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Brain & Nervous System Disorders Message Board

Brain & Nervous System Disorders Board Index goes...this is a somewhat long, convoluted tale, but if anyone out there is fond or adept at problem solving, please read through..if not, skip to the bottom and see my absurdly long list of question.

A little over a year ago, I woke up in the morning with a strange, pressure like sensation in my forehead (please be aware of the fact that I was a recreational drug user for about a year and this change occurred about a week after a binge period of cocaine and ecstasy) -- accompanying this feeling was one of slight mental stupor. At first I associated the problem with a developing cold/sinus infection. However, as weeks passed, the pressure augmented -- I felt like my entire head was in a vacuum -- also the mental stupor evolved into something much larger -- I could not focus on anything, understand anything or articulate myself properly (literally)-- I felt trapped in the twighlight zone -- nothing made sense to me anymore and I thought I was going insane.

I saw specialist after specialist (general practicitioners, neurologists, allergists etc) and they performed numerous tests (like cat scan of sinuses and head, eeg and mri). They found nothing -- Meanwhile as I moved slowyly through life wondering what the hell was wrong with me, my depersonalization developed along with severe panic attacks.

I took every type of medication available (neurontin, depakote, nortriptyline, midrin) --they all worked slightly but the effects were fleeting, lasting only about 2 days. Then, I would revert back to my normal, depressed, anxious, perplexed, chronic pain ridden and intellectually hindered self.

Finally, I was referred to psychiatry -- my psychiatrist put me on clonopin and paxil because he thought that i was just really stressed -- again the cocktail worked at the beginning for about 2 days but then i felt crappy again.

Now, i am on 40mgs daily of paxil..granted, i feel slightly better but i still feel miserable.

What I really need to know is what the heck happened to me?

Could this have been a minor stroke?

Could it be severe anxiety?

What can be done for the head pain?

Why is it that now I can utter a few words verbally but not be able to continue talking coherently? ie, I say something to someone but then i forget what i want to say next and become lost and confused.

please please please,

any suggestions or just anything at all would be helpful.

thank you all in advance so much for your input

Dear Lost

I can totally sympathise with your situation. Like yourself I was a user of rec drugs. One night after a binge on E and Hash I had a huge panic attack and was taken to the emergency room. It started out as a extremely painful stomach ache and then I just freaked out and thought I was dying. 10 days after this initial attack I woke in the middle of the night in a state of absolute terror. There was a very disturbing burning sensation in the back of my head and my whole body seemed to be shaking, my arms were tingling. I would get like an electric shock type of sensation run through my entire body. This happened several times over the next few weeks. After each Ďattackí I would feel extremely detached and out of it and in a constant state of anxiety awaiting the next terrifying episode. Other symptoms then started to manifest. Shooting pains in my chest and arms, muscle spasm and cramps all over my body but particularly in my legs. After about 2 months I began to feel a strange pressure on the top of my head, like a numb buzzing sensation and it would feel like my head was going to float off my shoulders and drop through the floor at the same time (Itís the only way I can describe it). This sensation has now moved to the back of my head/top of my neck and it comes and goes, usually getting worse during the day. I get a similar kind of numb burning pressure that migrates around my face and head, mostly the roof of my mouth and across the bridge of my nose. It feels like my sinuses have been pumped full of glue. Itís really freaky the way it moves around If anything sets off one of my attacks it is an escalation of these symptoms. Recently I have also started to get a blue flash in my left eye. I can only see this when my eyes are closed or if Iím in a dark place, I only seem to get it when Iím really anxious and tense and it really freaks me out. Iíve had my eyes checked out and they are fine. I have been to my GP several times and she seems to think it is panic or anxiety disorder. I have finally convinced her to refer me to a neurologist, unfortunately got a long wait to see him (6 more weeks).

So at the moment I am just taking things one day at a time. Like you, I need to find out what is wrong so that I can start to get things together again. My thoughts are absolutely consumed with what is wrong with me and Iím sure this is compounding matters. I thought that I was losing my mind when I couldnít remember what people were saying to me or I would lose my way mid sentence. I seem to have got passed that by trying to distract my thoughts away from my own symptoms, and this is sometimes so hard to do. I have cleaned up my lifestyle and make sure I eat well and regularly and drink plenty of water. Iíve stopped smoking and cut down on the drinking and obviously no more party products. Actually when I am drunk is one of the few times when I feel somewhat normal again but what I go through the next day is pure hell, so I donít drink much very often. Iíve also cut out any caffeine, so unfortunately no more tea or coffee. I think that anything that I can do to make me feel better is going to be beneficial so Iíve been getting massages and going to an Osteopath. Iím not convinced they are helping my problem but I do feel reasonably relaxed after a session and that in itself is some relief, even if it is temporary. I try and exercise every day and make sure that I go to work no matter how crap I feel. I think it is important to try and keep mentally occupied, although I am the first to admit that my work is suffering. Fortunately I can still do enough to deflect the attentions of my boss. Iím not on any medication, my doctor is reluctant to start me on anything until my meeting with the Neuro. I guess I can relate to your frustration but unfortunately I donít have any answers. One of my big frustrations is that although I have told my friends about what is happening to me, they donít understand completely. Most of them think it will go away like some sort of virus. My life has been totally flipped but they canít comprehend because outwardly I still appear the same. I really try to keep a positive attitude but this is possibly the hardest thing for me to do. I try to take inspiration from others who are in a worse situation than me but coping better.

As for the drugs issue. I got in touch with a Psychologist . He seems to be an authority on what happens to your brain when you use psychoactive substances. This is an extract of what he wrote back to me.

ďWhat you are describing is probably an anxiety disorder, but a form of epilepsy can not be ruled out. I agree with your GP that seeing a neurologist is a reasonable first step, although I feel that the problem is unlikely to turn out to be neurological. Once you have excluded a neurological problem and had a brain wave tracing (an eeg), you should see a psychiatrist for an assessment. They are likely to prescribe something like paroxetine and refer you on to a psychologist for relaxation training. Of one thing I am certain: this problem is not 'caused' by the drugs you have taken. Many people have problems like this who have never touched any drugs.Ē

Although he has not examined me he seems to hold the belief that the drugs I took were not the cause but perhaps the trigger of something that I have always had. I donít know what to think really. I took drugs with the knowledge of the risks involved so I donít beat myself up over itÖ.I canít turn back the clock. Apparently it takes some time for Paxil to kick in so maybe you are still waiting for the benefits.

So not too many answers from me but now you know that there is someone else out there going through the same thing. Good luck mate and please post back if you find anything that helps you out, I will do likewise



[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 03-25-2002).]
Great to get some feed back fom you guys. Makes me feel like I'm not the only one trying to deal with this. I wish I did have some pills for analysis but it was 6 months ago and unfortunately I can't get the same thing.


Did the physical symptoms, like the pressure in your head go away once you started on the Paxil. I think if I could just get rid of those sensations then I could really start to make some progress. It is always some strange bodily sensation which gets me really anxious.

Keep smiling you guys

Have been reading the posts wit interest. I myself have not done drug so we part company there but I have the weird pressure in the head, dizzy in the head and the ground moving thing too. I was initially diagnosed as having labs and then is it in your head or the favourite is it anxiety? Any ways 3 years on I too had al the vestibular tests and YES I do have an inner ear problem, the result of damage done by the virus labs. So any ways just throwing that in for a thought. Oh and I had an anxiety issue a few yaers before so know what you mean about depersonilisation/derealisation, been there and done that and am fine now.

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