Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

What is Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder?

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a disorder characterized by a continual presence of sensory disturbances, most commonly visual, that are reminiscent of those generated by the use of hallucinogenic substances. Previous use of hallucinogens by the person is necessary, but not sufficient, for diagnosis of HPPD. For an individual to be diagnosed with HPPD, the symptoms cannot be due to another medical condition.

Is HPPD the Same Thing as Acid Flashbacks?

HPPD may be confused with acid flashbacks. However, HPPD is distinct from acid flashbacks by reason of its relative permanence; while acid flashbacks are brief and fleeting, HPPD is persistent. HPPD is an actual medically recognized mental condition and appears in the DSM-IV (diagnostic code 292.89).

Causes of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

The cause(s) of HPPD are not yet known. The most current neurological research indicates that HPPD symptoms may manifest from abnormalities in Central Nervous System function, following hallucinogen use. One theory derived from this research is that the brain inhibitory mechanisms involved with sensory gating, or filtering out excess visual and auditory stimuli, are disrupted therefore allowing more information to be perceived at one time. This results in an overload of the senses.

What HPPD Looks Like

In some cases, HPPD appears to have a sudden onset after a single drug experience, strongly suggesting the drug played a direct role in triggering symptoms. But in other cases, people report gradual worsening of symptoms with ongoing drug use. Drugs that have been associated with HPPD include LSD, MDA, MDMA, psilocybin, mescaline, diphenhydramine, PCP, synthetic cannabis, and high doses of dextromethorphan.

How many people are affected by HPPD?

Some put the number at about 1 in 50,000 hallucinogen users develop HPPD. However, it is possible the prevalence of HPPD has been underestimated by authorities because many people with visual problems relating to drug use either do not seek treatment or, when they do seek treatment, do not admit to having used illicit drugs. Thus, it may be that HPPD occurs more often than is detected by the health care system.

Quick Facts About Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder:

  • People can develop HPPD after only 1 use of a hallucinogenic substance
  • HPPD is most typically caused by the use of LSD
  • About 59% of people with HPPD see geometric patterns on blank surfaces like walls. Almost as many, see false movements of still objects, usually in the peripheral visual fields. Others reports flashes of light, trailing images behind moving objects, and intensified colors
  • Most people with HPPD recover within a month or two after last use, a few take as long as a year


Natural Treatments for Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder :

  • Abstinence from using hallucinogens, until the effects from HPPD are gone
  • Valerian Root may help alleviate symptoms. It can be purchased over the counter at most drug stores and health food stores
  • Sun glasses may help alleviate symptoms. Most people with HPPD describe symptom onset or increased intensity of symptoms when they are in bright light and especially when changing from a dark environment to a bright one
  • Meditation, yoga, exercise, breathing techniques and talking about the experience (narrative therapy) with supportive and knowledgeable people may also be helpful












History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis, Ph.D., was born in Pittsburgh, PA on September 27, 1913 and was raised in New York City. He held an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Albert Ellis held many important psychological positions that included: Chief psychologist of the State of New Jersey and professorships at Rutgers and other universities. More importantly, Albert Ellis was the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now popular Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT).

In 1954, Ellis began teaching his new techniques to other therapists, and by 1957, he formally set forth the first cognitive behavior therapy by proposing that therapists help people adjust their thinking and behavior as the treatment for emotional and behavioral problems. Two years later, Ellis published ‘How to Live with a Neurotic’, which elaborated on his new method.

Albert Ellis established the Albert Ellis Institute in 1959. The Albert Ellis Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission was to promote Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy as a educative and preventative theory. The Albert Ellis Institute promoted Rational Behavioral Therapy’s practice and theory through training professionals and the public. Initially Albert Ellis ran everything from his own private practice as a psychologist. Then Albert Ellis purchased a six story townhouse in Manhattan in 1964. He took that town house that had previously been occupied by The Woodrow Wilson Institute and used it for his work. Albert Ellis donated the earnings of his books to purchase the building and to fund the running costs of the Institute.

Albert Ellis practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling as well as sex therapy for over sixty years at the Psychological Center of the Institute in New York. Albert Ellis also served as president of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He also served as officer of several profession societies including the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy, the American Academy of Psychotherapists, and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

Albert Ellis was ranked one of the most influential psychologists by both American and Canadian psychologists and counselors. He also served as consulting or associate editor of many scientific journals. He published more than eight hundred scientific papers and more than two hundred audio and video cassettes. 

During his final years he collaborated with Michael S. Abrams, Ph.D., on his only college textbook Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives. Albert Ellis also wrote an autobiography entitled “All Out!” published by Prometheus Books in June 2010. The book was dedicated to and contributed by his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis who Ellis described as “The greatest love of my whole life, my whole life”. He also entrusted the legacy of REBT to her. In early 2011, the book Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by Dr. Albert Ellis and his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis was released by the American Psychological Association. The book explains the essentials of the theory of REBT and is considered an excellent basic guide in understanding the REBT approach for students and practitioners of psychology as well as for the general public.




History of Therapy: Karen Horney

History of Therapy: Karen Horney

History of Therapy: Karen Horney

Karen Horney was a German psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to humanism, self-psychology, psychoanalysis, and feminine psychology. Her refutation of Freud’s theories about women generated more interest in the psychology of women among experts in the psychological community. Horney also believed that people were able to act as their own therapists, emphasizing the personal role each person has in their own mental health.

History of Therapy: Karen Horney: Biography

Karen Horney was born in Germany on September 16, 2885 near Hamburg, Germany.  Her father was a ship’s captain and was very traditional and religious. According to Horney’s adolescent diaries, she felt neglected by her father and believed he preferred her brother. As a result, she became very attached to her mother. At around age nine, Karen developed a crush on her older brother. When he pushed her away, she became depressed. Bouts of depression would continue to plague her for the rest of her life.

Horney devoted herself to school. She began medical school in 1906 and married a law student Oskar Horney in 1909. In 1926, Horney left her husband. Four years later, she moved to the US with her three daughters. Once in the US, she befriended other prominent intellectuals and developed her theories.

History of Therapy: Karen Horney: Theory

Karen Horney developed theories based on her personal life and how she was able to deal with her problems. Her theory on neurosis is still widely used. Neurosis is a “psychic disturbance brought by fears and defenses against these fears, and by attempts to find compromise solutions for conflicting tendencies” (The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, 28-29). Horney believed that neurotic feelings and attitudes are determined by the way a person lives, and cannot be diagnosed without looking at cultural background. In contrast, Freud believed that instinctual drives that are frequent in culture are biologically determined.

Karen Horney’s theoretical approach to psychoanalysis is describing it towards people’s personalities. The goal of analysis is to change the person’s opinions and perception of life by seeking self-realization. It helps people towards their best further development.

Basically, Karen Horney viewed neuroses as coping mechanisms that are a large part of normal life. She identified ten neuroses. These include the need for power, the need for affection, the need for social prestige, the need to exploit others, the need for personal admiration, and the need for independence.

While Karen Horney followed much of Sigmund Freud’s theory she disagreed in one major area: his views on the psychology of women. She rejected the concept of “penis envy,” that women in essence, are envious of men. She thought it was both inaccurate and demeaning. Instead, Karen Horney proposed the concept of “womb envy.” This theory supposes that men experience feelings of inferiority because they are unable to give birth to children. She thinks that the impulse of men to engage in creative work in every field is borne from overcompensating from their lack of power in the creation of a human being.




History of Therapy: Carl Jung

History of Therapy: Carl Jung

History of Therapy: Carl Jung

Carl Jung’s work left a notable impact on the field of psychology. His concepts of introversion and extroversion have influenced personality psychology and psychotherapy. His advice to a patient suffering from alcoholism led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped millions of people recover from alcoholism.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Early Life

Carl Jung was born in Kesswil, Switzerland in 1875. His father was a pastor. He was the fourth, but only surviving child. Carl Jung was an introverted and solitary child. When he was 12 years old, Carl Jung was pushed to the ground by another child and lost consciousness. Afterward, he had fainting spells frequently. He later explained the experience as his first encounter with neurosis.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Career

Carl Jung studied medicine, but he also had an interest in spiritual phenomena while in school. Later, he would combine medicine and spirituality into his theories about the human psyche. He eventually began to study psychiatry.

Early in his career, Carl Jung worked with psychiatric patients at the University of Zurich asylum. He wrote Studies in Word Association in 1906 and sent a copy to Sigmund Freud. This was the beginning of a friendship between the two. They finally met in person in 1907.

Sigmund Freud had an impact on Carl Jung’s later theories. It was this influence that led to Jung’s fascination for the unconscious mind. However, Jung’s theories began to diverge from Freud’s. He rejected Freud’s emphasis on sex as the sole source of behavior. Carl Jung became increasingly interested in dreams and theories. He formed his own theory called Analytical Psychology.

In the following six years, Carl Jung started to explore his own subconscious. He recorded his experience in a book known as The Red Book. The book was not published until 2009.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Theories

Carl Jung believed there were three parts of the human psyche. These were the ego, the personal conscious and the collective unconscious. The ego is the conscious mind. The collective unconscious is the reservoir of all the experience and knowledge of the human species.

Carl Jung also believed in the process of individuation. Individuation is a process by which the various parts of the psyche (the ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious) become integrated. When this happens, Jung believed, the person becomes their “true self.” Carl Jung thought that this process was essential for a person to become whole and fully developed as a human being.

Carl Jung once treated an American patient, Rowland Hazard, who was suffering from chronic alcoholism. He worked with him for some time and did not achieve any significant progress. Carl Jung then told the man that his alcoholism was nearly hopeless, and the only possibility of recovery would be through a spiritual experience. He noted that occasionally a spiritual experience could help alcoholics when all else failed. The influence of Carl Jung indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.