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Workshop - I've Changed My Mind
Written by Alex   
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 23:23

18.Troubleshooting (common problems and some solutions)

Mental illness is best looked upon as the failure of certain networks. It should not be viewed as 'disease' so much as 'malfunction'. There are of course degrees of malfunction, but imbalance usually begins when what was a perfectly good system is being either used for the wrong things or in the wrong environment.

Mental illnesses fall into two groups genetically,R46 with the same problems making people vulnerable to all the disorders in that group. The separation runs as follows: Depression, anxiety disorders and phobias form one group, alcoholism, drug addiction, and antisocial behavior form the other. If you suffer from one of these, you will be susceptible to the others in the same group. Awareness of that is a good defense against it catching you unawares.

The most important thing to do with mental problems is deal with them fast. If you can make a preemptive strike, so much the better. Get to know your own neurochemistry and how it feels when things slip out of balance.

Locating the cause of a problem is the problem half solved. Often the solution will be obvious to you. At this stage you should be able to implement your creative ability to find some of your own solutions to most of these situations, so recognition of their symptoms is the main focus of this chapter. The first section deals with problems common to those stuck in a matrix, the second with the more serious problems that these 'early warnings' are the precursors of.

Problems associated with being stuck in a matrix


Extreme competitiveness. Symptoms: feeling dreadful when you lose. Constantly seeking opportunities to 'prove yourself'. See: self-esteem.

Faultfinding & blame. Symptoms: Constant criticizing. Immediately blaming others (without proof) if anything goes wrong. See: self-esteem.

Aggression. Symptoms: You get angry very easily, and are easily provoked. You feel intolerant and impatient. See: self-esteem.

Getting hit. This is often a side effect of being stuck in M2. It can cause shearing which breaks or strains nerve fibers, and these may die. Plasticity can compensate, but repeated punch ups cause accumulative damage. If you cannot avoid being hit, clench your jaw. This prevents as much damage occurring. Preferable to clenching the jaw is to get the head out of the backside and stopping getting into fights.


Guilt. Symptoms: Blaming yourself for things you did, or for not doing things you feel you should have. Viewing yourself as a 'sinner'. See: self-esteem. -Notice a pattern emerging...?

Low self esteem. Symptoms; all of the above, plus possibly: You constantly have to 'suck up' to people you see as having higher status than you have. You often feel you're not good enough. You may feel resentment and maybe jealousy that others get opportunities you don't. You feel a need to appear acceptable to those you value, and you find it hard to say 'no'. ...Well, here's the big culprit, but it particularly affects M3s, so it gets a special mention here. Most of these problems have their roots in low self esteem because serotonin levels go awry in all of them and one of the first effects of that is a drop in confidence. Depression, or some equally disabling mental state, usually follows.

Over-excitability & obsession. Symptoms: Behaving like you're on amphetamines when you're not, sleeplessness, fanaticism. This is the exception to the self-esteem rule, because when serotonin soars, we can get a bit manic and confidence does not necessarily suffer, and indeed can increase and/or turn into arrogance. A great many stupid mistakes can be made in this space, as you are extremely prone to brainwashing, or plunging into depression as neurotransmitters swing up and down trying to balance each other. Taken to extremes this sort of imbalance is known as Bipolar Affective Disorder.

M3 & M4:

Paranoia. Symptoms: You are walking down the street and someone sniggers, you know it's you they're laughing at. People keep staring at you. You have a foreboding of doom, or at least that something pretty shitty is probably about to happen or has happened. Everyone keeps talking about you, and there could be a conspiracy. You're pessimistic. Excessive dopamine and low serotonin sometimes kicks this off, and it's often experienced by heavy duty dope smokers. It's a serious thing, because if the balance is not set right it can lead to chronic depression and schizophrenia.


Pessimism. Symptoms: You tend to see the worst side of everything, including people. Stupidity depresses you. Whenever anything nice happens, you tend to miss it just wondering when the crap will hit the fan. You do not feel positive about the future.

Shyness. Symptoms: You feel uncertain about what people think of you. You feel fear or embarrassment in social interactions. You may find yourself unable to speak even though you want to.

Worry. Symptoms: You find it hard to concentrate. You pay a great deal of attention to what might happen in the future or what did happen in the past. You often see yourself as a 'victim' when things go wrong. Sometimes you feel inadequate to cope.

Disappointment, disillusion and apathy. Symptoms: You expect things to go a certain way, and feel bad when they don't, or something you were taking for granted is suddenly not there any more. It seems pointless to bother trying. You feel you have been cheated; it's just not fair, so why should you bother? You have probably had a series of bad relationships or experiences, which you moan about at any opportunity.

Perfectionism. Symptoms: You compare yourself with others. You doubt your own competence or ability. You need approval. You fear disapproval, especially your own. You need reassurance.

Fear of failure. Symptoms: You think that failure is not acceptable. You would cheat to win if you were sure you wouldn't get caught. You either refuse to acknowledge your mistakes or you make a big deal out of them. You decline to play games or take exams. You hate learning anything new. Fear of failure is based on fear of the unknown. That's the beast you've got to hack.

Memory problems

Testing for memory loss

It is important to do this in the right order. The interpretation is in the footnotes, so don't cheat by looking at that first, as this will change the results.

1. Have a friend write down a list of items, and a short sequence of digits and ask them to read the list of items aloud. Five minutes later have them read out the short sequence of digits and repeat it back to them immediately.

2. Now name as many items as you can from their list.

3. Now tell them about something that you did last summer.

4. Now tell them what you had for your last breakfast.

5. Have them perform a short series of clear hand movements, and try to repeat it straight afterwards.

If you had difficulty with any of these, note which ones. Look at the footnote1 to find out what it means.

Problems with short term/working memory

Once you find the cause of memory loss, you are in a position to hack it, by adjusting your input accordingly. Non use, alcohol and cannabis are the biggest culprits for short-term memory problems. Alcohol affects the release of glutamate and GABA, and that interferes with new memory formation, particularly facts such as names, numbers, and events, such as what you did two days ago. It also interferes with recall. Binge drinking particularly can cause permanent memory loss. Cannabis in excess has a similar effect, especially over long periods of time. Second on my list would be anxiety. Anxiety is a major factor in memory problems, because it prevents concentration, especially on anything complex.

Short term memory changes in pregnancy. This is probably because of increased levels of oxytocin, and of cortisol during the last 3 months. It is a transient change and has no permanent effect. There is not much that can be done about this except taking an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor if you are desperate. It's not wise to n-hack when pregnant, in any way, shape or form, for obvious reasons.

Depression is another cause of memory problems. I'd tend to focus on hacking the depression in this case, and the memory would take care of itself.

Memory can deteriorate with non-use, noticeable in many older people. The parts which are least used (usually the frontal lobes, if you're stuck in a matrix), are the first parts to deteriorate. The solution to this is simple -use it or lose it. Normal people start to show memory decline at the age of 24. Your memory should improve throughout your life.R41

Self-esteem affects memory. Concentrate on improving the former, and the latter will improve with it. Attention span is also important. It could be that there is nothing wrong with your memory, but your attention span is not sufficient to give it enough input.

Problems with long term memory and recall

Memories can be repressed, especially traumatic ones. This usually passes with time, if it does not, there are various ways of dealing with it. All depend on overall anxiety reduction first, then using biofeedback or whatever to get yourself into 'alpha' space, and talking it through with an assistant or friend.

PTSD is a crippling disorder characterized by numbness, emotional detachment, flashbacks and nightmares. 'Flashbacks' are usually of the traumatic event or events that triggered it. These are apparently random, and can occur in sleep or waking time. It is one of a number of anxiety disorders, all of which share the common factor of fear.

PTSD has been successfully treated by the use of the n-hacking memory wipe technique. It's not a pleasant way to solve the problem, since you have to recall and concentrate on the material to be wiped, and takes many attempts, but it works.

Medication can profoundly upset long term memory. Statins are one culprit, which seem to affect only certain people, with quite profound amnesia. Sleeping pills are a big no-no. Sleep is a very important factor in memory efficiency, because this is when we shift stuff into long term.R17

Many people today suffer from the equivalent of chronic long-term jet lag. We are designed to sleep and dream whenever we are tired. Left to itself, sleep occurs naturally and the amount you need depends on what you've been doing, both physically and with your mind. This is not a regular cycle, and our society's practice of everybody sleeping at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning, is not natural for intelligence. If you honor your brain's requests for sleep (and food) when it wants them, you'll find some really nice things happening to your immune system, your memory, and your feeling of well being. You'll also need a flexitime job and a very understanding family.

The disruption of our natural sleep/wake pattern throws our neurochemistry into confusion, hence the 'jet lag' effect, when you get up in the morning almost feeling that you haven't slept, or the inability to sleep despite fatigue, or an all-day-long lethargy, feeling as though you literally weigh too much. Living like this for years takes its toll on intelligence, and memory failure is one symptom of that.

Diet affects memory, especially if you are glucose 'spiking' and eating lots of sugar.R25 I'd also take a look at the possibility of vitamin b deficiency, in memory problems in general, especially if you're vegetarian.

Donepezil blocks the breakdown of acetylcholine, and is currently used for treatment in Alzheimer's disease. It's a good hacky drug for increased alertness and memory. It has though the (possible) side effects of digestive problems, muscle cramps and headaches.


Confabulation is a memory disorder, not a memory loss problem, but quite common. It is not so much compulsive lying as a natural extension of our tendency to exaggerate, especially in stories of the past, selectively re-writing memory often unintentionally and distorting the facts. Effectively it is lying to others, and ourselves, and falling for it. It's the result of faulty wiring in the Ventrolateral and Dorsolateral PFC, and can only be improved as far as I know by rewiring through hacking.

Confabulation is not the same as doing it on purpose, consciously, but is perhaps what happens if the imagination is vivid, but blocked. It's possible that confabulation is a result of trying to use the imagination (inappropriately or appropriately) to increase status in stories about one's own life (interesting people rise in status.) Whether such acclaim is deserved, depends on whether the emotional weighting attached to the storyteller's words is justified, and not on whether the details were true. Truth lies in correct interpretation of archetypes, and often people's actual words have little to do with the truth they convey. It doesn't matter what actual words are spoken, as long as they achieve the desired result.

It takes ages and ages for that last sentence to sink in, so read it again. Try this: What color was your first car?

...Ah, but what color did you imagine it was? If the two are different, what memories you have of that car will be replayed in the color you imagined. That's a part of your experience, as input. So, which is reality?

In terms of how experience affects your brain, your imagination has added quite a lot of input to your experience as it constructed it in the first place. A part of all our personalities is built on fiction. It may be the fiction that Santa Claus exists, or the Woo Woo God of the Wacific Islands, or it may be playing at Batman, there are parts of our personalities that were shaped by those experiences. What we should realize is, although those entities are not real, the emotions and abilities they caused us to learn are very real indeed. So we have to be very careful to distinguish confabulation (unconscious) from creative imagination (conscious.)


Symptoms: You'll know. You'll have an explosion of agony going on in your brain. Some migraines seem to appear at random, but the first things to look out for are triggers, and then obviously avoid them. Food additives and allergies are common culprits. Red wine and cheese are well known triggers, as are low blood sugar, synthetic hormones (contraceptives), and changes in atmospheric pressure. Anxiety though, again wins the prize for bad headaches. Most migraine sufferers experience sensory overload or overstimulation during an attack. I have found this can also be caused by alcohol.


Depression will wreck your immune system and make you prone to heart disease. It's important to treat it as soon as possible because it can become hard wired in, chronic and habitual if you don't. Most people feel tired and apathetic when depressed, so it cons you into doing nothing about it and then moaning when it gets worse.

Depression is a serious enemy; it should be taken seriously and you should be prepared to go to war for your mind.

A tendency to depression can be genetic.R47 The culprits are many, notably CREB1, which has one mutation that causes a drop in the amount of CREB protein. It may be possible to hack this sort of depression by interfering with the transcription of this gene, or by genetic manipulation later. Currently this is not done.

Frontal lobe dysfunctions, especially in the left PFC, are a common factor in many depression sufferers. This area of the cortex responds to TMS treatment with ' 'lift' in mood and I would highly recommend it or NMS for anyone depressed. If it doesn't work for your kind of depression, you have lost nothing; there are so far no apparent permanent ill effects.

Low phenylethylamines and low serotonin are often the case in depression, hence the success of SSRIs and similar drugs. I tend to choose chemicals as a last resort due to unwanted side effects, but whatever it takes, it takes. It's more important to be sane on Prozac than suicidal without it, if that is all that will work for you.

A quick, hard take off, single dose of amphetamines or MDMA has sometimes done the trick, (or LSD for the more adventurous and/or desperate) just before bed, of alleviating depression.

If you're depressed and you have no dream recall at all, take a look at your sleep cycle and be nice to it.

Many, many factors affect depression, and many methods have been unexpectedly successful for different people. All these are worth a try: Counseling, yoga, relaxation, humor, physical exercise, drugs, TMS, NMS, dancing, diet change, sleep pattern change, change of habits.


Seasonal Affective Disorder happens to more people than are aware of it. We spend unnatural amounts of time indoors, and since our production of serotonin is affected by light input to the retinas, that matters. In response to lessening light, the neurons in the suprachiasmatic nuclei signal the pineal gland to produce serotonin. Low serotonin levels cause SAD and various other problems including depression, low self-esteem, and vitamin D deficiency.

Light therapy for SAD is very effective. Blue light of a certain frequency stimulates the pineal gland effectively. Serotonin replacement or SSRIs are another method but probably more expensive and with side effects.R48


One could say that anxiety is a disorder in itself, but it manifests in many forms depending upon great many factors. It is the biggest killer in the world, helping to cause and exacerbate cancers, immune disorders and cardiovascular problems. We've looked at the effects of cortisol already and it's pretty plain that it's bad for you in excess. Overall anxiety though, tends over time to gravitate towards an actual anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders outnumber all other kinds of mental illness, and about a quarter of the population of the western world suffers from them at any time. The most common ones apart from PTSD are Obsessive-compulsive disorder (repetitive rituals, such as checking and rechecking whether a door is locked or washing hands), Panic disorder (repeating panic attacks, often with specific triggers. Sufferers experience chest pains, breathlessness and irregular heartbeat), Phobia (these are many and varied), and 'generalized stress disorder', which is characterized by endless worry and pessimism. Children suffering from anxiety are often shy.R49

The chemistry of anxiety disorders is as follows: There are two main problems exacerbating anxiety. One is insufficient quantity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is responsible for controlling the activity of the amygdala. If GABA is blocked or not produced in sufficient quantities, the amygdala goes on overdrive, firing more easily and with fewer stimuli. This is often caused by a genetic factor, which fails to produce the protein (gastrin releasing peptide) that initiates the production of GABA.

The other main problem is insufficient serotonin (which plays a part in mood regulation). This can also have a genetic precursor, because the gene Pet-1 in our development assists the development of neurons that produce and respond to serotonin, and helps to control serotonin throughout life.

Anxiety also decreases the expression of Brain Derived Neurotrophic factor (BDNF). There are many factors such as these affecting anxiety and it can be a very complex problem to track down.

Fatigue and sleep disorders

The most common sleep disorders are insomnia and sleep apnea, but sleep itself is vitally important for mental health, as we have seen. A chronic lack of sleep (lees than four hours a night) weakens the immune system and cognitive ability, as well as memory.

Insomnia affects thousands, with sales of sleeping tablets ever on the increase. Usually the cause is either anxiety (worrying) or biology's natural sleep pattern being interrupted (the 'jet lag' syndrome). The underlying problem should be attacked in either case.

Sleep apnea is actually a breathing disorder that occurs during sleep, when the airways become blocked by the tongue or soft palate. It is worrying because the slight but recurring oxygen deprivation it causes seems to cause neuronal loss in the hippocampus.

General fatigue has many causes, including diet. Nutrients for your brain include Omega 3, B and E vitamins and zinc. The B vitamins work as a group, but some are more active than others in the nervous system. Without Thiamin (B1), toxic substances build up that can damage your nervous system. Folic acid and B12 play a key role in nerve growth and myelination. B12 deficiency is noticeable at first as numbness and 'pins & needles', fatigue, clumsiness, and difficulty walking. It then causes mental deterioration.

Other causes of fatigue include breaking of the natural sleep pattern and drug overuse, but a common cause in youth is a side effect of premature literacy. There is a genetic link between the parts of our brains used for literacy and those parts functional in the onset of puberty. The earlier we learn to read and write, the sooner puberty occurs. This has been exacerbated by the ingestion of sex hormones in food, and the extra strain placed on a growing body can often cause fatigue. This is quite an astonishing correlation and more research needs to be done. The effect does not occur if reading & writing are delayed until age ten or eleven; puberty then occurs between the ages of 16 and 20 (as is still the case with non-literate tribal peoples.)

Poor concentration / ADHD

Poor concentration sometimes has chemical reasons; low glutamate levels can make it hard for us to remember things, and so link things together, which hampers concentration. Acetylcholine deficiency and nicotinic acid deficiency or inefficiency is a much more common problem, and can be solved temporarily by using nicotine patches or smoking.

Chronically poor concentration is experienced in ADHD, which now affects around 5-9% of children. Excessive television input and poor diet are two correlatives, but school and insufficient nurturing remain major problems for intelligence. We are simply not designed to concentrate on what adults would have us pay attention to at that age. ADHD is not so much a disorder, as a reaction to such inappropriate treatment. Nicotine has been known to help ADHD sufferers.R50

Bipolar disorder

Also referred to as 'Bipolar Affective Disorder' or 'Manic depression', is characterized by extreme swings in mood, energy level and behavior. Symptoms: in the manic phase you'll feel any or all of these: elation, irritability, agitation, arrogance, insomnia, trouble ignoring distractions, and a constant flow of thoughts and ideas. You may be prone to impulsive acts or involvement in crazy, grand schemes. In the depressive phase you'll feel classic depression with hopelessness, pessimism and apathy. Bipolar disorder is a recurrent condition.

The main problem in dealing with bipolar disorder is the inability to think straight because of the very swings it causes, leading people to try ridiculously expensive and ineffective bizarre 'cures' at one end of the scale and lie around thinking 'what's the point' at the other. It should be attacked from the top down first with a change of lifestyle, habits and input, designed to keep you stable. Particular care in your choice of entertainment should be taken and it's wise to avoid alcohol. Take up a natural sleep pattern and reschedule your life.

NMS is of use for bipolar disorder, and so is biofeedback. If you have a stable example of your own brainwave pattern you can use that to help return you to equilibrium, but attention should focus also on finding the triggers and avoiding them. Lithium is a last, last resort but use it if you must.


Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder. Symptoms: several or all of the following: cognitive dysfunction, disordered thinking, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, anhedonia (an inability to take pleasure in anything), apathy, social withdrawal, disorganized thought and speech. In schizophrenia there is an excess of dopamine in the left amygdala. Other parts of the brain affected are the larger ventricles, thalamus, temporal and frontal lobes of the cortex. The frontal lobes are typically underactive, especially the left (that area sure is interesting, is it not?)

Whilst genetic susceptibility does account for some schizophrenia, there are a number of environmental factors playing their part. They include prenatal malnutrition and anxiety, Urinary tract infections (UTIs), intrauterine infections and obstetric complications. The illness can be continuous or recurrent.

Multiple personality disorder

This may be the result of an inability to cope with a state of non-synergy. If so, it would target lonely people with low self-esteem. Often the 'personalities' have no access to each other's memories, a fact that shows up on MRI.

A couple of variants of multiple personality disorder exist -one is the 'walk-in' syndrome. In this state, a person feels 'depersonalized'; conscious intent and motor activity are partly disconnected. This creates an impression of being 'outside oneself', as though the body is a puppet and the thoughts seem not your own. Another variant is 'derealisation', in which you experience being caught in a 'tunnel space' as though reality were viewed through a fish eye lens, or from the inside of a tunnel. This seems to be triggered by sensory overload, and MPD may be an attempt to shy away from reality into a place that is safe, but accompanied by others.

It may also be a distortion of our need to create our own role models and grow into becoming more like them. If this were so, it would be a disorder that affects persons stuck in M4 more than any others.

Diseases of the hippocampus

The hippocampus is vulnerable to disease, notably Alzheimer's, ischemia and epilepsy, all of which deprive areas of the hippocampus of oxygen. A stroke can do this, but there must be damage to both sides of the hippocampus in order for memory to be affected. These are amongst the most crippling diseases affecting the mind and all preventive care should be taken.

Some possible solutions...and their problems

Tobacco and MAOIs

The reason why tobacco predisposes people to heart attacks is its depletion of MonoAmine Oxidase (MAO). MAO prevents raised blood pressure and heart attacks by breaking down amino acids such as tyramine (the red wine and cheese chemical -which is why you must avoid those foods if you're on MAOIs, with the exception of a few of the specialist ones). Bear this in mind if you smoke. If you smoke and you're on MAOIs, give up one or the other unless you don't mind this risk.

For tobacco users: galantamine is a useful hacky drug for those who smoke because without tobacco they feel retarded. It's a reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase and it also has nicotinic receptor agonist properties. It can cause dose-related cholinergic effects and should be used in moderation unless you have Alzheimer's disease.

MAO is an important chemical, because it gives us the mental resilience to withstand trauma. People with low levels of it have a much lower abuse threshold before mental damage occurs. Differences in MAO levels affect the ability of children to get over cases of abuse, and this may explain why more boys are affected than girls -the gene for this enzyme is on the X chromosome. This makes us vulnerable if we have a version that doesn't produce enough of the enzyme, which boys more often do.R51


SSRIs prevent serotonin reuptake, leaving it around for longer to transmit messages. Prozac (fluoxetine), the most popular SSRI at the moment, increases the amount of BDNF in the hippocampus and encourages neurogenesis (anxiety prevents this). Prozac increases catecholamines, norepinephrine and dopamine extracellular levels in the PFC, as well as serotonin. The effect takes up to a month to kick in because this is how long it takes to get the new neurons mature and online. This is fine, except that long term use up-regulates the CAMP pathway, including increased expression of cAMP Response Element Binding Protein (CREB).

If you have to pick an SSRI I'd still vote for Prozac. Fluvoxamine and Paroxetine have more side effects than Prozac, Sertraline makes me vomit so I'm a bit prejudiced there, and Citalopram is easier to overdose on than any of them.

Cocaine and amphetamines

Long term use can limit the brain's ability to form new connections (arborisation and synaptogenesis). This can be permanent and seems to involve a gene transcription factor, because both of the drugs in short term use actually enhance these procedures.

Alcohol is a good short-term confidence booster, but heavy usage will cause irreparable brain damage.

Herbal and 'natural' supplements

St. John's Wort has long been used as a treatment for depression. It can be very effective, but if you use it, beware of the side effects of skin photosensitivity and problems with tryptamines (avoid cheese, red wine and yeast). Don't take St. John's Wort if you're on any other medication because it's a bit fussy about what it mixes with.

Coffee has a direct stimulatory effect on the brain, and is useful for those all night downloads...however more than 9 cups in 24 hours can cause irregular heartbeat, confusion, stomach upsets and even convulsions.

Gingko biloba is another herb used for depression and mood stabilization. It can cause headaches in some people and should be discontinued in these cases.

Cannabis is stunningly effective at treating anorexia, but beware of overuse-induced paranoia. A holiday to a country where cannabis is legal can put pounds on an anorexic person.

Kava is an alternative treatment for depression, anxiety and insomnia. There are no side effects known to me. It's a muscle relaxant and seems to make a lot of people horny.

Valerian, especially if used with St. John's Wort, can be very effective in depression and especially insomnia.

Huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor made from Chinese Moss. It's very good for memory enhancement and attention improvement. It's still legal in most countries without a prescription, and I'd recommend it as a regular supplement.

Chocolate can be used for therapeutic purposes and is very good at boosting serotonin and endorphin levels. It contains anandamides, theobromine and phenylethylamines, which is why so many take to eating it after an unhappy love affair. It is highly addictive and tolerance builds up fast, and it has the added disadvantage of causing glucose 'spiking'. But it's good in emergencies, like when your hard drive gets wiped before you made a backup, or your partner runs off with someone you detest and your laptop. Too much chocolate puts you off sex, so watch out. Anandamide acts on the cannabinoid G protein-coupled plasma membrane receptors and mainly inhibits Adenylyl Cyclase activity.

Anti oxidants are popular as free-radical preventives, if this is the bag you're into go for green tea and vitamin E supplementation.

Omega 3 is a neurotonic and neuroprotective. Eat as much fish and as many walnuts as you can handle, and get into olive oil. Your brain just slurps it up.

New kids on the block

Successors to Prozac are on the way at the time of writing. These are 'dual uptake inhibitors'; they block the reuptake of not only serotonin but also noradrenaline. These should act much more quickly than current SSRIs, but one has to wonder about the costs in terms of excess cortisol production if noradrenaline is more active. It will certainly improve alertness and mood in the short term for most people and could be used in this context for neurohacking.

Another new area of activity is focusing on metabotropic glutamate receptors; as modulators of glutamate signal strength they can control glutamate signally in highly specific ways. Drugs designed to affect these receptors could have a broad spectrum of effects on many mental disorders.

More about new chemicals in chapter 20.

Enhancing repair

The damaged brain always tries to repair itself, and increases neuron production when there is damage. We can work with this and enhance it because the more we use neurons in those areas, the faster they will grow, so determining which part of the hardware to focus on is important, especially using stuff like TMS or NMS. An accurate diagnosis is therefore essential before beginning treatment of any kind.

A problem related to neurohacking -Snapback

In many advanced techniques we get a phenomenon known as 'snapback'. This is like the opposite of 'flashback', in that, in flashback one returns momentarily to a mind state experienced on a drug or in trauma, for seconds or minutes. In snapback, one has seen an improvement or change establish itself, and suddenly the mind set snaps back into the old familiar one and things can seem very strange. You may feel anxious, depressed, preoccupied or irritable. Most times this doesn't happen at all, if it does, it merely has to be borne with as it happens less frequently with perseverance. Don't make the mistake of believing that all your good work has been to no avail, if snapback happens to you, just sigh and carry on. Such episodes will pass.

1. If you had problems repeating the list of digits, your short term/working memory is in trouble. If you found it difficult to recall what you did last summer, your episodic long-term memory or the LTP process itself needs attention. If you had problems with the list of items, your declarative memory needs help. If you don't know what you had for your last breakfast that's quite serious unless you're a serious cannabis smoker or are senile. If you had difficulty repeating the hand movements, check out your sensory motor memory and also think about your cerebellum and how much exercise it gets.

All of these problems can be addressed.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 23:25