According to the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV-TR (2000), the “essential feature” of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) is “…the transient recurrence of disturbances in perception that are reminiscent of those experienced during one or more earlier Hallucinogen Intoxications.”
- People can develop HPPD after only 1 use of a hallucinogenic substance.
- HPPD is most typically caused by the use of LSD.
- About 1 in 50,000 hallucinogen users develop HPPD.
- About 59% of people with HPPD see geometric patterns on blank surfaces like walls. Almost as many, see false movements of still objects, usually in the peripheral visual fields. Others reports flashes of light, trailing images behind moving objects, intensified colors, and afterimagery.
- Most people with HPPD recover within a month or two after last use, a few take as long as a year.
Abstinence from using hallucinogens, until the effects from HPPD are gone, is quite effective.
Valerian Root may help alleviate symptoms because it has similar effects to the benzodiazepines that are often prescribed by doctors for HPPD. It can be purchased over the counter at most drug stores and health food stores.
Sun glasses may help alleviate symptoms. According to John Halpern, “Most people with HPPD describe symptom activation or maddeningly increased intensity of symptoms when they are in bright light… especially when changing from a dark environment to a bright one. And if one wears sunglasses, what happens? A reduction or prevention of HPPD symptoms! Does that mean wearing sunglasses into a house… or getting night-time sunglasses for driving (oncoming headlights can be quite the trigger): in short, YES. Sunglasses definitely are helpful.”
- Meditation, yoga, exercise, and talking about the experience with supportive and knowledgeable people may also be helpful.
What the Experts Say: