I'm new here. I'm 23 years old, and have been in good physical health for most of my life (no weight problems or other known physical handicaps whatsoever.) Being a former asthmatic (now I'm fine), I do have a severe intolerance to aspirin/ibuprofen based drugs.
My story is strange and fairly complicated, so just try to understand if it's a bit on the long side. Anyway, I've been on Paxil 30mg for about 6 years (an SSRI antidepressant.) Before I got into amphetamines, the only drugs I had ever taken while on Paxil were moderately high doses of caffeine every day, and in the year just prior to amphetamine addiction, one or two alcoholic drinks a week (contraindicated with Paxil, but I never noticed any adverse effects from such small amounts of alcohol.)
It should be noted that, soon after I began taking Paxil, I noticed I would get intensely euphoric effects from doses of caffeine in excess of 100mg. I soon became *seriously* addicted (strange but true) to the speedy, intellect-potentiating effects of caffeine, and began taking one caffeine pill almost every day for years. I understand that the vast majority of people get only a slight euphoric rush from caffeine--if even that--but to me, just one caffeine pill was a flat out EXPERIENCE that often lasted for up to 6 hours, producing a long "crash" period following the buzz.
But relatively young at the onset of addiction, I never really thought about the reason(s) I was able to get so much out of such a mild stimulant. As well, I hardly had anything against this "addiction" because I also knew that caffeine is very safe, especially considering the usual dosage for me was less than 500mg a day. Of course, tolerance eventually took most of it away, but for at least 2 years, I can claim that I got amazing results from as little as 300mg of caffeine taken daily.
But now I can only wonder what factor(s) could underlie such unusually potent effects:
a) An idiosyncratically high sensitivity to stimulant drugs in general;
b) A strange synergistic effect between the prescription SSRI (Paxil) and stimulants;
c) Some sort of "paradoxical" effect happening due to my "supposed" case of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
That said, I foolishly took the risk of trying prescription amphetamines last year (Dexedrine), and once again noticed intense effects at generally low dosages. I could take 20mg once a day (they were spansules crushed and dissolved in water) and get an incredible, albeit edgy buzz for up to 6 hours, followed by a terrible period of paranoia, depression, insomnia, lethargy, etc. This was the pattern for a few months, until strange things started happening. However, even though unpredictable effects were increasing, I was hopelessly addicted at this point and unwilling to stop intake, hoping that eventually the usual action of Dexedrine would return to normal.
This did not happen, and the addiction foolishly continued. Now I am left in a terrible emotional and physiological state, where I cannot predict how I feel on ANY given day. I no longer take amphetamines or other dangerous drugs, but the troubling symptoms that progressively developed during a 9 month on-and-off bout of Dexedrine usage (while taking Paxil), have not disappeared whatsoever and in some instances, appear to be worse. I've been almost completely clean of amphetamines for a 2 month period.
The symptoms I currently deal with every day without fail:
- I constantly feel intense pressure all over my head, *especially* on the upper left side, but also on the right and elsewhere. This has worsened rather than improved with time; now I feel as if something could burst inside my head, or as if someone is applying heavy force to my skull
-The pressure is interspersed with "crackling" sounds, especially when I swallow anything, and I occasionally feel short-lived sharp pains in various places around my head
-My veins, such as on my arm, frequently look bulging or more pronounced than usual
-I almost always have a feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest area, sometimes I get sharp pains there as well, which scares the hell out of me.
-I occasionally have shortness of breath, although this correlates directly with how "pressured" or painful my chest feels, especially if there is pressure in the middle of my chest
-I have feelings of "movement" in the head area, as well as in my chest, as if blood vessels are strained; followed by feelings of pressure or pain.
-My sleep patterns are disrupted; sometimes I can't sleep at all, other times I can fall asleep easily
-If I lie down on the left or right side of my head, the corresponding pressure in that area of my head becomes displaced, and increases the pressure on the other side of my head.
-I sometimes get whole body tremors, especially when the pressure is really bad.
-After eating or drinking anything, the tightness in my head and chest usually increases.
-No drugs work properly anymore, a huge problem because I can't afford to have an antidepressant work improperly--I tried to get off Paxil but got into a bout of serious depression and mood swings. Now, I can't be sure what the drug does anymore.
-My body temperature frequently seems higher than usual, and I sometimes have trouble telling what the temperature is in a room, etc.
-Because of all this crap, I can't focus on anything, I get bored easily, and I am very unmotivated, more depressed than usual.
-I also have digestive/gastrointestinal disturbances, such as elevated constipation, and a lesser appetite than usual. Urinary patterns are also different than usual.
Obviously a lot of this sounds crazy, but seriously. I would not have taken the time to write all this if I wanted people to laugh. This is what I am going through, and since no one is able to tell me what the exact problem is, I'd like some feedback or advice on what I should do, who I should see that can best diagnose the problem or recommend a direction to go in.
I am 23 years old and worried that these are serious problems I could have for who knows how long, and instead of disappearing, many of these symptoms are getting slightly worse.
Anyone else had an experience like this after amphetamine addiction?
Any feedback would be appreciated, [ removed ].
Last edited by moderator2; 10-04-2004 at 06:18 AM.
Reason: please carefully review the posting rules - no emails
Hi! Let me start of that I've tried taking something similar: met. I tried it when I went overseas to see my old home and old friends. They had access. I noticed the surprise on the faces when I ask for them to score some for us since I haven't tried it. Yes surprise, there good ol' boy who wouldn't even drink or smoke cig or pot back in the days is asking them to score some met. For the two weeks I spent there, I smoked almost everyday, my treat. Then that was it. I have no access to the stuff anymore since I came back to the US. I AM GLAD THAT I DON'T!
We are here for you, Bill. You've come to your senses that you have a problem and acceptance is one of the hardest thing to face. At least, that's what I'm dealing right now. Do you have any support? Like family, friends, coworkers, etc.?
Start seeing professionals before the unevitable happens.
You're only 23 and a have a life ahead of you. Keep us posted.
I appreciate the one response I got, but I took all the time to write details of my condition and no one thus far has any solid advice. I can't just wake up one day and notice all my symptoms are gone. I am 23 years old and deal with throbbing head pressure every minute of the day (mostly not painful, but it breaks my focus and gives me trouble hearing sometimes), I deal with chest pressure and pains every day, and I don't respond properly to any drugs whatsoever, including caffeine and alcohol.
I need some direction to go in. Please, I'd really like some responses that could at least ATTEMPT to point me in a direction to go in besides staying off amphetamines, because I know that already.
My advice would be to find a good neurologist... and fast. Not to scare you, but the symptoms you describe sound very troubling to me. You may have a medical condition that was either a) caused by the drug use or b) just happened to coincide with your discontinuation of the drugs.
If I were you I would start from scratch and rule out a medical condition first. A neurologist can give you a basic test to see how your neurologic functions are, but you need to be completely honest about your drug use for him/her to be able to help you. Make sure you give all of the details about where the pressure is in your head and the crackling sounds, etc. and the feelings you get in your arms and tightness in your chest.
Although I'm not a dr and no one here is qualified to give "doctorly" advice, I've had quite a few health problems - as have many others here - and I promise you that you need to see a dr very soon. I'm concerned for you. Please keep me posted and I'll keep you in my prayers and thoughts.
Not being familiar with your problem, all I can suggest is that you get a complete physical examination...and, then, if nothing shows up....see a few specialists that might know more about your head pressure problem. Vascular doctor? Addictionologist (Psychiatrist specializing in addiction); Neurologist?
Your symptoms are very specific and you understand them....so you will be able to speak articulately to medical people. And, since you are very disturbed by their effect on your life, I think you'll feel much better about your situation if various specialists can rule out specific illnesses...and possibly help the symptoms.
I would guess that the chances of finding someone on this Board who has had very similar symptoms is small, although posters may relate to some of them. But you might also try some of the other sites on this board. (There may be one for, say, neurology. I'm not sure.)
I do hope these problems abate for you. Just the worry alone is probably making you feel considerably worse! Wishing you good luck, Lynn
So sorry to hear you are dealing with such a mix of unusual symptoms after making the difficult, but very wise decision to quit the amphetamines. Please don't misinterpret the lack of response as an indication of apathy. I am reluctant to give you any advice on what could be serious medical conditions. I really don't think it's a case of people not caring about your situation, that won't happen on this board. I am guessing that it's merely a case of not wanting to give you bad, or incorrect advice; at least that was my initial reaction after reading your post. I don't know what your relationship is like with your doctor (if you even have one), but I would definitely make a point of seeing one. If you are reluctant to share your drug using history with your doctor, perhaps find a way to ease into it somehow. Make an appointment for a "regular check-up" and maybe once you're in the exam room you can feel a little more relaxed and more comfortable. I just don't think you should rely on advice from people on a forum such as this board (this is NOT to say that people on here aren't highly intelligent and experienced), but with your particular symptoms......chest pains, severe pressure on one side of your head....etc.., I wouldn't feel safe without seeking care from an M.D. (hopefully, a kind and caring M.D.).
Anyway, this is my 2 cents, for what it's worth. After reading your post about not getting any response, I didn't want you to get a false impression about the people on this board. I really, really hope you find some help and some relief in the very near future. Life is not good when you feel as badly as you are feeling, like I'm telling you anything new! Please take care, think about what you could be risking by not seeking some medical help. Let us know how you are doing, I know the people on this board and I can guarantee you there are lots of people on here who will now be thinking of you, and pulling for you, and wanting the best for you, myself included. Have a good day.............. Fondly ~ Jen
I appreciate the responses I got this time around. But there is one more complication to the problem--I currently have no health insurance, though I live at home with the family (I'm in my early 20s.) The reason being, I lost my job because:
a) the amphetamine addiction eventually strung me out so much, I could barely attend work because of "next-day" syndrome.. all you current and former addicts know about this, alcoholics call it the hangover.
b) I got the strange physical symptoms I describe now towards the end of my amphetamine addiction, so I was effectively hungover a lot AND dealing with abnormal symptoms (many of which have no link to amphetamines alone)
Now with this feeling of INTENSE pressure all over my head, and diverse pains all around my body, and this strain in my chest, it is tough for me to make myself go and get a job so I can get half-decent health insurance. I can barely read ONE page of a book without being distracted by the ringing in my ears and this sensation of something "crawling around in my head."
Being out a job, I've cost my family enough without health insurance. Is it even conceivable to get an MRI or see a Neurologist without breaking the bank? Remember that I have no health coverage, because I lost my job due to drug abuse and resulting "scary" physiological changes.
I'm really worried that I have something seriously wrong with me. I'm worried that I could have a brain tumor, because I'm talking I get SEVERE pressure in my head every single day now without fail. It's not painful at all, except only very occasionally, but it feels like something wants to split apart or burst inside my head. Or I'm worried I did serious damage to my blood vessels or something.
If it were the usual me, I'd be using drugs like alchol or something else to lift my mood and forget about it, but get this.. now NO drugs work properly. I suspect it has something to do with blood flow to the brain. The antidepressants I take don't make me less depressed (they worked very well before I got into amps and combinations of drugs), caffeine doesn't give me a mood lift like it used to, alcohol sedates me for 15 minutes and then depresses me and makes me woozy for hours afterwards.
I know I am new here, but what's a man to do without health coverage? I tried getting insurance from a local company, but they declined me because I have a history of depression and I take Paxil. ******* f****rs, I am so mad. It took them FOUR weeks to make the decision of dropping me. I am a normal, even good looking guy, not a goth or subversive type, just a capable underachiever who became very self-destructive. Plenty of regrets now, of course.
It is all my fault, but this sucks. How can I pay for a whole battery of tests with no coverage!?!
I am considering killing myself, especially if I have something very wrong with me. What can I do!? I am for real, and you can tell I'm smart, and deserve a chance to live better and do something better in my life.. if I can heal from this strange condition. The reason I took drugs in the first place is probably because, when I stand back and look at myself, I see a very emotionally retarded person. That's just a fact. I never progressed beyond that, so I had no way to feel good.
Please tell me what i should do.. i know this sounds intense, but I don't want to lose everything because i took MODERATE doses of amphetamines during a 9-month period. Either way, I guess there is no excuse for the amphetamine usage, and other unwise combinations I took to sedate me after coming down. But I also just don't know how someone, for instance the late Johnny Cash, could take.. in the twilight of his amphetamine abuse.. up to 20-30 speed pills a day, and 20-30 tranquilizer pills at night to sleep. And here I am in my early 20s with a potentially terminal state of health.
Please take a deep breath. I can't be on here long just now because I have to get the kids off to school, but I promise to come back in a bit to check on you. The mother in me wants to help you which makes me wonder... where is your mom? Can you talk to her? You are still a very young man and have so much life to live yet and so much potential. I can guarantee that she will want to help you no matter what. Some things are worth more than money, some things can't be replaced... YOU can't be replaced!!! I have more to say and I'll be back.
If you feel like your symptoms are bad enough to go to an ER, try one at a big urban hospital. The university hospital in my state accepts non-insured pts. It is largely funded by federal money and they do not turn anyone away. I have had stuff done through their clinics and never received a bill, even though I have an income.
Your problem sounds like only a doctor can sort it out. Have you had your blood pressure checked?
I'm back. Abby said what I was going to say about the health coverage. Every big city has a local hospital that you can go through the ER and they will treat you based on your income (or lack thereof) and do not turn anyone away. They must treat you! Take it one step at a time. It's the NOT KNOWING what's going on, I know, that is what has got you worried sick. I've been there. Start by talking to your mom or dad and letting them know what is going on. You need that support right now. Formualate a plan about a hospital you can go to and plan on waiting a while to be seen, but do what you have to do. You are important in this world. Like Abby said, it could be something simple as an elevated blood pressure that can be treated easily. Please keep us informed.
While I am NOT second-guessing your condition....I did forget to mention in my first post that I tend to have higher than average blood pressure. And..that feeling of "intense pressure" in my head (and, in my case, the base of my neck) is exactly how I would explain the sensation. I ALSO get a very similar sensation within hours of starting to taper from opiates--as soon as withdrawal sets in.
I'm telling you this ONLY to point out that similar symptoms can arise from so many differing illnesses. And, your overwhelming stress from speculating on the source of your symptoms--in addition to your sudden self-awareness of inate life "crises"--can all be contributing to these physical symptoms.
But--even knowing that there is often cause and effect between the physical and the emotional--your symptoms are way too real and immediate--to allow for that, right now.
Before you even summarize to yourself, one more time, the exact symptom chronology and analysis, etc. in your head (and, by the way--whoever gets to be your doctor will be darn lucky to find such an articulate patient!! :-) I would IMMEDIATELY do two things (already suggested by other posters.)
1. Call your parents...tell them you are headed to an ER. Ask them if they have any suggestions. They will be MORE worried and upset if you DON'T involve them! Even if they go with you to the hospital, you can still speak with a doctor privately...without them hearing any details you wish to keep to yourself!
2. GO to the ER. I agree that nothing is worse than NOT knowing. Even if all these symptoms have been doubled by your emotional stress...they are way too serious to just keep them"sitting" at the worry stage. You need an examination, tests, etc. You will feel better just by walking into the hospital...and sharing all this pressure ("inside" and "outside") with a professional. Don't stay at home because of insurance worries--I wish I could push you out the door! LOL! :-)
You're going to have a lot of second "Moms" and "Dads, who are now very concerned about you! You've thought through this entire experience in such an intelligent, analytical manner. But now it's time to let a medical person determine the "whats" and the "whys".
We'll be watching for your posts....anxiously! :-) Lynn
I dabbled with amphetamines several times just two years ago. I failed ADD tests on purpose just to get a prescription to them. My situation is like yours in a sense. The euphoria stopped coming and all that would come from popping the pills were very frightening side-effects.
I remember getting the head-pressure thing, but I never got it unless I popped the pills after tolerance had grown to a point. I always got pressure and irregular heart beats even after taking the pills. I had several heart problems ruled out and now the irregular heart beats have stopped. I have no idea what caused the skipped beats and chest pain - I might have damaged my heart slightly due to the constant speed.
I'm in 11th grade now. I started to use and got addicted to amphetamines in 9th grade. The addiction lasted only a few months. Thank God.
I have a feeling that the effects you experience is related the the earlier amphetamine use. And I believe that if you go to a doctor, you will find relief in those symptoms. But you HAVE to be honest about your abuse of the drugs.
want to add one thing. speed abuse can result in paranoid hallucinations sometimes. i know you have stopped taking them but it is possible this is psychological[in your head]. your mind is incredibly powerful and CAN cause pain, pressure, chest pains etc. simply because it is constantly obsessed on without letup. i have had it happen to me with marijuana addiction. the mind trip just had me thinking i had a recurrent pain in my chest which i thot was/ could be serious. i went to my doctor and had it checked and rechecked. it was a figment of my imagination. my mind had created the pain and because i thot about it continuously it never went away. in time with the doctors help i was able to put it behind me and the symptoms went away. it was very scary at the time though. i second the advice previously given in regards to the doctor and getting your a-s-s to a medical professional. stop jerking around with the excuses and get something done about this before you drive yourself insane my friend! i hope this turns out to be psychological. it IS possible despite what you may currently think. good luck to you
I do appreciate the support I've gotten here, very much so. I know some of you think that it's very likely many of these "symptoms" are possibly caused by a mild psychosis associated with past amphetamine abuse (I was using speed for about 3/4 of a month for 6 or 7 months straight, although I always kept the dosage to a maximum of 30mg a day.) Or, paranoid or anxious thinking. I am *naturally* prone to unnecessary paranoia and anxiety, and even OCD, why else would I have been on Paxil for so long? I still take it every day.
For the better part of 2 whole months now, I have not used speed. The last time I really used Dexedrine was two weeks ago, but for only 3-4 straight days, and before that, something like at least an entire month. All I'm trying to suggest is that I know speed makes me people create "problems" that are not really there, I HAVE had that happen A LOT when I was on speed, but now that I am not, I feel I can SANELY detect problems with my physical state that ARE there.
The problem with the argument that this "pressure and chest pains" are all in my head, is that I have other physical symptoms that I never had before I used speed. I now frequently have abdominal pains, and (without elaborating) I am having a LOT of strange difficulties with my digestive/excretory system (for lack of a better word.) So even if my mind is creating some sort of stress-related pressure in my head/chest area, the abdominal pains are now continually worsening. This is just a fact. I am uncomfortable all over the place.
Of course my mom thinks, and some of you might think, I am subconsciously creating a whole dearth of problems so I can just be lazy and do nothing and not look for a job. The fact of the matter is, I notice these symptoms when I am with friends, when I'm out in the movie theater, when I'm doing stuff and shopping in the mall. Even when I would normally be at ease with life, I am noticing all kinds of discomfort.
I told my therapist about these physical symptoms, and he thinks I should have it checked out. I told a good friend of mine, he also agrees.
Again though, without insurance, I don't know where to go. A regular doctors checkup will do no good, I'll just pay them money to look at me and have them "recommend" a place to go and get an X-ray, etc. I've got serious abdominal pain right now, as I type this, and all everyone in my immediate family expects me to do is get a job, and my problems will magically disappear. While I agree that may help, I don't know how that can take away a problem that all roads point to as physiological, etc.