I am in need of some help. I am not sure what exactly it is I am experiencing. I may say some things which some people may find offensive and I assure you that that is not my intention. If you have the time to read and reply to my message I sure would be grateful. Please don’t judge me I am an honest person trying to figure out what went wrong, I may have made some bad decisions and I am not perfect.
A bit of a story: A year and a half ago I was diagnosed with having a psychotic episode by psychologists but not schizophrenia and experienced auditory hallucinations, and deluded thinking in the form of having thoughts of friends and other people conspiring against me. These thoughts would range from thinking that my friends are conspiring to kill me to calling me names, basically putting me down. Anyway I was told to take respiridone for the symptoms but later changed to amisulpride. the dose I took wasn’t that high (about 300 mg per day). And it eventually solved the problem after two months I stopped hearing voices and having deluded thoughts. I took this medicine for a year and stopped about 4 months ago. Unfortunately I feel like it is coming back again but not as harshly as it was the first time. One thing I noticed that may be triggering it is my alcohol intake, I drink a lot of alcohol on the weekends and noticed the auditory hallucinations get worse as well as the deluded thinking as I drink more alcohol into the night. I have since cut down my drinking so I am not drinking that much. However I have taken a drug (MDMA specifically) as well. I have found that this did not cause me to have auditory hallucinations unlike alcohol.
I have spoken to my doctor and he while he did not say what was the main cause of my psychotic episode. He instructed to me that I stay away from MDMA and cut down on alcohol for a temporary period. He stated that as time goes on I will be able to handle drinking alcohol in larger quantities. I know that you are thinking that it was definitely the drugs and alcohol combined which gave me this problem in the first place, but from what I have experienced I seem to get much worse on alcohol. When I take MDMA nothing happens, I don’t get voices nor conspiring thoughts. Which is weird because any doctor would be quick to point the finger at MDMA rather than alcohol. I’ll also add that before my psychotic episode I took MDMA with Alcohol sometimes. But I definitely did drink a lot, probably around twice a week binge drinking.
So the question is do I have Schizophrenia? Or is it just a brief psychotic episode which led to sympotoms that are similar to someone who has Schizophrenia? Also what would be causing it, the alchohol, or MDMA or both? My family has no history of mental illness, which has led me to believe that that this was induced by a combination of drug-taking and alcohol.
Drugs like MDMA alter brain chemistry, so even if it initially causes no ill effects, it might still be doing long term damage and causing the psychosis. You just wouldn’t necessarily notice a cause and effect, since it takes a while for the damage to become noticeable. Why did you stop taking your meds? A lot of antipsychotics stay in your system for a while, so you might just be starting to feel the effects of no longer being medicated. If you don’t want to take the meds again, you really should stay away from mind-altering substances for 8 weeks, just to see if it helps your situation. That way you can rule out drugs/alcohol as the main issue. Do your hallucinations seem to occur during more stressful times in your life, or are they kind of always there as a baseline?
Ah I see. I stopped taking meds after a year per my doctors orders. He thought that amount of time was adequate enough to stop other episodes from happening again, which in a way he was right. But obviously theres the issue of a relapse of what I just described. There seems to be more a of baseline rather than happening at stressful times. I just notice that when I drink it gets pretty bad, like it exacerbates the condition. When I’m sober sometimes I feel a bit of anxiety and when I’m not doing anything that requires effort or talking to someone, thats when the auditory hallucinations get to me. But they are somewhat quite minor to what they were before.
I’ll prob talk to a doctor about your suggestion of staying away from alcohol and MDMA for about 8 weeks or more. But to be honest I have done this before, I did not drink or do drugs for about 3 months after the psychotic episode and I got better. I drank a bit later on and progressively drank more as I felt that I wasn’t getting the symptoms anymore. For a full year of taking the medication and drinking and eventually doing MDMA again I had no symptoms. But when I came off the medication the conspiring thoughts and auditory hallucinations came back and feels like it got progressively worse. I was drinking quite a bit but didn’t MDMA. It really feels like that it was the alcohol that has given me issues.
If it’s a baseline level of hallucinations, that sounds more like schizophrenia. Mine also act up more when I’m alone, trying to go to sleep or driving or doing something that lets my mind relax. Are the hallucinations upsetting to you, or just something that happens? You might just be one of those people who need meds their whole lives.
When I first started my meds, I had to stay away from alcohol altogether, but after a year I’ve been able to slowly reintroduce it in small doses, up to the point where I can now get drunk once in a while if I choose. I usually just stick with coffee though, because it makes me act silly like alcohol, but it keeps me awake, whereas alcohol and meds just make me pass right out.
It’s still very possible the MDMA is what’s causing the hallucinations, even though you don’t hallucinate worse while high. it is a psychoactive drug that alters your brain chemistry, and with repeated use, that causes changes in your brain. You probably have an underlying condition and taking a drug that floods the brain with seretonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine repeatedly made your brain vulnerable to psychosis. Those chemicals are exactly what antipsychotics and mood stabilizers keep level. So when you were on your meds, the meds were counteracting the effects of the drug and preventing you from slipping into psychosis. When you stopped, you no longer had a safety net keeping you in check while you were high. In short, you probably have an abnormal brain, and that’s why the drugs affect you differently over time.
As an example, one of the meds I tried was Depakote. Now, for a couple months on Depakote, everything seemed pretty normal, but after a while, I started having visual hallucinations in addition to my auditory ones. I didn’t think the Depakote was causing the hallucinations, because they didn’t show up right after taking the depakote. But once I got off that med, the visual hallucinations stopped. So I know having an abnormal brain made the Depakote affect me differently than it has affected other people.
No one here can diagnose you. We’re not doctors. Even if people here were doctors, we still couldn’t diagnose you without running a comprehensive suite of tests ruling out other factors first. Psychosis can sometimes be caused by types of poisoning. Or tumours.
Well… ■■■■. I really did hope it would not come to taking medication my whole life to stave off this illness. But I sold my soul by doing drugs/alcohol, and I am paying the price. Guess I just have to accept the fact that my head just cannot deal with mind-altering substances.
The hallucinations that I get used to upset me and caused me to act very anti-social, back when I had the first episode, the reason for that was because I was getting it quite badly and I thought the auditory hallucinations were real. For me now I know that most of it isnt real but it kinda sucks because I always have to assume that everytime someone somewhere says something bad about me I have to assume its not real, lest I let my hallucinations get the better of me and act on them. A really frustrating problem, now I just feel angry and get a small drop in my self-esteem because I feel like people are always saying bad stuff about me and theres nothing I can do about it. Usually if someone said something bad about me I would usually confront them and deal with it on the spot (diplomatically of course, I wouldn’t consider myself a violent person). Not being able to do that however is very frustrating for me.
Do you think its possible that taking medication could completely solve the problem if I abstained from drugs/alcohol altogether and never did it again, would it correct the chemicals in my brain so I won’t experience the psychotic symptoms or will it always come back?
I realize that no one on here are doctors, I just wanted some opinions from people who have experienced these symptoms, I figured knowing more about the subject matter would help as well. So when I do see a doctor I’d be able to tell him the full story.
Stress can cause a relapse. So try to minimize that.
Drugs can definitely cause damage or relapse so don’t go there. Do you feel you need them ? Some self medicate with drugs. Better to take something legal with a doctors help.
Some people only need the drugs to recalibrate their brain chemicals, and then once they’re reset, they don’t need it as long as they keep on a good path. But things like stress can throw it all out of whack again, and every time that happens your brain is a little worse off. So while getting off meds might seem like an appealing goal, most people have to keep taking them to guard against relapse. But then again, some people choose to only take the meds when they are having episodes. I guess it’s all down to what you and your doctor think would be the best path for you. There is evidence that psychotic episodes cause a loss in gray matter, so that’s something to take into account.