictions when in reality it just takes a long time.
  14. Anhedonia is not "damage" to the brain in the way that neurotoxic substances cause damage or in the way that a lobotomy would cause damage. Structurally, the brain is more or less the same, but other things are going on. Psychiatrists aren't really taught any reliable methods to effectively cure anhedonia because there are really none on the market right now (especially not ones that work long term), so they use what they have, lumping anhedonia with depression and so give you "antidepressants." Antidepressants are effective anxiolytics, but do not really produce euthymia or euphoria - they remove anxiety, and, as we know, it is not psychologically possible to experience anxiety and pleasure at the same time (or at least there is an inverse relationship). Unfortunately, many antidepressants may also perpetuate anhedonia or act as thymoanesthetics. Anxiety is often not present in anhedonia, but the anhedonia is still caused by NMDA overactivity in the same way that anxiety is. I think that anhedonia is really misunderstood and not really understood well among most medical professionals. Anhedonia is caused by brain overactivity which inhibits pleasure. Relaxing can over time reduce this overactivity, but this is difficult because attempting to cease thoughts is not possible. The only way around this is replacing one thought with another that is less alarming yet equally convincing or to shift consciousness away through distraction. Even when there seemingly is no intrusive/uncontrollable thoughts or activity, the unconscious mind is still overactive. Even with all of this, the brain will take many months and in some cases years to reach a euthymic equilibrium. It's a slow process, unfortunately, that you cannot force. I'm not really qualified to give out financial counsel, but for life difficulties maybe look for some sort of mentor or experienced ear to give you some guidance (not in what you have to do, but how to get through it while maintaining a mental balance - or heck, maybe even some advice on what you have to do -who knows). The folks at tinybuddha.com have helped me with this If you try your hardest, that's the best you can do. Anything beyond that, simply emotionally detach yourself from the expectations and know you are getting the max you can feasibly get with what you have where you are. Let emotions flow like visitors and do not force them one way or another. Even if you don't get what you wanted, don't feel any regret whatsoever because you know you did what you thought was best for yourself or what you thought you needed at the time. I'm still seeing small improvements over time. A lot of people don't seem to understand that acute "treatment" of symptoms can actually cause longer term problems through oppositional tolerance. The brain makes compensatory mechanisms for almost any disturbance. The argument I hear often is that "neurogenesis" offsets this and leaves a permanent overall positive net effect. I'm not entirely convinced, and could it be possible that many drugs of abuse also promote neurogenesis, yet also cause tolerance/dependence/withdrawal/kindling/addiction/lpersistent problems upon discontinuation?
  15. But isn't it true that "what goes up must come down" or that positive effects from artificially inflating mood will have to be paid off in the long run? I don't claim to know the answer, but my inclination is that you have to experiment for yourself and come to your own conclusion. Sometimes you have to just stop thinking to feel - I guess that means stop thinking about how to feel as well
  16. Tianeptine is very interesting indeed - but I have heard of abuse and tolerance with it. In the same way that I hear some people claim that Ritalin does not induce tolerance, I fear that people are claiming that tianeptine does not induce tolerance when it really does or does slowly over time. I don't believe that if tianeptine does cause a disruption of the hedonic system over time that it is permanent, much like I don't think that the SSRI anhedonia is permanent, but tolerance is like a debt and it has to be paid off
  17. Meditation has been really useful for me in addition to the eating healthy and exercise approach. It is a long arduous journey and doesn't fix everything acutely though - it's more of something to do in the meantime to reduce anxiety spikes that perpetuate anhedonia. I've been drinking chia seed drinks and eating a lot of protein while cutting back on sugars to make sure I am getting all the nutrients I can. I have cried a few times in windows. I try not to keep track too closely of things and try to "let go." I try to tell myself it will take as long as it takes. It isn't easy and I don't know all the answers, and am still looking for some sort of experienced mentor. I remember looking at tianeptine - I often get it confused with amineptine (dopaminergic). Tianeptine works on the NMDA/AMPA signaling dichotomy, so it could lift the anhedonia, but for how long? Are there any detrimental effects? What about oppositional tolerance? After all my experience with drugs, I am very afraid to try it, but I would love to hear about it and no doubt it is beneficial for everyone to share their experiences. Kratom is a mu opioid agonist. That sounds like an addictive dead end of tolerance, dependence, and addiction to me and I would strongly advise against it, but of course, you should only do what you feel you need to do, because only you can convince yourself. If dopamine increases interest and potentiates reward, the role of opioids is to terminate the loop and in many ways "is" the reward. Lamotrigine (Lamictal) can indirectly inhibit the release of glutamate. This can reduce anhedonia, but, again, for how long? Are there any long term effects? What about oppositional tolerance? I can't claim to know, but interesting nonetheless.
  18. Wow, seems like the moderators did not like THAT down at college confidential. They took down the thread immediately once they saw I was making a thread about advocating for students with depression and dealing with student debt. Looks like I will have to take it elsewhere, but for all to see the unscrupulous people down there that don't seem to like people "rocking the boat" about this issue: I have been seeing improvements in my anhedonia and plan to write up a guide for you guys when I feel like I'm cured (whatever that means)
  19. I really do not see there being much of a benefit from most pharmaceuticals - in my experience anything that causes you to "go up" will have a "comedown," and this includes illicit drugs with hallucinogenic properties (though I have no personal experience with this). Even these types of drugs form a tolerance (maybe I am wrong that with chronic administration they make anhedonia worse, but maybe someone else can chime in here). I am telling you guys the most reliable way to cure this is time. Take the example of alcoholics with PAWS - a syndrome characteristic of NMDA overactivity, emotional numbness (which seems to go hand in hand with NMDA overactivity), a dearth of functional GABA receptors, and physically damaging symptoms. This is THE SAME SYNDROME with a different mechanism/trigger. Even long-time alcoholics recover, and, sure enough, the time frequently given seems to be within the same time frame I have suggested in the thread. I MYSELF have NOTICED steady improvement. I am fully functional, have windows, and cry at times. I have swings of irritability which are invariably followed by improvements (signs that the brain is working towards equilibrium). Please do not give up, and the anxiety spikes will perpetuate the numbness. ALSO I have become a big proponent of student rights as this whole situation was triggered, in large part, by my experience with the American education system. MANY OF MY CLOSE FRIENDS ARE EXPERIENCING SIMILAR SYMPTOMS NOW!!! All because of excessive stress!! If you have experienced stress - induced anhedonia or want to vent about your experiences in college, please include your experience here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/1659682-fixing-college-debt-student-rights-unscrupulous-staff-discussion-official-thread.html#latest I think that it is really important that we stick together with this. Many people are lost like I was. When I feel cured I will write a guide about this sort of thing so people won't suffer for so long in the dark. I have also found that tinybuddha.com has a lot of good resources to help get my thinking on track and reduce anxiety spikes which perpetuate the numbness/blunting.
  20. I have harbored a lot of resentment towards women and their treatment of me in relationships (including uneven gender expectations), but I am learning to accept that I may be single and with myself and that's okay. I can't force myself to like someone, so there is not point - if it happens it happens - and that does sound cruel but it's reality. I try not to get angry about it and focus on relaxing and minimizing anxiety spikes.
  21. SSRIs can be useful for that. It's really just a tool. But, as with most tools, SSRIs can be misused. Only you can know if you are misusing it. I've been reading today about PAWS, which is a similar state and includes anhedonia as a hallmark feature. Even PAWS which lasts a long time usually ends after several months to a year on its own
  22. Yeah, serotonergics blunt reward over time and dopaminergics potentiate reward acutely. Doesn't mean that it is permanent. Some useful resources for me have been tinybuddha.com and reading about success stories and evidence that healing can and does happen. There has always been this "rational doubt" in my mind that I am trying to get past, but it is difficult. With time I hope that it comes back 100%
  23. I'm really not sure that qualifies as anhedonia - at least in the psychiatric sense. Anhedonia seems to come along with a general apathy (not directly related to attitude or the environment) and emotional blunting as well as loss of libido/sex drive and anorgasmia in some cases. Anhedonia is not about feeling dissatisfied in the sense that one would feel in day-to-day life. For example, a person may have a pretty good life, get bored and refuse to settle with it. This is not anhedonia, because it is arguably a choice and can easily change with a change in environment or circumstances. Anhedonia is a breakdown of the reward circuits in the brain so that things feel dull and there is a general apathy towards life. Many times, with anhedonia, even drugs of abuse fail to induce euphoria. Irritability or anxiety may persist, but in the absence of a viable outlet for release like cathartic crying, because emotions like sadness are muted. Anhedonia can exist on a gradient, but I think that there is a sort of "switch" that signals a "release" cascade. For me, at least, I may feel muted for a long while, and that "switch" is triggered, and then all of the sudden everything comes out. These are "windows."
  24. I don't have a relationship... I avoid situations where there are emotional expectations. It sucks for now, but it's better than being in a situation where I feel stuck with someone who I can't reciprocate feelings. This is the central reason that it's been years since I have dated. I have also frequently heard that relationships are not recommended in the first year of recovery from many psychiatric disturbances like alcoholism or addiction.
  25. http://www.livinghealthy360.com/index.php/recovery-methamphetamine-meth-addiction-stimulants-77694/ Since we have already discussed the role of dopamine: * Life Seems Impossible Without Meth * How would you like to wrestle an alligator with your hands tied behind your back? This is how it feels to get off meth. People recovering from meth addiction experience anhedonia, which is an inability to experience pleasure. This is caused by the brain readjusting to not having methamphetamine and thereby producing abnormally low levels of dopamine. The recovering addict has been literally "robbed" of these feelings by the drug and feels doomed to a "half-life" for eternity. Well-meaning relatives and drug counselors tell recovering meth addicts that they will feel better eventually. But that doesn't give the addict very much hope. Just getting out of bed in the morning, getting dressed, and putting one foot ahead of the other is excruciatingly hard. This process can take up to 18 months.
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