Flashbacks are episodes where an individual may experience hallucinations similar to when tripping on hallucinogenics. These may take the form of geometrical shaped patterns, halos, blurring of images or TV snow.
It is estimated that 25% of people who have taken hallucinogenics, such as magic mushrooms, LSD and mescaline will suffer from flashbacks or HPPD during their lives. HPPD stands for hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.
HPPD differs from schizophrenia or psychosis as it is a visual perception disorder only and mental faculties and emotions are not affected, although the individual may experience some anxiety about what the are seeing. The length of the flashback may be hours or weeks or months. Fortunately, it can be effectively treated with a drug called keppra and an anti-psychotic called risperidone. Seek medical help if you think you may have HPPD.
Many people with HPPD suffer in silence being afraid to tell anyone what they are experiencing. While those who seek medical help can be misdiagnosed as schizophrenic or have psychosis. HPPD is a relatively rare and misunderstood disorder.
HPPD can also be caused by smoking strong cannabis or taking speed. Flashbacks may occur days or weeks after last drug use. If you are experiencing flashbacks, the obvious solution is to stop taking drugs and if the episodes are lasting a long time seek medical help.
Due to the power of the internet, many HPPD suffers need no longer feel alone. There are a couple of online forums dedicated to HPPD. Individuals can discuss HPPD and share their experiences. The length and intensity of the flashback can vary greatly. Some people have fairly mild symptoms and are not particularly worried by them while others have intense hallucinations for lengthy periods and have become anxious and distressed.