Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Pondering Fool

Dude. Did I mention I'm stoned? I'm totally stoned.

Now, when the psychiatrist gave me this prescription for Gnurontin (hee! try googling that, spammers!), he went on and on about how this is a great drug for anxiety, especially because it's totally non-addictive, and has almost zero really serious side effects, etc. And he also told me to expect it to take a week or so to really kick in. Which is why I was surprised, yesterday, when just a couple of hours after I took my first capsule, I could literally feel a warmth and relaxation move down my limbs. It was almost exactly how I remember feeling after the first few hits on a joint, as the pot started to work its magic. Um, I mean, it's almost exactly how I remember OTHER PEOPLE TELLING ME it felt. Because, you know, I was perfect. In fact, that's the nickname my aunt uses for me to this day: Perfect. (Yeah, sibling rivalry was a problem in our household. Why do you ask?) (Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, my sister's nickname? The Beauty Queen. And yes, to this day I cannot take a compliment on my looks seriously; my first instinct is to scoff and say, 'Yeah right. You should see my sister, though...")

Now that was one serious digression. But did I mention? Dude. I'm totally stoned.

Anyway, the way this drug worked so quickly on me, and so wonderfully, got me to thinking. Gnurontin is drug that's basically a synthesized version of the neurotransmitter GABA (which stands for gamma amino butyric acid, for those who care about such things). GABA's role in the brain is to inhibit certain neurons from firing, which is why Gnurontin is prescribed primarily as an anticonvulsant and a pain reliever for people suffering from neuropathies (i.e., inappropriate nerve firing resulting in pain despite there being no obvious injury to the area). But it is also prescribed for about a bazillion 'off-label' uses, including bipolar disorder, situational and clinical depression, and anxiety disorders.

OK. So. This stuff work on the brain. Which is good, because my brain needs working on. But why is it working so well, and so quickly, on mine? Is this some kind of signal that my issues--or at least my chemical/physiologically based issues--are due to not having enough GABA, rather than having too much of the usual suspect in mood disorders, serotonin? (SSRI, the mainstay of depression treatment today, stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. In other word, it's a drug that stops you from using the extra serotonin sloshing around in your brain.) [Edited to add: This is so not true. See tomorrow's entry to get the real, not-stoned explanation.]

Anyway, what I'm trying to say ever-so-circuitously, is that I wonder if the way one reacts immediately or in the early days to a drug, particularly a psychopharmaceutical, is a harbinger of things to come. When I started the Zloft, for instance, my first major side effect was major jitteriness and insomnia. We adjusted dosages, it passed, and I did well on it for over a year. But, ultimately, the Zloft seems to have actually sparked a return of my panic attacks, and so I had to stop taking it. FXor has been a remarkable drug for me in terms of side effects--i.e., I essentially have had none. If I didn't KNOW I was taking pills each day, I wouldn't know I was taking pills each day, if you know what I mean. And yet, I think that's the problem with FXor for me in a nutshell: While it's doing very little in terms of harming me, it's also doing very little in terms of helping me.

So does this exaggerated feeling of well-being that I've had for the past 24 hours plus mean that Gnurontin is going to be my drug? Is it really telling me that GABA is my problem, and replacing it with a synthetic substitute is going to make me all better? Is this the magic pill I've been waiting for and complaining about not getting? I suppose only time will tell. But in the meantime, I have just four words for you.

Dude. I'm totally stoned.

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