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Stimulants: to what extent do you think they help you function?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Firestormm, May 21, 2013.

?

Do you consciously use stimulants to help improve your mental/physical function?

Poll closed Aug 21, 2013.
  1. Yes

    70.4%
  2. No

    29.6%
  1. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Evening all :alien:

    I am convinced that my ability to function - mentally (cognitively) and physically - is enhanced by my conscious use of stimulants.

    I'm talking here about LEGAL stimulants. In fact that's quite interesting, as my prescribed medications include relaxants.... hmm...

    Anyway, my daily supplements comprise: Caffeine (Ground Coffee); and Nicotine (Electronic Cigarettes). I gave up smoking tobacco 3 months ago (again after 10 years) and have 'successfully' switched my addiction to Nicolites :whistle: . This latter move is going very well I must say :balloons:

    I couldn't tell you how much coffee I consume in the morning hours. Three cafetieres I suppose at most - on average I would say, two. And I get about three large mugs of the lovely black stuff from each cafetiere. It's my only indulgence (don't tell the therapist - well she knows so I don't really mind if you do :))

    The nicotine I allow to leach into my bloodstream is 'allegedly' the equivalent of 30 cigarettes a day but I believe that to be crap :) However, as I am now 'smoking' inside my new home (I wasn't before) I am prepared to admit this could possibly be the case :oops:

    Still I am to some extent reassured by the simple fact that tobacco is no longer on my shopping list - and the tar etc. is no longer being forced into my lungs. Gods I miss tobacco don't get me wrong - but needs must - and I couldn't any longer tolerate the stink!

    Now I have tried for considerable periods to live without caffeine. I have existed on 'camomile' and various err... grass-like-tasteless herbal infusions and they have their place I suppose; but I have definitely decided that caffeine provides that BOOST and a degree of clear thinking that enables me to 'do' things - basic things I suppose - more easily and for longer.

    I don't drink caffeine as a rule in the afternoon, and definitely don't in the evening. I might switch to a nice pot of tea after lunch or with scones at tea-time (as we are want to do here in Cornwall ;)) but coffee is for the few hours in the morning which is when I get most of my activities commenced.

    Of course this depends on my general state of health. So I might not have coffee at all if I am feeling crap upon waking; or I might have more if my night-time exploits have been especially dire. Or more nicotine if I am in a bad mood because my ME is playing up... etc.

    I was just wandering, whether and to what extent you guys might resort to stimulants such as these; and whether or not you believe they help with your ME restrictions; and in what way.

    It could be my addictions leading me to draw these conclusions - I understand that - but trying to 'function' without them is - I find - damn hard going; and I would say pretty impossible.

    Thanks :sluggish:
     
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    Coffee used to make me go, but I think it may have wiped me out further in the long run. Now I can't have any - my body just can't handle it, and my condition gets much worse as backlash.

    One of my doctors had me on Ritalin for a brief trial when they still didn't know what was wrong with my energy levels, and I felt AWESOME (too awesome, really - kind of drunk. ...But energetic!) while on it, but then after the pill ran out I was just a shriveled husk of a person, waiting for the next day and the next dose to come. I barely had the energy to lie there and exist. I think either it was just concentrating all of the resources I had into those couple of hours, or it was just giving the illusion that I had extra resources by bypassing the body's normal warning signals. Either way, it wasn't worth it at all in the long run. My overall condition just kept going south.
     
  3. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    Thanks Sparrow. I should have added, but you've prompted me to say, that when I was really bad, I couldn't tolerate coffee or nicotine. At those times alcohol was to be avoided - whereas now - if I choose - I can handle a half glass of red wine occasionally.

    I wonder if I built up my caffeine and nicotine tolerances once more as my health/ME in general improved? And if intolerance's/sensitivities to stimulants are yet another aspect to this illness that we can - sometimes - overcome through incremental re-introductions? Hmm.... made me think even harder now :)
     
  4. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I can handle two very very weak coffees once a week or so. If I have more than that, I get something akin to a crash the next day.
     
  5. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    Does one oz. of dark chocolate and one mug of green tea count as stimulants? I consume them. I am not sure what difference they make.
     
  6. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I think then this might be a personal thing. We often talk about 'sensitivities' and 'intolerance's' and my own certainly 'flare' when I am at my worst - though I am unsure if this is any different than for someone without ME who is sick? For example - light sensitivity and noise intolerance also 'flare' when I am too ill to do very much.

    What do you get from drinking coffee and/or other caffeinated products, Val, may I ask? Do you experience the 'buzz' still and is it overwhelming i.e. too much to cope with? Or is it just something you enjoy as a drink?

    How about better clarity in terms of cognitive function or maybe a better ability - short term (as with myself) - to keep these symptoms at bay for a while?

    I definitely get the 'Oh shit I've drunk too much coffee yesterday and done too much as a result' feeling. But then I get that through doing too much anyway. Symptoms in general 'flare' and I need to do far less. Yesterday for example, I was determined to get to grips with some website outstanding work that had piled up from months back - so I used the caffeine (and nicotine) to help push me through.

    Today, was scheduled for 'taking it easy'. And I am. Less caffeine. More 'taking it easy' with my scheduled tasks...

    Ahh... chocolate! :) Of course. There's a stimulant I hadn't considered. I don't now use chocolate although I do enjoy the odd wee nibble. Again I guess it's about tolerance - what you feel able to handle - and balancing that with desire and enjoyment. Little treats are worth it :)

    I was never a one for Green Tea. My brother gulps the stuff - or he used to. I understand it has undergone a revival. Do you get a 'buzz' from it? And how does it affect your ability to function - do you think? Thanks :)
     
  7. vamah

    vamah Senior Member

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    Caffeine tends to make me jumpy and increase my anxiety problems, so I try not to have too much -- a soda is fine, a regular coffee is not. Nicotine gum, on the other hand, can really help with my brain fog which had gotten so bad I could hardly focus on work for more than 10 minutes at a time. On an average day I have 3-4 pieces (2mg) per day -- more on bad days, less on good. The funny thing is that one particular flavor of one particular brand seems to work best for me. If I have a different flavor -- even of the same brand -- I feel slightly dizzy.
     
    Firestormm likes this.
  8. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    These Nicolites come in 'cherry' flavour. Very strange. They remind me of puffing on one of those hookah pipes. OBVIOUSLY not containing any banned substances - I of course have no experience of that! :)

    [​IMG]

    But yeah nicotine does seem to help me 'do' more and more clearly. Well I think so anyway, but I have too be careful and not have too much. Like coffee and any stimulant I suppose.
     
  9. Tristen

    Tristen Senior Member

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    Morning coffee is one of my delights, but it does nothing for the symptoms. Don't smoke, and doubt it would do more than make me sick.

    As far as pharmaceutical stimulants such as Provigil and Ritilan, I've tried them all attempting to get relief of the symptoms. But it's the same result with all of them......I will feel more energy temporarily, but inevitably they push me into a crash. Anything that pushes my system to a higher level of function, will always get that same result. But some people do report successful use of these stimulants.
     
    Jonjay likes this.
  10. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I've found both caffeine and nicotine to be very helpful. It's interesting to me that both of these substances cause a significant release of cortisol. I was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency and I think I unconsciously used these substances to try to get my body to release as much cortisol as possible. Of course, this plan eventually backfired and I stopped both for about 4 years.

    I recently started drinking caffeine again and it definitely gives me more energy. Some days I would like to try nicotine again but the patches (my delivery method of choice) were ruinously expensive and I definitely built up a tolerance.

    I have also been trying to look at what other things these substances influence in the body and trying to find other things that might work as well or better. The first thing that always comes up is dopamine. So I've been looking at meds that influence dopamine. Specifically Cycloset which is supposed to increase AM dopamine which then increases AM cortisol and helps to re-set the circadian rhythm. This is also supposed to lower high fasting blood sugar and other signs of metabolic syndrome. This is all theory though since I've not yet tried it personally.

    I also was looking at galantamine which is supposed to work on the nicotinic receptors in the brain similarly to nicotine. It can also work to reset the HPA axis. My doctor prescribed this but I haven't had a chance to try it with starting the cidofovir IVs and all yet.

    Things that increase acetylcholine also seem to be helpful though less so than either caffeine or nicotine. I like phosphatidyl choline probably the best of these.

    Ema
     
    heapsreal likes this.
  11. vamah

    vamah Senior Member

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    Did you see that some localities want to treat e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes? This gets me mad because I have friends who have successfully quit smoking using e-cigarettes and they do not produce any smoke, just water vapor. If you want to encourage people to quit smoking you don't eliminate less harmful alternatives. Myself, I have never been a smoker. I started chewing Nicorette for my CFS symptoms.
     
    Firestormm likes this.
  12. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I voted yes. Mostly sugar and chocolate. Caffeine in moderation.

    Never tried nicotine.

    I tried ADHD medications before. They help but the crash afterwards is difficult.
     
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  13. meandthecat

    meandthecat

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    As my GP didn't believe in ME, coffee was all I had to stay awake; and as I had been a wholefood eating, zero stimulant, meditating organic gardener...and ridiculously fit ....it was like rocket fuel. Sadly I was like a rocket of solid lead and hovered rather than flew, descending shortly after the last cup. I still drink 2 or 3 cups of moderate freshly ground coffee each morning but have to match intake to activity, it sort of burns off; If I drink too much I fall asleep.

    Does protein count as a stimulant, it seems to act as one. Steak tonight..Oh Yes
     
    Firestormm likes this.
  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    No buzz from the green tea. It has even less caffeine than black tea. I cannot tell if it affects my ability to function.
     
    Firestormm likes this.
  15. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    I've used caffeine for an energy boost all along but if I have pem nothing helps. I'm in the process
    of testing nicotine, organic cigs for now, to see if this will help my oi. Vitamin water xxx gives me energy.

    While these substances make me feel more alert they haven't helped my ability to understand what I read or
    hear. Laying flat for my oi, food and dex4 help more with that. I'm easy going and become more aggressive
    and have less patient on stimulants.

    My tolerance for caffeine is low but I have seizures. Half a cup of regular coffee makes me jittery. Sozo coffee isn't making
    me jittery but I'm feeling a little wired.

    I'd be stuck at home regularly without these tho so I'm pro stimulant. Tc .. X
     
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  16. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I've got no idea really.

    In the first few years of being ill I would have occasional coffee, but it left me feeling really mashed. I was in some ways more 'alert' but in a rather demented and out of control way. It also left me feeling much worse after it had worn off. This was back when I was generally amused by the weird ways my body reacted during what I was sure what be a short and temporary illness - "wow, I can make myself feel crazy just by drinking a little coffee" - I think I'd be more cautious now.

    With caffeine and nicotine, aren't they addictive anyway? I thought that, for most people, the energy boost they provide is largely illusory, and balanced by greater fatigue when they're not on them (this idea of mine is quite possibly based on an old article from The Economist spun from poorly done research though).
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  17. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I've been thinking more about what I think these stimulants actually contribute to my health in recent days, since starting this thread.

    I think it's more a case of them helping me to continue for longer at whatever reasonable task I set myself. Of course the nicotine doesn't help with my appetite - I realise that it deadens appetite when I really need to 'stimulate' appetite; but I do feel that combined the caffeine and nicotine (both of which I enjoy or rather I love coffee and am pleased now to be able to tolerate it once again) help me fight against the fatigue.

    Like you and others have implied/said however; they don't negate the primary cognitive symptoms. I still have issues with reading for example; but I can on occasion read for longer. If that makes sense. Neither source of stimulant means I can avoid my rest periods and neither do they eliminate the exhaustion completely.

    I also reach a point where I simply can't continue. It's just that that time is delayed a little longer. Plus of course I gain from the pleasure of drinking and enjoying my java :)
     
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  18. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    Esther12

    If you google these you'll see that they know now that these affect our body's chemistry. You'll need to google nicotene and caffeine benefits to get the positive info tho.

    Thankfully we're past the days where these chemicals weren't being tracked and reactions were considered illusory. Sure if someone uses these constantly during the day and never allows their bodies to get back to a "normal" state or started using these before they knew to watch for a reaction, they can lose track of how each one affects them.

    For instance, I asked a regular smoker the other day what he's feeling when he gets the urge for another cig and he couldn't tell me. He smokes a cig probably every 2 hours and always after a meal. I'm assuming it's anxiety because nicotene increases dopamine and serotonin but I thought it was interesting that this person couldn't describe what he's feeling. This person never seems upset or jittery so he's not one of those smokers who you can tell is jonesing for nicotene.

    The level of dependence can be controlled by whoever is using these. I'm 57 and I've been on and off a few addictive substances including caffeine and klonopin so I don't consider withdrawal a huge problem. Annoying yes but nothing more if done slow enough.

    I'm only smoking 1 cig a day for now therefore only getting 1 mg of nicotene. For the first time since I started this, I smoked one this morning before breakfast and actually felt more awake and I ate less for breakfast. :cool:
    Nicotene is an anti estrogenic so I'm hoping to shed a few pounds too.

    tc ... x
     
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  19. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I'm not convinced about the weight-loss and nicotine argument. I think nicotine and less appetite works but you need exercise too in order to lose weight. Double whammy for us muppets :)
     
  20. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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    Nicotine is an acetylcholine agonist.

    I smoke more than a package (25 sig) a day but that is not enough I also need the positive allosteric modulator levamisole.

    When the a7nAchR are not stimulated muscles won't work and the immune system will fail too.
     

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