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What is happening in your brain?


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Hi Parker....thanks so much for your reply.

 

I will take it all in and decide when I get a better nights sleep....today I am in a blurry place. 

 

I do believe that at some pt. I may need to consider the Remeron as I had chronic insomnia my entire life....or should I say when I developed Fibro....many years ago.

 

Have a great day!!

 

BB.

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Hi Parker!

 

Thank you for some useful posts in this thread and in others. Although you have been posting for a while, I haven't come across your posts. (I'm still working my way through a backlog of threads and my brain fog makes me much slower than I used to be at absorbing ideas.)

 

Over in the "Chewing The Fat" forum, we're puzzling in one thread exactly where healing from benzos is coming from.  Perhaps you'd like to look thru that thread and post any observations?  I suspect you may have some useful observations. This is the thread:

 

"How come GABA does not return to homeostasis even with slow taper? "

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=66069.msg883269#msg883269

 

-Zoner

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Parker...I really don't have any theories that can be founded on something solid. What I can say is the the omega 3's really cause my burning feet, hands and face to really ramp up. This usually starts about 4-5 hours after I take it and lasts on and off for about 24 hours. The funny thing is that I get a 1 day window 2 days after I take it. This has happened each of the 4 times I tried it, the last time being about 2.5 weeks ago.

 

The magnesium does the same thing to me and also causes night sweats that night, but I usually get a window within 24-36 hours after taking it. The last time I took it was on July 7th and my log doesn't show me any increased sxs but I was told by my doc to stop taking it because it could be messing with my healing (like she knows anything, lol).

 

I always want to see if the intolerance has left but my symptoms aren't really any better at 11 months out so I'm not sure that I want to risk it.

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Some of us have the MTHFR gene mutation. This makes wd harder, or so one doctor who has studied wd told me. I have this mutation. My brain cant absorb folic acid so my CNS isnt running as well "lubricated" as it could.

 

I wonder how many of us in wd have this?

I am not taking L methylfolate so hopefully my brain can feel better.

 

 

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And just to think -- this whole time -- I thought my brain had been hijacked by garden gnomes.  I like your theory a bit better.  ::)

 

Oh the gnomes are real. >:D

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Some of us have the MTHFR gene mutation. This makes wd harder, or so one doctor who has studied wd told me. I have this mutation. My brain cant absorb folic acid so my CNS isnt running as well "lubricated" as it could.

 

I wonder how many of us in wd have this?

I am not taking L methylfolate so hopefully my brain can feel better.

 

RFB,

I had never heard of this.  Thanks for sharing. I would like to know more...  Can you explain?

 

Also - at first, I thought you were joking when you said "MTHFR gene mutation" - gene mutation.. and I was thinking.. I have that, too!  This sure is one MTHFR of a recovery experience!!  :laugh:

 

:)Parker

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RFB- Methylfolate is folic acid,isn't it.  and also known as Deplin?  So the idea that if your brain can't absorb it, then having it floating around in there would not be a good idea?  Is that right?

Can you give me a link to any info you might have about this and the effect it would have on the brain in w/d and not in w/d....thanks!

Hoping

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Some of us have the MTHFR gene mutation. This makes wd harder, or so one doctor who has studied wd told me. I have this mutation. My brain cant absorb folic acid so my CNS isnt running as well "lubricated" as it could.

 

I wonder how many of us in wd have this?

I am not taking L methylfolate so hopefully my brain can feel better.

 

There is a test to get this checked , I just ordered it on line, to see if I have the MTHFR Gene Mutation , I just started to learn abt this from a Friend of Mine that is a retired MD .

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There are 2 copies of the gene & if both are mutated more serious treatment is required but this is relatively uncommon. The more common mutation is the inability to break down folate into its usable form & this can be adressed by taking the methylated form which bypasses the step which the enzyme would otherwise perform.

 

There are not many well set out internet resources on this, (maybe a job for you, Parker), but the first para of this blog explains the genetic position well:

 

http://www.squidoo.com/mthfr

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Hi Parker!

 

Thank you for some useful posts in this thread and in others. Although you have been posting for a while, I haven't come across your posts. (I'm still working my way through a backlog of threads and my brain fog makes me much slower than I used to be at absorbing ideas.)

 

Over in the "Chewing The Fat" forum, we're puzzling in one thread exactly where healing from benzos is coming from.  Perhaps you'd like to look thru that thread and post any observations?  I suspect you may have some useful observations. This is the thread:

 

"How come GABA does not return to homeostasis even with slow taper? "

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=66069.msg883269#msg883269

 

-Zoner

 

Thank you for the invite, Zoner! This gives me something to read tomorrow and delve into. :)

 

:)Parker

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My brain is more akin to the restoration of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona than your twin towers analogy Parker.

 

 

http://www.eflalt.bravepages.com/images/A%20Sagrada%20Familia1.jpg

 

 

It sure is taking as long.  :laugh:

 

Oscar

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Thanks so much! I should have read this before I wrote my depressing post . . .

That was really helpful and put my own A&P and cell biology to use!

Thank you!

Mustardseed

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I'm a little late to the discussion but wanted to comment on this

 

Frontal Lobe This is the part of the brain behind the front of the skull. It is responsible for planning things. For making decisions. For inhibiting emotions appropriately.  It is the part of the brain you need if you want to make a sandwich and need to get out the ingredients and actually make the sandwich. I have seen people with brain injury be able to TELL you how to make a sandwich - but when they are standing there in front of all the ingredients, they cannot actually move to act to make it! They have frontal lobe damage. They can TELL someone how to make it. But they cannot themselves initiate doing it! As you can imagine, with therapy, and time to heal, this goes away. And we are a lot like this - but it goes away for us, too.  I could not organize my children't toys just 4 months ago.  Not a simple room of toys. I didn't know where to start and I literally could not mentally do it. I imagine this is partly why.  No frontal lobe GABA. :) And too much Glutamate.  But now, check out this post I"m typing.  Obviously that changed. :)

This calms down and these things come back.

 

I had to read this a couple times.. this describes *exactly* what has been going throuhg my head over the past year..  I used to have so much more energy to get things done.. I mean when I get going, I work hard.. but getting started on a project that has become the hard part.  I will sit and think about what has to be done.. I'll *look* at the work to be done and analyze it.. process it, make sure I am planning things the right way. 

 

It's interesting though. some of this isn't necessarily a bad thing because I used to be a little over-eager at times and might make mistakes from acting without thinking.  It's been a learning thing with me and I hope the experience with the benzo.. the slowing down and thinking about things.. I hope some of that remains with me as I continue in withdrawal and get back to a sense of normalcy.

 

Anyway my 2cents. 

 

 

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Dear Parker,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time write this explanation; I've been hoping for something like this to appear.

 

Gratitude,

sofar

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Interesting post about the brain, Parker.  You alluded in some posts to the broader nervous system which I think is an important aspect of healing as well.  In other words, the CNS (Central Nervous System) is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord is largely responsible for transmitting nerve impulses from the peripheral nervous system back to the brain for processing. I think a large part of healing in the second year off the benzo involves the overall nervous system, of which the brain is a part.  For example, some have reported ongoing tingling, burning or other nerve sensations or fatigue into the second year despite having noticed improvements in cognitive functioning. other symptoms and/or perhaps some improvements in mood.  In my case, for example, I felt 85% healed by a year off but the last 10-15% of healing seemed more stubborn, more subtle and almost broader based.  Some have posted feeling like their nervous system was more "vulnerable" to stress.  Perhaps the nerves or transmission of them remain sensitive despite the brain being mostly healed?  Any thoughts?  That is not to take anything away from your excellent summary of some of the possible reactions of the brain during withdrawal from a benzo.  Just wanted to add something about the nerves and spinal cord.  I think you touched some on the nerves in your addendum on pain.  By the way, an excellent science based book about the brain and how we can change our brain through mindfulness is "The Emotional Life of Your Brain" by Dr. Richard Davidson, published earlier this year.  I appreciate your comments about this process being more about recovery than "withdrawal" which seems to be a term that sometimes gets overused.  Recovery seems to me to be more optimistic, at least when referring to the healing that takes place after the benzo is out of the system, particularly after the "acute withdrawal" of the first few weeks or couple of months off.

 

Vertigo

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And just to think -- this whole time -- I thought my brain had been hijacked by garden gnomes.  I like your theory a bit better.  ::)

 

I wish is just cute little gnomes.... I feel possessed!

 

 

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Parker, sometimes I can feel love towards my husband for example but it only lasts a few minutes. Then the positive emotion goes away or is replaced by a negative emotion like anger or fear for no reason. Do you know why this happens? Is my brain running out of the necessary neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, etc. to make the emotion stay? What I cannot understand is why it changes to a negative emotion all of a sudden :(
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Interesting post about the brain, Parker.  You alluded in some posts to the broader nervous system which I think is an important aspect of healing as well.  In other words, the CNS (Central Nervous System) is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord is largely responsible for transmitting nerve impulses from the peripheral nervous system back to the brain for processing. I think a large part of healing in the second year off the benzo involves the overall nervous system, of which the brain is a part.  For example, some have reported ongoing tingling, burning or other nerve sensations or fatigue into the second year despite having noticed improvements in cognitive functioning. other symptoms and/or perhaps some improvements in mood.  In my case, for example, I felt 85% healed by a year off but the last 10-15% of healing seemed more stubborn, more subtle and almost broader based.  Some have posted feeling like their nervous system was more "vulnerable" to stress.  Perhaps the nerves or transmission of them remain sensitive despite the brain being mostly healed?  Any thoughts? 

 

Vertigo

 

Hey Verti,

 

I have a few ideas about all of this.... in no certain order...

 

I feel like - at least in my case - the healing that is going on truly "IS" linear - but the perception of it is not.  For example - it's not as if the skin nerve endings just are "broken" and then finally begin to register pain at some point a year off because that is when they finally begin to heal. My guess is that they are healing all along - and that for whatever reason -  we are finally able to perceive the sensation of that healing further down the line....

 

Example: -- I've seen people who have horrid mental symptoms (I was one of them) in the first year - and as a part of that, I believe I was literally unable to process many sensation cortically.  I couldn't smell, taste very well, feel temperature accurately on my skin.  It is likely that I also just couldn't process the pain that "may have" been present, but which I was unable to "feel" with the cortical glutamate storm going on.  It's almost like I sense things coming back - smell, taste, feeling - and THEN I began to feel the pain.  In my particular case, I just dont' think I was registering much of anything- and then I began to register everything.  So - it may be that there is a grey matter processing issue in the beginning.

 

I know that in the PNS, healing can take a good year - but those are cases where a nerve axon is cut or damaged and has to grown back distally, etc. etc.  (I remember SOME of this from school, but not to great detail.)  But in our case, there isn't that type of physical trauma - so I can't really guesstimate why the PNS seems to take so long to register symptoms from a typical PNS-healing model.  That's why I tend to lean towards the idea that "we dont' feel pain until we are truly able to process it again".  This may be why folks with few mental symptoms out of the chute have physical symptoms right away - and why those of us with major mental symptoms have a latent physical response - due to lack of initial processing of physical sensation.  BUT - this is just SUCH a rough theory - and it's only based on my own experience and a bunch of guessing. :)

 

I also dont' quite know what to make of the ongoing overly sensitive nervous system.  But some of this, in my experience, seems to be due to the speed at which I can release and absorb GABA.  A buncha stuff is "better" up there.  But I notice things like this:

When I go outside on a sunny day and come back inside, my eyes take QUITE A BIT longer to adjust to the inside light than they ever used to prior to this experience.  They DO adjust - but what might have been a 20 second process currently takes about 60 seconds. IN the meantime, colors look washed out for a good minute after I come inside.  I surmise that what is happening is that GABA is required to "dampen" the nerve impulses that are signaling "sunlight sunlight sunlight" to the brain.  And the dampening DOES happen, but it takes longer than it used to. (I'm not healed yet.) This is just a visual thing, but if that is happening all across the brain, it may be that a small amount of stress - which used to be able to be "counteracted" in "real time" by GABA - cannot YET be handled as quickly - and so instead of an immediate GABA response that curbs stress -you get a small delay - which is just enough to allow the parasympathetic nervous system to allow too much adrenaline into the system - and voila - a little stress equals a disproportionate physical response to the size of the trigger. But again  - just an idea running around in my mind.  I imagine that as time goes on and helaing continues, the brain heals and gets closer and closer to handling stressful stimuli in a real-time manner that we are accustomed to pre-benzos.  If GABA can come in and dampen a stress response prior to the unnecessary release of a big adrenaline, then what you would get is a little stress - yes - but a little stress that doesn't cause the major upheaval that still occurs while the healing is still happening. 

 

Another way to look at this would be that during latter stages of recovery, the nervous system is mostly healed perceptively in the everyday nature of things, but truly- at a deeper level - is NOT healed - and is still requiring more time to come to a point of full healing. Still - I bet this feels a whole lot better than to be sitting on the couch early on and reacting even in the presence of  NO stress.  ;)  I'm still in that boat. My nervous system is still reacting willy nilly without any stimulus whatsoever... but at least the reaction is less than it used to be.

 

The hierarchy I've experienced has been the following:

 

acute withdrawal: major nervous system reaction 24/7 in the presence of no stressful stimuli

early recovery: 3-6 months - same

6-8 months: nervous system begins to calm down - reacting 80% of the time in the presence of no stimuli, but beginning to exhibit calm the other 20% of the time

8-10 months - reacting  to nothing 70% of the time (but the reaction is much less intense), calm 30% of the time

10-12 -

12 months - reacting 50% of time (but of mild intensity), other 50% of time, establishing equilibrium stress-wise

 

I think I am not quite to the point in healing that you were at by one year, Verti.  It's taking me longer. I think this is the case for many buddies. But I think we all probably follow the same pattern, if even in a completely unique timeline.  We all go through a phase where our bodies are just flipping out just sitting on the couch. Then over time, the calm begins to settle on us, but we are still flipping out.  Then eventually we are calm most of the time but sensitve to ANY stimuli, and finally, able to handle "real life" in "real time" again, including stress, coffee, and a little wine. (I hope!) :)

 

Just some of my ideas.  What do you think?

 

:)Parker

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Parker, sometimes I can feel love towards my husband for example but it only lasts a few minutes. Then the positive emotion goes away or is replaced by a negative emotion like anger or fear for no reason. Do you know why this happens? Is my brain running out of the necessary neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, etc. to make the emotion stay? What I cannot understand is why it changes to a negative emotion all of a sudden :(

 

The same thing happens to me, Mmir. Makes me feel like a crazyperson. :) I don't know exactly why. Yours is a plausible explanation for sure. Also - I look at it like I'm getting little "seizures" in differnet parts of my brain... like anger, irritation, bad feelings out of nowhere.  Could be lack of serotonin, or could be those parts of the brain being electrically "hit"...or both and more.  When this happens, I am beginning to recognize it's not logical, but physical. I often retreat to a place by myself, take my ipod, play some music or a youtube video that makes me sentimental -then I cry - and between the release of endorphins and the clearing of the chemical "waste" in my brain, I am able to re-establish the decent mood. But this ability is very recent for me.  Other times, if I haven't slept well or gotten enough sleep, I am just stuck in that mood until I am better rested. 

 

:)Parker

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We all experience exactly what you have described, but for most it is only later in our recovery that pieces of this withdrawal puzzle are coming in place.  I remember when my mental symptoms were so bad that the only I could do was to give my self three years to wait to think about what was going on.  It was my way of not listening to the thoughts and I figured hopefully by then I wouldn't have to think if it was real or not.  Three years might have been too long, but with the amount of mental symptoms, I figured I should be better by then.

 

I was pondering, however, if you have any thought on the role food plays during withdrawal.  I c/t from 5.5 mg of Klonopin.  After two weeks, I ended up in the ER with extremely high, uncontrollable blood pressure, which was my first lessen about benzos being addictive.  I had to go back on, which I would only take 1.5 mg per day.  I tapered from there for the next 18 months.  During that time, my BP was all over the place.  However, 1 months after I went back on I started with heaviness on my chest.  It felt like there was an anvil laying on top of it.  There was nothing I could do to relieve this pressure and had to undergo multiple of tests, which, what you would predict, showed nothing, and I had to live with it hoping one day it would pass.

 

After I was done with my taper and was 6 months off, I was feeling much better and my bp was returning back to normal, but the heaviness remained.  I received my annual flu shot and withing 2 weeks, I had trouble moving my legs and arms and was thrown back into horrid withdrawal.  My bp plummeted then stabilized and from that point has been normal ever since.

 

After seeing two neurologist I was given flexeril for horrid head spasms.  I see now I shouldn't have taken it, but while in such distress, I gave in.  It didn't take long for that med to trigger all new mental symptoms that I never had the first 2 years in withdrawal while tapering or when I was off.  I would read about the mental symptoms and was so happy I didn't have to experience them, but that wasn't the case anymore.  I stopped the flexeril immediately, but the damage was done, the mental symptoms were pouring into my brain.

 

The moment I stopped the flexeril and the mental stuff took over, I became extremely sugar intolerant.  Beside cutting out sweets, I would notice that pasta gave me extreme fatigue and heaviness.  But the very interesting point is that the moment I stopped eating sugar, the heaviness on my chest that plagued me for 2 years, completely went away.  That was my first piece to the puzzle that food played a roll in withdrawal.

 

Over the next year, as the mental symptoms were very slowly diminishing and I was able to eat more, I tried a little sugar again, and after a few weeks, I crashed again, and started bloating and experiencing tightness in my stomach along with this pinching belly sensation, but the most interesting thing is that the heaviness came back on my chest, which told me that the heaviness has always been sugar related.  Once again I stabilized.  However, being bored with those foods, I tried some fruit and small bites of cake, and this time when I crashed, I became intolerant to dairy.  After more time passed, I tried small amounts of sugar again and then crashed and became intolerant to gluten.  An alternative doctor told me I now had Candida.  By that point, my entire GI had almost stopped working, nothing was moving.  Once I completely changed my diet to vegetable and meat, and cut out about 95% of everything else, things really started to improve. 

 

Over time I have had enough healing to realize that sugar was my trigger, and each time I reintroduced sugar, something happened that eliminated more foods from my list.  It was only when I stopped eating gluten that my benzo belly disappeared.  Another very interesting item is that as long as I only eat the limited foods on my "good food" list, It is like I am almost normal, and I can keep symptoms at bay, however the smallest amount of the "bad foods" can send me into a horrid wave, which is usually gone by the next day.  This isn't an allergic reaction, but somehow the way certain food metabolize inside of me are being processed correctly. 

 

I wonder if I will ever be able to eat normally again.  It seems like my insides are raw, like if you have an open scab on your arm and someone puts salt on it and it burns.  Possibly my insides are raw and until it "scabs" over, foods are like that burning salt to me.  It's hard to explain.  I don't think in the beginning when were are new to withdrawal and very ill that we would have ever seen the connection between food and symptoms, but over and over it has become self-evident that food should be taken into account, especially in people that seem stuck in healing.  I have thought a lot about if I had this information i the early months, if this could have aided in my symptoms before my GI got to the point of almost turning off.

 

I would love your interpretation of the role food plays in withdrawal.  Thank you!

 

Lisa

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