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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 395
Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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I have gone thru opiad withdrawal and on day 14, but can't

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I have gone thru opiad withdrawal and on day 14, but can't shake this terrible depression, visual disturbances, brain fog, and feeling 2-dimensional and sort of disconnected with my body and brain function. I have read where it might be depersonalization disorder and I am scared that I am never going to get better. What do I do. I take 50mg zoloft and adderal.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 5 years ago.
Hello there. I have a few questions for you. What was your drug of choice? For how long did you use it? I think 14 days of being clean and sober is not enough for your depression to go away.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I snorted 30mg. oxycodone pills 5or 6 times a day for 7 months and of and on for about 4 years.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How long will it take for my seratonin and dopamine levels to return to normal? Is there anything I can take to help this?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
therapist not online
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 5 years ago.

Hello there, I am sorry I have been off line for a while. It takes 2 years for your seratonin and dopamine levels to return to normal. There things you can do to increase seratonin naturally. One is exercise. I know is hard and that you don't feel like working out because your low seratonin levels make you depressed but working out daily will really help. Other things that raise seratonin is doing things you enjoy like talking to friends, eating a nice meal, music. I tell most of my clients in recovery that recovery has to be fun. This is a good time to find out things that you like to do. I suggest to take a class on something you always enjoyed such as art, music, anything your are interested in. That will help you so much. I also suggest that you find a support group. You can try depression support group or a recovery group.

Good nutrition will also help you. The golden goal for recovery is to not be to tired too angry too lonely or too hungry. Things will get better every day and after 6 months you will feel much happier. I also suggest that you find a therapist who treats depression and addiction to help you heal. Try to be around possitive people also. Now is time to call friends and relatives and ask for support.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
okay my mother has been writing these for me because she does not see the severity in the situation im having. I cant SEE I CANT THINK I CANT WALK WITHOUT VERTIGO i cant remeber anything, cant write my name or even speak clearly. i almost fell out of my chair in class several times tonight. I cannot LIVE WITH THESE symptoms. I go from having an addiction to all of a sudden being brain dead!!!???i would almost rather have an addiction! my daughter turned two yeasterday and i couldn't even pick her up or shop for her presents because i feel so disoriented. I literally feel like i am HIGH ALL THE TIME IN SOME DREAM WORLD!! i cant get anyone to give me anykind of striaght forward reasoning for this...i want to know what this is , exactly what chemically is going awry and seriously give me and accurate estimate of how long this will go on....because i have to tell you this is NOT A LIFE. I WONT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE SCHOOL WORK, I CANT TALK or see how am i suppose to take part in FUN ACTIVITIES!!??? OR OTHER PEOPLE!!??? no one gets that this is NOT DEPRESSION!! THIS IS NOT SOME ANXIETY IN MY HEAD!! THIS IS NEUROLOGICAL AND I WANT TO KNOW HOW TO FIX IT BEFORE I lose my mind and my life to some stupid shit i did recreationally for the good part of my twenties. you have not told me anything i dont already know, please tell me what is going on....chemically. please.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 5 years ago.

I will opt out so a psychiatrist can tell you more about the chemistry of addiction. As a therapist I can only tell you that seeing a doctor to get help with your exreem withdrawal will help and you will feel better. Maybe you mother needs to take care of your 2 year old. Go to the emergency room they know how to help you with opoid withdrawal symptoms

  1. The Short-lived, Acute, intense, immediate withdrawal which occurs directly after stopping all opiates. "clucking", shakes, profuse sweating, chills, gooseflesh, body temperature instability, autonomic instability, "revved-up," diarrhea, cramping, bone pain, mental anguish, etc. (takes ~3 to 10 days depending on the half-life of the drug)
  2. PAWS or "Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome." This is the more drawn-out phase of the body learns to cope without the drugs. includes boredom, insomnia, self-doubt, 'restless legs,' depression.
  1. Behavioral changes are necessary in order to learn new and solid pathways for the brain's reward circuit, and
  2. It takes MUCH LONGER for your effective neurotransmitter levels and nerve conduction parameters to return to normal, pre-addiction levels.
And depending on your expectations and how you approach these critical 're-building' and 're-organizing' phases, will go far in how well you'll feel during and after withdrawal.

What can be done to HELP your nerve conduction while re-equilibrating to life without opiates? (or--"How to Maximize Your Neuronal Signaling During Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.")
  • Boost the deficient neurotransmitters.
  • Maximize electrical conduction ALONG the nerve.

First, let's talk about boosting the neurotransmitters. For the opiate addict, this means SPECIFICALLY "ENDORPHIN"---short for "Endogenously Produced Morphine" aka "Endomorphine" aka "ENDORPHIN."

There are some things you should know about endorphins. They are the body's natural opiate. Endorphin is released naturally in response to pain, orgasm, exercise, laughter, positive thoughts, secondary messengers responsible for fevers & immune responses, and there are other potential triggers including prayer.

These tips
may not seem like earth-shattering phenomena by themselves, but believe me, when these steps are clustered and performed regularly, THEY REALLY DO HELP!!!

Common activities known to boost endorphin levels/satisfy cravings:
  • Chocolate. Chocolate has a mild effect on endorphins.
  • Candy. Actually any kind of sugary candy boosts natural endorphin levels. Candy helps most with early stages of withdrawal. Lab mice experiments have shown sugary sweets appease craving after abruptly cessation of morphine. Swim practically LIVED on Reese's Pieces, sour candies, M&M's, and those 'tiny' Hershey Kisses for 8 TO 10 WEEKS! Note: he did not gain or lose weight during this time.
  • Exercise. This is #1. Force yourself to walk out the front door. FORCE YOURSELF to walk 2-3 blocks from your front door…then you turn around and get 2-3 additional blocks in for good measure. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!! The best exercise is running/jogging/spinning/anything aerobic. Second best is walking or yoga. Somewhere in-between the two is weight lifting. Weight lifting or resistance-training can be done in a fraction of the time and there is evidence to show that this kind of exercise might benefit the MOST at the late stages of withdrawal (i.e. insomnia from 'restless legs').
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 5 years ago.

What happens is you brain does not produce seratonin because the drugs gave you those. Here is how increase seratonin

How to Increase Electrical Conductivity WITHIN

The portion of your
body that is re-learning its own equilibrium WITHOUT OPIATES is essentially an
aquatic salt-water ecosystem that runs almost entirely off
electrolytes (+ and - particles called "ions" dissolved in solution) and VERY
THIN membranes. These membranes are "semi-permeable" which means that with some
assistance from various proteins, these membranes allow your body to separate
and partition off positively-charged & negatively-charged
ions. This creates VOLTAGE--the difference in charges across a membrane or
"potential energy."

You can imagine the separated + and - ions as being
like a battery. As long as the membranes are intact and your body is able to
separate positives from negatives, then your batteries are "charged." But, if
you punch a hole in one of the membranes or stop actively separating out
positives from negatives, you end up with a lifeless or DEAD battery. ions from

Anytime you 'fire' off a
neuron, an "ON" signal is propagated from somewhere deep inside the brain, along
a LOOOONG axon, that ends by terminating into either another neuron (inside the
brain) or somewhere else outside the brain (like a muscle or a salivary gland,
for example).

If you were to
tell yourself, "I am now Lifting my right fore-finger," then a neuron in your
brain's motor cortex will first "fire" using a neurotransmitter. But the signal
actually travels all the way down on a single neuron from the brain to your
right arm. All the way down a discrete "wire" found in a bundle of other wires
(your spinal cord) until the single nerve cell finally ends on muscles in your
forearm where ANOTHER neurotransmitter is released, cause you to LIFT YOUR RIGHT

Why the
well, the FIRST step involved in this example involves a
neurotransmitter. In this case, the neurotransmitter is called acetyl-choline...
but there are plenty of other neurotransmitters whose functions are to transmit
various ideas, emotions, reactions, reflexes, memories,

neurotransmitter you're missing is ENDORPHIN. Earlier in this
post, I listed suggestions to help you SHOWER your brain with endorphin--and
these will make you feel much better. If you can
assimilate some or all of these activities into your daily routine, then you'll
not only be back to normal very soon, BUT (swear to GOD) you'll actually FEEL

The reason I went thru the whole explanation of the +
and - ions, the function of cell membranes to partition off these charged
particles, and how that nerves & thus your entire brain FUNCTIONS by using a
continuous flow of ions in and out of various partitions is because I want you
to really REALLY UNDERSTAND something about how our bodies

You see, all this fine
detail about nerve transmission can ONLY take place under ONE condition. And
this is one of the most convincing arguments for evolution
that I've ever heard... The ONLY PERFECT ENVIRONMENT for the proper flow of
electricity and nerve conduction is found---

our body's have a "waxy coat" of skin that traps the ocean INSIDE

So, whenever you hear
someone say "SALT IS BAD FOR YOU", you can tell them they would be DEAD if it
weren't for the salt they eat!

Without getting too involved in this, just know that your body has
exquisite mechanisms for hanging onto precious minerals and filtering out
'excess' ions. This is mostly done by the kidneys. HOWEVER, your body has
NO WAY of either DILUTING or CREATING electrolytes.
(i.e. sodium,
potassium, calcium, magnesium, & trace


Simple. Drink plenty of water.
Plain water. Not colas, not coffee, not beer. Your body will utilize pure water to
form the MOST PERFECT, EXACT ion levels in the various partitioned areas. Unlike
what many people believe, drinking extra water does NOT go straight into your
piss!! Rather, the water goes from your GI tract, into your bloodstream where it
is then dispersed EVENLY throughout every single cell in your body!

That's right...when you drink
a glass of pure water, that water becomes almost instantly available to EACH AND
EVERY CELL IN YOUR BODY, in order beginning with those cells which NEED WATER
THE MOST! So, those cells which urgently need this pure water will get 'first
dibs', and so on until the water has been evenly dispersed.

What do the cells DO
WITH this pure water??

  • Rejuvenate Cell
    Processes/Restore Cellular Health.
    First off, the
    new water allows overly-concentrated, sluggish, toxic (dehydrated) cells to
    return to their original healthy size, shape, & texture. You may recall from
    biology that a single water (H2O) molecule is generated in cellular energy
    generation (called respiration). Glucose and Oxygen are transformed into energy,
    releasing CO2, and H2O. Well, if your teachers were like mine, they neglected
    to teach how important pre-EXISTING H2O was for this energy to be produced in
    the first place! Without a surplus of pure H2O, NONE of this energy can be

  • Eliminate
    This pure water is necessary for your
    muscles (and other cells) to mobilize their toxic byproducts for excretion in to
    the urine. Plus, the additional water will optimize sub-cellular
    activities that have become erratic or sub-optimal from dehydration, built-up
    waste materials, and are living in an overall unbalanced, unhealthy state. These
    molecular-level processes will be cleansed by way of excessive hydration,
    dilution of toxins, and toxic elimination when these toxins are absorbed along
    with excess water into the bloodstream and almost immediately filtered into the
    urine. This 'flooding' leads to a "clean slate" on a sub-cellular level, which
    then allows the cell's energy production to normalize, which translates into
    higher energy, more energy efficiency on the tissue & organ level which
    affects the energy and health that we "FEEL" as organisms!!

  • Enhance Normal Nerve
    Conduction Velocity.
    Remember all that talk about
    positive and negative ions being separated by membranes to form a 'biological
    battery'?? Well, one of the most vitally important pieces of the
    nerve-conduction puzzle is adequate hydration! Adequate hydration allows nerves
    to conduct their signals FASTER and also allows each nerve to 'reset itself'
    FASTER as well! So, in essence, adding pure water
    into your body will make your brain and muscles faster and more
    --as though
    your neurotransmitter levels were actually HIGHER-
    -when in reality, you haven't done anything to change your
    neurotransmitter levels!
When your urine has any yellow coloration or smells,
this signifies waste products and toxins that your body must ELIMINATE in order
to create this perfect aqueous environment for your nerve cells, muscles, and
every tissue.

HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD YOU DRINK? honestly, everyone is
different. People going through drug withdrawal require more water than
someone whose tissues are already in equilibrium. Your need for 'extra' water
during times of stress or drug detoxification will be obvious by the color and
smell of your urine.

Your urine should be
clear and have
no smell. This signifies optimal

Vitamins and Minerals. For fastest re-equalization, you should
take ONE daily vitamin with minerals. These days, most every daily
vitamin includes minerals as well as folate (aka folic
Don't waste your money on expensive vitamins or supplements. All
you need are the basic RDA. The *REAL* secret to maximizing the absorption of
vitamins is to simply take them WITH FOOD. Taking excess or "mega-dose" vitamins
is just a waste of vitamins. 250mg to 500mg of Vitamin C per day is also
encouraged, especially in the first few months of

The basic message
is to take care of the things that you probably never even THOUGHT ABOUT while
on the junk. Things like making sure to take vitamins, eat balanced meals to
provide sustenance, exercising and drinking PLENTY OF WATER!

There are other threads which discuss supplements which can
be taken to boost other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, and
serotonin. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions...this is just WAY TOO
HUGE of a topic to answer in a single post! good luck future smack quitters, and
to all the Ex-Junkies--PEACE!
Penny Rayas, MFT and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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