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Everything posted by itstrevor

  1. Meth seems to increase catcholamines to around 10x normal levels, whereas I was at a maximum of 3x normal levels. http://recoveredmethaddict.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/an-anecdote-to-anhedonia/ http://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/recovery/reclaiming-life-after-the-ravages-of-meth-addiction/ Overcoming Anhedonia Scientists and researchers know that meth affects the reward center of the brain. In effect, it drains the dopamine supply with the result that activities that used to provide fun, joy, and pleasure no longer are seen as enjoyable. Instead, they seek to lack the spark of life. This is called anhedonia. Even after a person stops using meth, this part of the brain takes time to heal. But the good news for those seeking to reclaim life after the ravages of meth is that the brain does heal. At the cellular level, damaged receptors and transmitters regrow within 6 to 12 months. Brain scans of recuperating meth addicts show the brain healing itself. Transmitters work again and dopamine levels rise. Maintaining effective recovery for a period of a year goes a long way toward the restoration of joy in life’s pleasures. You can begin to enjoy life again.
  2. http://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/52393-curing-pssd-getting-off-all-meds-and-feeling-fantastic/ http://www.paxilprogress.org/forums/showthread.php?t=50771 Hold on to these types of success stories to minimize anxiety spikes like armor protecting you from a sword
  3. In tapering SSRIs, I do not recommend taking 25mg sertraline jumps. If you can handle it, then do it, but sometimes taking big jumps causes people to think "uuuhhh I feel so terrible I must need to be on the SSRI this is hopeless!" when in reality taking 0.33mg jumps every day would have been easy.
  4. Yeah, distractions are basically the only way of getting something out of your head, thus less anxiety spikes. You cannot force yourself to stop thinking about something because in doing that, you are thinking about it. You have to replace an activity with another activity. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is also useful. Lean into the numbness, because that's when the brain realizes it needs to step it up and change. Green tea has l-theanine and caffeine, which I would avoid, but I'm not sure if it is that big of a deal.
  5. I dunno, my uncle has schizophrenia and had to come off of his antipsychotics after getting cancer for chemotherapy and he seemed pretty emotional after coming off of them. I really just don't see any possible mechanism for permanent anhedonia unless there was a physical lesioning of the reward circuits (like a lobotomy) or disease like Alzheimer's. I am seeing improvements even after a few years of this. I guess it's possible for it to persist years out, but even at like 5 years I have seen a small number of people say that it has resolved for them. Obviously saying "go exercise and get over yourself" isn't what I am saying, because it really is a struggle and finding your balance may not be possible at the moment. I guess all you CAN do really is wait it out, and from what I have seen, it seems like it is a viable solution, but there will be a lot of plateaus and frustration along the way. Out of everything I have tried, nothing has been a cure or even comes close to touching it except for things that are a dead end of addiction and tolerance that ultimately make things worse. It's probably possible for permanent anhedonia in some cases, but for the type of anhedonia I have at least, it does not appear to be so. I'm really not too sure about schizophrenia, because it does not appear that I have it, but I have read of improvement of symptoms over time with or without drugs in many cases. I was on the AAP Abilify for a large number of months, and it does not appear to have a permanent effect. I went on a few others like Seroquel for shorter periods of time. Persistence does not mean permanence, and it may be hard to get over the perpetual anxiety without having tangible evidence that it isn't permanent or is very unlikely to be permanent. Sometimes reaching rock bottom is the only way to force yourself to face the anxiety. In the end you don't have to DO anything but let the healing happen itself and just wait while maintaining a functioning quality of life and accept the current situation and whatever situation might be thrown at you. This includes accepting being p***** off at the situation which isn't really much of a choice. And yeah, there will be a lot of irritability and upsetedness. Let it flow and accept it (does not necessarily mean act on it). Like today, I got sort of angry at a girl I know - every time I chat with her she always tries to portray me as naive and somehow "inferior" - trying to "one-up" me with her struggles in life. I don't talk to her about all this that has happened to me - I'm not going to act on it - but I can't really release the irritability due to the anhedonia, so I just accept the feeling and let it gradually fade.
  6. I think l-theanine is a partial NMDA AGONIST, and consequently, it made me feel terrible.
  7. No problem man, it was the hope from benzobuddies and paxilprogress as well as people I know who have experienced similar issues help keep me going and keep the anxiety about it away
  8. To make anhedonia go away: BDNF UP NMDA DOWN PHASIC DOPAMINE UP PHASIC SEROTONIN UP ENDORPHINS UP ENKEPHALINS UP DOPAMINE RECEPTOR UP REM LATENCY DOWN PROTEIN, EXERCISE, LIMIT STRESS, ROUTINE, NEUTRAL OBSERVER, KEEP ACTIVE, GET UP EARLY TO WORK, EXPECT TO FEEL NUMB, ABSTINENCE FROM PSYCHOTROPICS, WAIT ...or whatever you can do to help with the list of items above (using something like amphetamine, though, for example, will DOWNREGULATE receptors which is not desired) Also, phasic serotonin firing causes a RELEASE of oxytocin (5HT1A receptor) and prolactin, I believe, is part of the "afterglow." Dopamine works primarily with DESIRE and Norepinepherine is mostly for AROUSAL. All of these neurotransmitters are important for proper functioning. You can't just focus on dopamine or norepinepherine and think it will work the way you want. You can try it, like I did, but I don't think you will get what you want. Dopamine increases interest, but WILL NOT give you that "touchy-feely" empathetic feeling you might be looking for. Phasic serotonin spikes (like those created from the use of XTC) produce that sort of social/pair bonding and empathy that dopaminergics will not provide. Dopaminergis also have terrible comedowns. In addition, norepinepherine-enchancing drugs can create anxiety, panic attacks, rapid pulse, and lots of other nasty things - you will feel more aroused and everything, but it's more physical and "adrenaline-like" in my opinion than something that makes you hedonic. I'm not sure about how to target oxytocin - I haven't read much about it. I did try bremelanotide - didn't have any effect.
  9. Dopamine agonists (I tried Mirapex/Pramipexole and Amantadine) did not seem to help with anhedonia in any way whatsoever. I've heard that they are supposed to work from anecdotal reports because they downregulate or desensitize presynaptic receptors (the "brakes"), but I'm still skeptical because they aren't exactly known to make people feel euphoric and such, and I tried both myself. They lower prolactin, but prolactin is a part of the "release" that terminates the desire/arousal/release loop. In some cases, excessive gambling and hypersexuality have been reported, however, but this seems to only occur rarely and does not mean that hedonia will be induced in the way that most people probably are looking for. Mirapex just made me sleepy and amantadine made me a bit jittery, if I can recall correctly. This is probably related to other receptors the two molecules hit or something, but I don't really remember. I wouldn't mess with them and possibly dysregulate the dopamine circuits. Also, expect that you will feel empty/anhedonic. If you expect to feel great during the healing process, you will just create anxiety/depression spikes.
  10. All of my research seems to indicate that anhedonia is a temporary condition that abates within around 3 years (depending on severity, but most cases seem to abate within 1 year). Studies repeatedly show the brain coming back to baseline after a variety of traumas, but it does take a while, and excessive stress (NMDA overactivity in certain regions of the brain) and use of drugs can perpetuate or prolong the healing period. Healthy distractions (living a normal life, exercise, making progress in life) can make recovery faster. I've had more windows since coming off of my last antidepressant, and have noticed increased emotional lability after getting up extremely early and doing heavy exercise (this has been shown to upregulate dopamine receptors and increase BDNF which both directly relate to anhedonia). Sometimes I have a deep heavy feeling of depression followed by a window. If the depression feels too intense, eating legumes (possibly in a burrito) and small amounts of inositol seems to help alleviate it (or at least tone it down a bit). One cannot simply "not do" something. One has to replace "not doing" something with "doing" something. You can't just not think about something, because in your attempt to not think about it, you are thinking about it, but if you replace that something with something else, it becomes a bit easier. Sometimes hitting rock bottom is the only way. You have to expect the numbness, but be neutral about it and know that it goes away eventually. I had to actually find scientific evidence and first-hand accounts to get myself to believe this and make the anxiety about it go away. Emotions can't be stuffed, and people with expectations should be avoided when possible (you will recover even if you don't). You don't have to DO anything to recover, you have to simply let it happen, but it takes a long time. Don't get involved in relationships until you are ready and FEEL GOOD about it. Expect it to take a while, but the given time frame should give you a ballpark estimate (timeline posted earlier in thread). Not everybody fits into the neat little times. Some people take 2 months, some take 6, some take 8, some take a year, and a few 2 years - sometimes 3. But after a while, you are able to live without thinking about it.
  11. Dopamine seems to be only a part of the puzzle, as the feeling I got from dopamine enchancing drugs does not fully encompass the "emotional" "empathetic" experience. It does increase reward salience and potentiates reward, but quickly stops working, and does not really increase empathy, just interest. We know that after chronic use of SSRIs or serotonergics such as MDMA, anhedonia can follow. Receptors upregulate and the serotonin transporter density comes back to normal after about a year: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/194/4/355.full.pdfGene expression controls the serotonin transporter. Not really sure where else to take this, but it seems to not be permanent at least (if receptors, neurotransmitter function/level, vitamin d levels, transporter density, and rem sleep latency are any indicators).The only reason I could possibly see it being persistent is if it is perpetuated somehow and prevented from healing and taking it's natural course. The brain really has to "calm down" in order to start recovering - excessive NMDA neurotransmission/activity is associated with the anhedonia/anxiety/depression. Not really sure what causes it to persist other than the limiting factor of how fast the sert density can return to normal and receptors upregulate. I think serotonin synthesis returns to normal (tryptophan hydroxylaze or however you spell it) too, but I'm not sure.Guess there is longer-term effect on serotonin synthesis that might in part cause post-serotonergic dysfunctions and be related to anhedonia in general: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11901216 These data demonstrate that in addition to the known short-term action as an uptake blocker, sertraline also exerts a long-term effect on the serotonin neurotransmission by enhancing serotonin synthesis. A similar effect was observed with another SSRI, fluoxetine, but not with the non-SSRI chlorpromazine. The up-regulation of TPH gene expression by sertraline was attenuated by the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor N-[2-(p-bromocinnamylamine)-ethyl]-5-isoquinolinesulfonamine, suggesting that a mechanism involving the PKA signaling pathway might at least in part mediate the long-term therapeutic action.
  12. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3523-success-recovery-from-severe-zoloft-protracted-withdrawal/ I believe it is persistent but not permanent
  13. Emotional lability is increasing for me, which is sort of uncomfortable because it seems like my brain is pushing the limits before allowing the "pressure release valve" to let things out. Eating legumes and sunflower seeds seems to decrease irritability/shaking/jitters, a small amount of magnesium/regular decaffeinated tea helps with sleep, and drinking sugary drinks seems to make things worse. It seems like some symptoms have flared up these past few days but I think it is probably because emotions have been locked away for so long.
  14. I've been shaking a bit and having a bit of intolerance towards sugar so I'm going to get a consult from my GP on Friday
  15. I think it has to do with sleep latency and when your body isn't getting as much sleep it wants you to sleep more, so it slowly you down and makes you feel more relaxed and sleepy. I think the body produces insomnia to make this happen too (natural sleep deprivation). I remember after having not slept for about 2-3 days the night I finally slept I felt 100% the next morning (this was about 2 years ago). I don't think you should force yourself to get up early because then you will resent it. Maybe get up early to do something constructive like run or work. Try to get in a groove, niche, or routine if possible. Try not to resent anything, but feel bad for yourself instead of angry at others if possible. That negative energy needs to manifest somehow, and the best way I have found is through self-care. People always say not to feel sorry for yourself or have self-pity. I feel that one has to be at peace with oneself before one can truly genuinely care about someone else. In this way, I feel like what these people say is complete bs. I think this is sort of like an economy, with anhedonia being at like rock bottom and it just takes a while to get the brain's emotional economy rolling again.
  16. This would have seemed impossible a little while ago. The best frame of mind is to keep yourself open to emotion, and never try to force emotion one way or another. Take a detached sort of observer perspective and let it flow or not flow. Understand that you will be irritable for a while while you heal, but that the things that you think you are getting irritable a result of are really not making you irritable at all, but that you try to find things that wouldn't normally bother you and pin your irritability to them "I must be upset because of ___." You will be fooled like this, but it does get better and the only thing you can do is try to let go, accept, and prevent anxiety spikes. Feeling trapped in a life situation can cause slower recovery, but often times people think that they are trapped and try to pin their emotions on situations when really they are really irritable and sensitive to stress due to anhedonia/depression/anxiety and a deficit of pleasure. Many people will try to tell you that you shouldn't feel this way or that way, or that you are being a baby, or a wimp, or that with everything going for you in your life that you don't deserve to feel a certain way, or that guys aren't supposed to be sensitive, or to "buck up," stop feeling bad for yourself, bite the bullet, everyone feels pain so why should yours be any different, and so on, but really I think that all humans are children at heart and are just forced to behave like adults, and stuffing emotions can hinder release and increase anxiety. Expectations and trying to force yourself to feel a certain way can make healing slow. When the emotions do not flow imagine yourself as a weary tired traveler and a victim to the psyche. Do not stress about it, but feel bad for yourself. Society sees anger and sadness as bad, but they are valid emotions and self-regard is required before genuine regard of others. Avoid contact with others who have expectations of you or your behavior. I have to deal with people like that and everyone else does too, but leave enough recharge time inbetween. The brain heals on it's own. You don't have to do anything. Certain things speed it though. In my case less sleep and going to work early seems to be speeding things somehow. I have been off of all medications for a month and 22 days now with this frame of mind with positive results after over 2 years of suffering. Reward salience is slowly increasing, sleep latency is decreasing (falling asleep faster), little to no anxiety, little to no depression, and crying with a release 2 days in a row. It's not 100% yet but it's going to get there if this trend continues. Even my vitamin D levels are to return to normal if the graph is extrapolated. Avoid eating sugary foods that cause spikes in blood sugar. Eat things like sunflower seeds and things that keep blood sugar levels even. I think this is more important than ANY supplement or amino acid or vitamin that I have ever tried. Instead of starving yourself then eating a bunch of sugary and starchy foods at once, be more balanced throughout the day (search a diabetic diet for balanced ideas). Avoid using psychotropics of any kind including canny bis, alcohol, and caffeine. When you feel anxiety increasing let it happen and think of it as the excitatory neurotransmitters systems coming back on line and try to re-route the energy towards your reward circuits. It will be uncomfortable but it isn't dangerous (you may have to reach rock bottom before realizing this). Think of it as the brain increasing pain in order to increase sensitivity of pain-relieving circuits. Think of it as an annoyance, but just sigh and let it run its course.
  17. Good news from me is I am noticing improvements - especially these last two days (probably catalyzed by being forced to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn for my new job). Emotional lability is increasing and I get really irritable followed by lots of crying and a variable release that is increasing each day.
  18. Speaking of ADHD, one friend of mine became blunted after being treated with stimulants for around 2 years as a kid. He reported getting better after discontinuation.
  19. You have to realize that the negative thoughts are usually delusional. There is an imbalance (not nearly as simple as a "chemical imbalance") causing a low mood. The first thing people tend to do is try to find something to pin the bad mood on. "I must be feeling bad because of _________" when in reality there is a general irritability and intolerance of virtually everything - even things that would not have been bothersome before. I had a letup in the emotional blunting today. I strongly suspect the reason for this was that I was forced to get up at 4:30am for my first day of work. I felt really tired, had a small energy boost around 10am, then crashed hard (really drowsy) by around 2-3pm. After all of that, emotional lability increased, which, in most people would be considered bad, but for me was refreshing. My suggestion is to slowly taper down with a milligram scale as slowly as possible to find the minimum effective dose without bringing back symptoms. Go back up in dose if necessary, but always do the minimum with a goal of eventually coming off completely. DO NOT STOP SUDDENLY The anhedonia lasts from a few months to a maximum of around 3 years if left alone (with no drugs or excessive stress added). Don't worry about little things be "excessive stress" if you would normally be able to handle them. I'm talking about emotional or even physical abuse, relationship issues, etcetera. I frequently see this as the time frame people report being "back to baseline" after MDMA abuse or SSRI withdrawal. I have heard of others I know with anhedonia from other causes recovering in the same time frame. Some take longer due to the above-mentioned issues.
  20. Looking at success stories and studies that show recovery over time (recovery of receptors, neurotransmitter levels, neural networks, and so forth) seem to help quell the anxiety associated with possible "permanence" and I believe that this is extremely important because anxiety perpetuates the numbness/blunting. If you look at MDMA recovery stories you will usually see recovery within the time frame I have provided. Usually when I see stories of those suffering for longer periods, they use other drugs (including antidepressants), have anxiety over stressful situations in their life, or have other issues that perpetuate it. I think it would be reasonable to compare anhedonia/blunting associated with SSRI use, drug use, and "naturally occurring" anhedonia/blunting. All seem to resolve with time.
  21. If you don't believe me, look at recovery from MDMA. MDMA downregulates serotonin receptors (including 5HT1a, which we have been discussing is important for empathy and emotion). With heavy MDMA use, these receptors are not only desensitized/downregulated but often ameliorated. People recover from that. I read it often takes several months up to 3 years, but recovery does happen (unless the person continues using psychotropics, is unhealthy, has unhealthy habits, is diseased, or overly stressed). It does take time, but I am reading more and more success stories that point this out. Reading recovery stories will help reduce anxiety and the specter of permanence. Keep in mind studies that talk of "permanence" typically mean "persistence." In other words, people/animals are studied for several months to a year, and at the end of the study things aren't 100% so "permanent damage" is what is assumed (obviously that is an assumption).
  22. More good news is akathisia, a feeling of "restlessness" and a strong urge to "keep moving" abates after medication is stopped, and sometimes takes a few months to abate (seems like a sort of vague description given by the medical community and I have to wonder if this is basically just anxiety). More hope that this will abate as well. Read around, I have seen people healing 100% after months or years.
  23. Keep in mind that simple "downregulation" or "desensitization" of receptors is most likely not a permanent issue (see picture below from the DEA, for example), nor are neurotransmitter levels (for example, my catecholamine levels returned to normal after having been elevated to 3x normal levels). Hormones are most likely not the issue (in my case anyways, as shown by my lab tests). I don't believe that this syndrome is caused by neurotoxicity or physical brain damage (many have had brain scans done with no pathological findings). This syndrome is responsive to many drugs of abuse such as stimulants (only temporarily with these drugs as they do develop quick tolerance and can actually prolong the healing process) and to ECT (temporarily). Many have reported the anhedonia lifting after periods of time ranging from weeks to 3 years. As far as I am concerned, the case is closed as to whether or not this is permanent IF YOU DO FIND YOURSELF RECOVERED PLEASE REPORT BACK TO THE THREAD AND POST YOUR SUCCESS! THIS GROUP NEEDS IT!!!!!!!!!!!
  24. Yeah nighthawk, that's basically this anhedonia in a nutshell. Looks like you have the exact same spectrum of symptoms. It seems from my research that it returns to normal (see the timeline). Even extrapolating my vitamin D levels over time indicates a return to baseline within 2 years (to hit normal/mid-range). It shouldn't be permanent, but sometimes it takes a very long time to normalize. Nobody should suggest SSRIs to help with blunting - that is really stupid in the majority of cases (like prescribing caffeine for insomnia). SSRIs can eliminate anxiety and anxiety perpetuates anhedonia, but so do SSRIs.
  25. Psychedelics also work in Brodmann's Area which is where I am pretty sure DBS acts on (seems less invasive). Remember that drugs can perpetuate and even trigger issues such as numbing, anxiety, and depression over time - especially ones that acutely relieve it. I have a bad feeling about Kratom and I know that stimulants are fun for like a week, but can definitely cause blunting after chronic exposure. One of my psychiatrists in the ward told me that there was a study that showed that after 2 years of non intervention virtually everyone reported recovery from a Major Depressive Episode
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