Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: night terrors

Posted by Sean on February 8, 1999, at 17:13:05

In reply to night terrors, posted by Terry on February 8, 1999, at 9:24:59

> I am a consumer who is very knowledgable about psychopharmacology. I am bipolar type II, diagnosed 2/ 1/2 years ago. I take 1000 Depakote daily with 150 mg Serzone (for depression that occurs on Depakote alone) at night as well as Catapress 0.2 mg at night for sleep. I also often take Benadryl 25 mg at night to help me sleep. I recently was started on low-dose Ritalin for cognitive problems my psychiatrist and I believe may be due to ADHD. Or possibly from one of the many meds I'm on. At any rate, I have trouble paying attention at times and frequently lose things, forget things, etc. I've been well-controlled on these meds, although I'm a little hyper on the Ritalin, but have only started on it. My only concern with my current regimen is weight gain (22 pounds) since starting Depakote. I've had a few panic attacks in the past, which seemed to be caused by getting off SSRI antidepressants. Last night, I had what I think were night terrors. Every time I'd drift off to sleep, I'd wake up terrified for no reason and become disoriented. I felt as if I was dying. I didn't know where I was for a few minutes. I felt slightly dizzy too. When I finally did get to sleep, I had horribly disturbing nightmares. Has anyone been through this before? Any advice? I'm afraid to take any more drugs (like Klonopin) because I already feel like a walking drug store. I could ask my psychiatrist to up my Serzone from 150 mg, because it's supposed to help with panic disorders, but usually increasing an SSRI makes me hypomanic. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

I guess *understanding* the psychodynamic
origins of psychological illnes is often
useful. On the other hand, many of the most
sucessful forms of psychotherapy do not focus on
understanding per say. I do not need a dream to
tell me that "something" was wrong!

Perhaps the best way to think about mental illness
of any sort is to imagine there are many different
ways to arrive at the same symptomology. For
example, if a person was locked into a room with
that monster from Aliens chasing them (but not
quite catching them)at the end of this experiment
you would find somebody suffering from acute
anxiety. The physiology of the symptoms might be
exactly the same as a person with panic disorder,
but we would have a priori insight to the cause
of things.

But suppose we have a person with acute anxiety
symptoms and we are unable to find credible
evidence of abuse or experiences which are beyond
the average human to withstand without sequelae?
What if their anxiety is physiological and the
result of neural process unrealted to
external stimuli? With enough work, we could
eventually pull tiny grains of truth together
to form a narrative, or story, of that persons
life in which the anxiety is both understandable
and appropriate. This could be done in a Freudian
model, a Jungian model, theological, or (of
course) a biological model.

I personally suspect that because we are
storytelling beings, the exact type of story is
less important than that the story makes subjective
sense to the sufferer. Without a "reason" for the
suffering we would be utterly without hope.

An interesting aspect of this discussion is which
of these "stories" is objectively true? As a culture,
we are in the throws of biological materialism
at this point, so I certainly agree that the
opinion polls are ahead of the evidence. But there
is no question that in the spectrum of mental
illness we have people with greater and lesser
degrees of inherited contribution to their suffering.
It is very difficult to tease this out given the
common physiological pathway of the symptoms.

I think most people who have taken medication for
a mood disorder of some sort already feel strange
about it. It get's pretty close to the whole free
will thing I guess, and the private relationship
we all have to the *self* has to really stretch
to include a molecule of some sort! Strange though,
these molecules can restore choice in ones life...





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