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HPPD – Hallucinogen Perception Persisting Disorder
As far as much of the modern psychedelic culture is concerned, this is an inconveniently lingering leftover of the early years of psychedelic prohibition; a propaganda tactic used to demonize psychedelics, still haunting us through the prevailing ignorance and cultural stigma against psychedelics.
And in some sense, this is true, and as a consequence, many of us downplay and dismiss HPPD as a legitimate phenomenon. Leaning instead towards the assertion that it isn’t really a thing, and if it is then it’s uncommon, or even that it’s more related to non-psychedelic causes than the drugs themselves. Myself included.
However, it is beginning to turn out that Hallucinogen Perception Persisting Disorder is very real, and much more common than the psychedelic renaissance is presently recognizing.
This is no surprise to the many, many people who have been experiencing (many of which suffering) the symptoms of HPPD and finding little to no recognition or support in the larger psychedelic community. People who have, instead, faced that very downplaying and dismissing of the condition in the form of the deliginmatizaiton of their experiences–sometimes even to the extent of being ostracized.
In a movement to legitimize psychedelics in the mainstream, and urge the vanquishing of ignorance and stigma around them, HPPD is truly an inconvenient phenomenon. As, sadly, it suggests that some of the reasons for anti-psychedelic sentiment left prevailing since the era of the hippies, might be valid after all.
But here it is that we find a bit of a tangled mess:
from the use of it in anti-psychedelic rhetoric, to psy-culture’s dismissal of its legitimacy as a diagnosis, to the regular mismanagement of the diagnosis at the hands of psychiatrists, to the general lack of understanding and representation across psychedelic research as a whole…
Hallucinogen Perception Persisting Disorder (HPPD) is a misunderstood and often mishandled phenomenon.
That is why we are featuring Ed Prideaux on this episode of Adventures Through The Mind.
Ed Prideaux is a UK-based writer and journalist who has lived with the symptoms of HPPD since he was a teenager. An enthusiast of psychedelic experience and its clinical promise, Prideaux seeks to bridge HPPD patient groups with the psychedelic community through advocacy for the Perception Restoration Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charity that raises awareness and funds for studies into HPPD and Visual Snow Syndrome. Prideaux has written about psychedelics for the BBC, VICE, and The Independent, and published pieces on music, history and psychology for publications like The Guardian, The Spectator, The Quietus, The Financial Times, and others.
Prideaux joins us to discuss what HPPD is, its symptoms, its history, its association with other mental health conditions, how widespread it seems to be, and how it isn’t necessarily a negative experience.
We also speak of psychedelic flashbacks–what they are and what they are not; the role of memory, trauma, and neuroplasticity in HPPD; the pathologizing of neurodiversity; and each of our personal experiences of the condition.
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- What is Hallucinogen Perception Persisting Disorder?
- James’ personal experiences of HPPD
- HPPD is much more common than we realize, and not always negative
- The potentially serious negative consequences of HPPD
- The harm of drug stigma, cultural ignorance, and pathologizing of neurodiversity
- The urgency of HPPD
- The pharmacological treatments for HPPD
- Psychedelic flashbacks: what they are, and what they are not
- HPPD is not necessary the consequence of psychedelics
- Genetic predispositions to HPPD
- Memory triggers, Neruoplastiocity and being traumatized by psychedelics (bad trips)
- HPPD can be positive, too
- The current treatments for HPPD
- The relationship between Cannabis and HPPD
- Something everyone should know about HPPD
- Why do people who don’t have HPPD think it’s not real?
- How to create better awareness around Hallucinogen Perception Persisting Disorder
- Links to Ed Prideaux’s Twitter, The Perception Restoration Foundation, and some Australia studies happening now/soon (another research link)
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