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More Psychedelic Users Reporting Symptoms of HPPD

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Hallucinogenic persistent perception disorder (HPPD) is an intoxication disorder caused by psychedelic drugs that encompasses a range of visual disturbances that occur in different time frames. The disorder also causes extreme anxiety as well as out-of-body sensations and is marked by shame as well as stigma.

There are two types of HPPD; the first is characterized by brief flashbacks, while individuals with the second type of HPPD experience symptoms that can last anywhere between a couple of months to their whole lives. Dr. Anneliese McConnell, a researcher at Western Sydney University, reports that HPPD affects more than 5% of psychedelic drug users. The condition is triggered by hallucinogen use, with LSD being the most common drug linked to the disorder.

McConnell explained that drugs such as MDMA, psilocybin and marijuana could also trigger hallucinogen persistent perception disorder. The disorder solely affects an individual’s vision, with researchers noting that those with this disorder are often aware that their perception isn’t normal.

Jack, an individual who developed the disorder after ingested a drink spiked with LSD, revealed that while he had tried psychedelics recreationally before, the high he experienced was one hundred times stronger. Once the trip ended, he had expected the visual effects to wear off, but they persisted. He described the change as feeling like one was always wearing 3D glasses, noting that nothing felt real. Jack also revealed that in the initial stages, he used to experience panic attacks that would last hours. He added that while antipsychotic drugs had helped manage the symptoms, more information about the risks of ingesting psychedelics needed to be communicated to the public.

As psychedelics continue to be heralded as beneficial for managing a range of mental-health conditions, their illegal use also continues to increase. Currently, there is no cure for the disorder. It is managed with a range of psychotropic and anti-epileptic drugs. Additionally, no research has been done to prove whether the current treatments are effective. Most studies on the disorder focus on describing it instead of looking into how it occurs and identifying individuals who are at risk.

Harry McConnell, a psychiatrist, and Dr. McConnell are the first researchers to examine whether hallucinogen persistent perception disorder has been linked to other disorders such as migraines accompanied by tinnitus or visual auras. In their statement, the father-daughter duo highlight the importance of understanding the risks of the drugs users are ingesting, be it therapeutically or recreationally, and make informed choices.

Risks of developing conditions such as HPPD justify why startups such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) are focusing on developing psychedelic formulations for medical use. It also explains why they are taking time to study those formulations so that avoidable risks can be sidestepped.

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