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












Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental condition that can cause a person to lose complete contact with reality which is known as psychosis. It also causes mood problems. It is believed that schizoaffective disorder is even less common than its similar disorder schizophrenia. Schizoaffective disorder is rare in children but happens to be more common in women than in men.

The exact causes of schizoaffective disorder are unknown but it is said that changed in a person’s genes and chemicals in their brain may play a role. Some experts do not think it is even a separate disorder from schizophrenia.

As with many disorders the symptoms vary from person to person. Usually those people with schizoaffective disorder seek treatment for the symptoms not knowing they have it. For instance some people will seek therapy for problems with their mood, daily function and abnormal thoughts.

Losing contact with reality and mood problems can occur at the same time or by themselves for those that have schizoaffective disorder. The course the disorder takes may involve cycles that go from severe to slightly improving.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:

  • Disorganized speech that is not logical
  • Changes in appetite and energy
  • False beliefs or delusions
  • Mood that is either too good, or depressed or irritable
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there or hallucinations
  • Social isolation
  • Speaking so quickly that others cannot interrupt you
  • Lack of concern with hygiene or grooming
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems with concentration

There are multiple signs and tests that can be done to see if a person has schizoaffective disorder. A health care provider can do a psychiatric evaluation to find out about the behavior and symptoms. In order to be sure a person may be referred to a psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis.

In order for a person to be diagnosed officially with schizoaffective disorder they must have psychotic symptoms during a period of normal mood for at least two weeks.  A health care provider or psychiatrist will first rule out all other possibilities. For instance some other things can cause the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder such as:

  • Abusing cocaine, amphetamines, or PCP
  • Having a seizure disorder
  • Taking steroid medications

The treatment for schizoaffective disorder will vary for each person just as the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder vary from person to person. Most likely a health care provider will write a prescription to help improve the mood and treat the psychosis for the person. For instance:

  • Antipsychotic medications are used to treat psychotic symptoms
  • Antidepressant medications and mood stabilizers may be prescribed to help with mood

Group therapy and talk therapy is also a common solution for those suffering from schizoaffective disorder.

Those with schizoaffective disorder have a higher chance of success and going back to their normal level of function than other people with other psychotic disorders do although long term treatment for schizoaffective disorder is needed and the results of course vary from person to person depending on the severity of their disorder.

There are also certain things that can make schizoaffective disorder worse.

  • Abusing drugs
  • Problems due to manic behavior
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Problems following medical treatment and therapy




Schizophrenia Therapy

Schizophrenia Therapy

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by an inability to distinguish reality from unreality, the inability to think clearly, and inability to experience normal emotions or to interact normally in social situations. It is common for schizophrenics to experience hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thoughts and speech.

Schizophrenia is a complex illness, and, like most mental disorders, no one really knows what causes it. There are, however, certain genetic and environmental factors that increase your risk of schizophrenia. For example, those at greatest risk for developing schizophrenia are people who have an immediate family member with the disease. As far as environmental risk factors go, living in an urban area, experiencing prenatal stress and substance abuse can all increase the likelihood that someone will develop schizophrenia. Abuse of pot, cocaine, and amphetamines have all been linked with developing the disease. About half of people suffering from schizophrenia abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

Schizophrenia usually appears in their late teens or early twenties. There is no known cure for the disease. It is a lifelong disease that requires schizophrenia therapy and other treatment.

Schizophrenia therapy includes many different ways to approach the disease.  The main treatment for schizophrenia is medication. Usually, however, medication is combined with schizophrenia therapy and social support. Medication is effective in controlling the psychosis of the disease, but schizophrenia therapy is essential for someone suffering from schizophrenia so they can learn to be productive members of society. Schizophrenics often need to learn how to find a job, interact in social situations, cope with everyday life, and have healthy relationships with other people. Schizophrenia therapy can help prevent unemployment, homelessness, and poverty, which are common among people with this disease.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often one technique used in schizophrenia therapy. This type of schizophrenia therapy addresses and attempts to eliminate negative emotions and behaviors.  Cognitive behavioral schizophrenia therapy attempts to correct errors in thinking through a goal-oriented process with a therapist. Role playing and talk therapy are essential to this type of schizophrenia therapy.

Family therapy is also an important part of schizophrenia therapy. The family of a person suffering from schizophrenia is often under a huge amount of stress. It is difficult for the family of a person suffering from schizophrenia to know how to best support and help them. The family needs support and resources.  Family schizophrenia therapy is important for person suffering from the disease because it essential that a person suffering from schizophrenia has a strong support network.

Social skills training is also a part of schizophrenia therapy because people suffering from schizophrenia often have very poor social skills. People who are suffering from schizophrenia often need to learn to cook, find employment, and take care of themselves. It is also important for a person suffering from schizophrenia to learn to take their medication properly and manage side effects. One of the biggest barriers to schizophrenia therapy is non-compliance with medications. Without medications, the hallucinations and delusions come back and the person is unable to participate in schizophrenia therapy.

With the right medications and schizophrenia therapy, a person with this disease can live an independent and productive life.