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curiousmind

Member Since 31 Oct 2019
Offline Last Active Jul 28 2020 02:48 AM
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Topics I've Started

Modafinil Experience

26 March 2020 - 08:52 AM

TLDR: Modafinil does something for my DP. 

 

I don't intend to write up a detailed review about modafinil, but I will say a couple of things.

 

So, I recently had the opportunity to meet a couple fellow DP-ers from this forum (wonderful people), and one of them happened to have prescription MODIODAL pills on them, he was prescribed the substance by a doctor. I do not condone my following action, don't do this but I'm stubborn so I asked if I could give it a try. (you guys are aware how experimental treating DPDR can be, and psychiatrists in my vicinity do not know much about this condition, and laws here are pretty strict, not much leeway in what they can prescribe you). But anyways, he said sure, he doesn't intend to use it any longer so he gave me whatever he had left, so 8 pills in total (pls don't take drugs from strangers tho). 

 

Disclaimer: I do not condone the use of illegal or legal substances that were not perscribed, this is very stupid. That being said I have done a lot of research into this compound, I will link the relevant studies below for information purposes. I informed myself as to the appropriate dosing, the less-well-understood mechanism of action, pharmacology and followed the necessary safety precautions. 

 

Anyways, I gave it a shot, first carefully upping my dose starting at 50mg the first day. I did this to test whether or not I was allergic to the substance, or whether or not I would develop a rash from it (one that could be fatal). After day 1 I felt nothing, no effect whatsover from 50mg, positive or negative. So I decided to up my dose, at 100mg I still felt nothing. 

 

It was when I tried 150mg that I could notice something happen to me. I sat down to read a book, and the first thing I noticed ~1 hour after taking 150mg, is a profound sense of euphoria, felt like a come up. Soon after I started feeling very on edge, everything began to look more sharp, lazer focussed feeling. I was a bit overwhelmed initially, but tried to keep my calm. It wasn't a bad feeling per se, most definitely tolerable, but I just experienced a shift in my state of consciousness that I was not expecting. The day went on, and it passed by really fast actually. Whatever I put my mind to, I felt more focussed and engaged. Things like reading were more engaging, and getting work done didn't feel like a huge chore. I stayed on this 150mg dose for a couple of days, and I haven't been as productive as I was on modafinil since getting a DPD diagnosis. Also, the jittery anxious feeling didn't happen anymore after my first dose of 150mg.

 

I had 250mg left yesterday, and I decided to take it all in one go. I took it on an empty stomach as usual, and as I expected, in about an hour I could feel the effects, and like the first time, a profound sense of euphoria hit me. I was super motivated all of a sudden and so started doing my work. The energy this thing gives you is fascinating, the focus you get from it is truly astounding, and a mental clarity is also felt. I did however stay up until 3 am last night, but this is because I woke up late, I took my dose at 9:30. It was as if I drank 15 cups of coffee that day, but without the physical jittery side effect. 

 

Conclusion: what does modafinil do to my DP?

The main benefit of modafanil for me is increased concentration and focus. It is hard to assess this one, but I did feel that my working memory was better as well. I don't usually like to think of my DP state as one related to brain fog, but if I have any brain fog at all, then the modafinil definitely seems to help with that.

The aforementioned effects are pretty much expected, this is what the drug is supposed to do and does do in even healthy patients, but modafinil seems to affect my DP in some incomprehensible sense, it is difficult to put into words. It is not a cure for me, it doesn't fix my sense of unreality, but it does do something to it. Visually things look more sharp, I had a better sense of spacial awareness and things of that nature. That being said, I was not as self-conscious and self-reflective while on this drug, so I barely noticed my DP at all, especially on 250mg. I only saw the task that was ahead of me, my mind didn't wonder off at all to check in on how I feel.

Interestingly, I also felt more negative emotions during my experience, especially at the higher dose––which is inherently a good sign if you ask me. I do believe that behind the layer of my DP I am emotionally exhausted and so these negative emotions were sort of surfacing during my experience. For example, I felt embarrassed in front of some people I was talking to yesterday, and I could feel the shame/shyness in my body––something that I do not sense at all in the midst of my DP. 

In terms of side effects, I didn't feel any, though I did lose all interest in sex. This is likely just because I was so immersed in other activities. 

 

Evaluation

One thing to keep in mind is that I took the modafinil intermittently, not continuously one day after the other. It was more like whenever I felt like it, or when I felt that I woke up early enough. If I woke up after 9am I would be reluctant to take it, because this thing has a long half-life, it has its effect on me for 10-15 hours depending on the dose. True enough, the 250mg kept me up reasonably late. Moreover I only had 8 pills at my disposal, so I cannot say how this thing would affect me long-term, I do think though that this is a drug that is to my benefit, and it is a pill I would take if I was prescribed it. In the studies where modafinil helped with DP symptoms, it was used in a long-term window [1, 2]. 

 

The research

The research is scare, there is no large studies testing modafinil's effect on DPDR, in fact, there are no published trials, only reviews [12]. As such, we are left with mostly anecdotes, and my testimony likewise fits into this category. 

There is a scarcity of studies concerning modafinil in general. There is some indication that it affects mechanisms in the frontal lobe and the hippocampus that are involved in reinforcement learning (norepinephrine and dopamine are somehow involved, yet the substance is said to have a fairly distinct mechanism of action from other stimulant drugs such as amphetamines like methylphenidate [5] and we know that when used, patients with depression make decisions more efficiently and effectively [3]. 

Based on the research and my personal experience I would say that if you are struggling with attentional issues or are hypo-aroused, then this could do something for you, but don't take my word for it, of course, always consult a professional about whether or not this is something you could/should be taking. 

One last question that remained in me was why did I feel closer to my emotions on a cognition-enhancing substance? There was a study recently published that said in relation to modafinil that "cognitive enhancing effects in the absence of effects on affective processing suggests a promising potential to enhance cognitive control in clinical populations" [4, underlining added].  So somehow, it is presumed that the substance affects prefrontal regions in relation to emotion regulation, and as suggested by the DPDR literature this condition is very much related to over-regulation of emotions (overactivity of prefrontal regions). 


Mark Huddon on psychadelics and the youth

20 February 2020 - 02:39 PM

"I ask Mark Haddon, the executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Canada whether kids and teens can safely experience psychedelics. And if so, then what would the minimum age be?"

 

https://youtu.be/WGK7jEFniF0


The No-Cure Model

16 February 2020 - 08:46 AM

There are many ways of knowing. A branch within philosophy, epistemology (theory of knowledge) is a discipline that deals with the question of knowing, and how it is that we as humans can come to "know things" about the world and ourselves, to put it simply. It is very easy for many of us who come from a well-educated background to only believe hard-facts, scientific studies based on "conclusive" findings. However, if you look at it from the branch of epistemology, a scientific way of knowing is not much different than a religious or spiritual way of knowing—in essence both require faith and both are belief systems at the core, never-mind the substantive component of these beliefs. In the latter you have faith in that a higher-being, a metaphysical force, a God is taking care of you and the universe around you, and you use this belief to explain certain things around you in your life, whereas in the former, you have faith in that a.) the scientific methodology is legitimate, that b.) the conclusions of scientists, researchers and scholars is valid and true (whatever these things really mean) and c.) faith in that those who are in the authority to teach us things about the world are indefinitely right. Many like to radicalise the two ways of thinking, one is usually thought of as the rational way, and the other is thought of as nonsensical by many of us today. However this polarisation is just an illusion, the receiver of either ways of knowing is subject to the same biological process in the brain when it comes down to that knowledge becoming stored in the mind and filed to enhance the way he/she sees the world.

 

Many of us with Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder (DPD) are trapped in the belief system that there is no way out, and that we have this condition forever because the scientific studies are inconclusive and they have not yet found "The Pill". I would like to refer you to the following (recently uploaded) video by Julian Cowan Hill who is a psychotherapist and tinnitus expert. In this video Dr. Hill introduces us to- and demonstrates to us the "No-Cure Model", and how this way of interpreting our experience is hindering our well-being and recovery. Julian Cowan Hill is a psychotherapist in London but primarily deals with patients who have tinnitus—a neurological condition—and he makes the sound argument that tinnitus is perpetuated by a loop of anxiety, more specifically the fear of permanence, the fear that you can never get better and that you will have this condition for the rest of you life. This unfounded belief system is what is thought to be perpetuating DPD as well as theorised in a 2003 study by Hunter et al. Many of us experience these symptoms, are terribly frightened by them initially, and then we come online only to find that "there is no cure", which falsely enforces the idea that there is no way out. Now, many of us have had this condition for years..."and I don't feel anxiety". It is the very veil of DPD, the very nature of this condition to mask and push-out of our conscious awareness the fears that we have been consumed by for so long (reference). I would encourage you to listen to what Dr. Hill has to say. 

 

Let me finish off by saying that thoughts are dangerously confused with reality. Thinking that something is true, even being convinced by our internal compass that something is true, does not make the substance of that thought true. I encourage you to question your belief systems, I encourage you to rethink how you view this condition, and I wish you all the best for recovery. It is possible, many have come out of this condition, what is your evidence that you won't too?


The only important thing to know

09 February 2020 - 02:26 PM

"Why do I feel like this?" --> your experience may seem to be, but is not at all inconceivable. Despite the commonly repeated heresy, it is not true that we don't know what is happening in the brain of a depersonalized person, this is a false doctrine. And no, if you have this condition (and are accurately diagnosed with DPDR), your brain is no different. Symptoms differ, it's a subjective discussion time and time again. "But do you have this symptom?", but the mechanism in the brain is the same for everyone, this has been studied for decades, and technology allows us now to see into what is happening into the patient's brain, to the best of our ability granted by most recent technologies. Please read the following, it is very well explained, easy to understand, don't get discouraged by the fancy brain terminology, whenever you come across one, just say to yourself: "a part of my brain", only two regions are important to really understand the basics.

 

"Medford and his colleagues have studied the emotional response of patients while they lay inside a scanner. If a person with an intact emotional system is shown emotionally positive, neutral, or negative images, the scanner shows brain activations appropriate to each type of stimulus. One of the brain regions that is activated when viewing emotionally salient images is the insula. Activity in the insula is correlated with "every conceivable kind of feeling," writes Damasia in Self Comes to Mind, "from those that are associated with emotions to those that correspond to any shade of pleasure or pain, induced by a wide range of stimuli: hearing music one likes or hates; viewing pictures one loves, including erotic material, or pictures that cause disgust; drinking wine; having sex; being high on drugs; being low on drugs and experiencing withdrawal; and so forth". [...] In depersonalization, Medford's team found that there is distinctly less activity in the left anterior insula while viewing aversive images when compared with healthy controls. "The emotional circuitry, emotional responses, seem to be switched off somehow," Medford told me. The switch lies elsewhere in the brain. Another brain region that has been regularly implicated in depersonalization is the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC)—an area of the brain thats involved in top-down control of emotions. Medford's study (on of the largest ever done [...]) found that the VLPFC was overactive in these patients when compared with controls. An overactive VLPFC might be suppressing emotional responses in depersonalization.       

 

The team took the study one step further. While there are no known medications for depersonalization, some people have reported improvements when they have taken lamotrigine, an anticonvulsant prescribed for epilepsy. Ten of the fourteen patients in Medford's study took lamotrigine for four to eight months, after which they agreed to be scanned again. Some patients reported that their condition had improved, while in others there was no change. Those whose symptoms had abated showed increased activity in the left anterior insula and decreased activity in the VLPFC when compared to the scans from before they began taking lamotrigine and when compared to the scans of those who were not feeling better despite the pharmacotherapy. "Whereas the people that hadn't improved at all, they were still very flat in terms of neural responses," said Medford, of the activity in the insula. The left anterior insula is involved in intergrating sensations from both inside the body (interoceptive) and outside (exteroceptive), and is thought to be crucial for creating a subjective sense of our own body and indeed for the sense of self. [...] while the VLPFC in people with depersonalization can be said to be "switching off" the left anterior insula, it's not under conscious control. "it's not a willed thing," said medford. "It's just happening. Things are being switched off."    

 

If so, this switching off should become apparent in how autonomic nervous system responses (which are not under conscious control) operate in people with depersonalization. And in fact, thats exactly what researchers have seen: if you measure skin conductance of the hand (an autonomic response) in reaction to unpleasant stimuli, people with depersonalization show very little activity."

 

Taken from The Man Who Wasn't There by Anil Ananthaswamy, bold and underlining was added by me. 


Steroids, Testosterone & Androgen Receptor Modulators

06 February 2020 - 02:50 PM

Anyone here on gear? 

 

Jokes aside, I would be interested in anyone who has experience using steroids such as clenbuterol, drostanolon propionate, trenbolone or pure testosterone/DHT, SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators) or anything anabolic in nature. 

 

Many of these compounds influence hormones/affect androgen receptors and are usually used by bodybuilders for muscle building purposes but usually have peripheral effects such as increase in sexual desire, better focus, increased motivation and euphoria. I would be interested in whether or not they have/had any particular effect on DP or DR symptoms. My purpose of enquiry is merely inquisitive. 

 

I tried finding information about the relationship between DPD and testosterone from formal sources and from anecdotes on bodybuilding forums but didn't find anything significant. 

 

I am also interested in whether or not anyone takes pre-workout supplements that include methylhexanamine (1,3-dimeth), these can also increase focus, alertness in the gym and can cause euphoria.