Posted by LlurpsieNoodle on August 6, 2007, at 20:54:58
In reply to Re: beta carbolines to reverse benzo cognitive pro » LlurpsieNoodle, posted by Quintal on August 6, 2007, at 20:09:08
Hi Quintal :)
> People aren't often aware of how much their cognitive functioning is impaired by benzos until after they've quit. I recall how often you say you dislike taking benzos because they take away your ability to be vigilant of your surroundings. In that way they are aversely affecting your cognitive functioning.
Interesting point. I'm going to debate you a bit though. One of the things about PTSD is that it also adversely affects cognitive processing. Hypervigilance (as opposed to Alastair Moody-style "constant vigilance") takes a lot of cognitive load and constant processing, and the brain's attention and working memory is limited. Hypervigilance may increase the scope of attention, but there may be fewer resources left over to hold all of this information in memory, or to consolidate it to make sense out of it all. An example from my own life is that I used to work in an office within earshot of several other offices. I was unable to focus on my work because I was always monitoring what was going on in other places, especially when I detected sounds of stress or strife. Now, if I were a soldier, and I needed to be hyperaware of every little snapping twig in the forest, this would be of benefit, but as a grad student, it was very disruptive. Part of me always felt endangered when I heard strife. (still does). So, I guess it depends on one's job description and the immediate cognitive demands of the task. You are absolutely correct that I have complained that they make me less sensitive to things. I complain when I'm on the bus and all of a sudden I notice that I'm being "sloppy" purse is open, transit card sticking out of my pocket, looking unfocused. I don't complain when I'm able to sit down and work in my office for more than 10 minutes without getting up to pace (or do the internet equivalent of surfing).
>The thing about benzos and similar drugs is that they often make you feel and think that you're performing much better than you really are.
I agree with you. I would never take a benzo in a situation in which my peak performance was demanded*. That's why my pdoc told me NOT to take a benzo before my dissertation defense. We decided on betablocker instead. I'm a really good violinist, but when I'm drunk I'm a virtuoso, at least in my mind. The benefit of playing violin drunk is that most of the audience is drunk too. someone says "hey Llurpsie, play us some violin" "you sure?" "screeeeetttchhh" "zzzzZZZzzz" etc
>Tolerance to both the cognitive blunting and therapeutic effects can occur quite rapidly - that's probably why you're taking more now than you did at the beginning, though tolerance can come under a number of guises.
I think I'm more tolerant to the cognitive blunting (and/or I've developed alternate strategies). As far as my dosage is concerned, (mental run-through of my history with klonopin...) first it was .5mg a few times a week (writing dissertation. then it was .5mg most days a week (meeting with advisor about dissertation). then it was about 1.5mg everyday (withdrawing from cymbalta and other nasties) then it was .5mg most days (defending and submitting dissertation) and it remained at that dose, and my life remained chaotic. Had a crisis about 2 weeks ago. Got kind of messy and suicidal. Dose was increased to 1mg day, and I was under strict orders that this was not an optional medication. But recently the tide has turned and I've been feeling more "settled". I'm optimistic that I won't need to take .5mg 2x a day.
Anyways, pdoc had me convinced long ago that klonopin has far fewer side effects than alcohol, which I rarely drink these days.
nice to discuss with you Q
*unless my peak performance demanded appearing relaxed.