What causes lack of emotion?

Hip

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I also suffer the blunted affect (blunted emotions) of ME/CFS.

Out of all the supplements and drugs (listed in this post) that I noticed increase emotional responses, allicin is the only one that seems to consistently and reliably ramp up emotions, making me feel more human again.

Unfortunately the allicin dose required to increase emotional responses I find is quite high: around 6 x 180 mg allicin capsules taken once daily. This then becomes a little expensive, since 90 x 180 mg of allicin costs around £16.


I am not sure why allicin boosts emotional responses, but it may relate to the fact that sulphur-containing compounds from garlic such as allicin are known to act on the hypothalamus, and the hypothalamus plays an important role in emotional processing in the brain (and as we know, the hypothalamus may not be functioning properly in ME/CFS, due to the HPA-axis dysfunction, which might explain the blunted emotions of ME/CFS in the first place).
 
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andyguitar

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Interesting post this. Among other things allicin stops platelets clumping together so it thins your blood. It is possible that the blood supply to some parts of the brain is diminished in ME so some emotional reactions get blunted. Also possible that allicin is acting directly on the levels of Serotonin in the brain and elsewhere. Could be this effect that is thinning the blood. Effect is short lived though so needs to be taken regularly. Crushed garlic would be a cheaper option if you can stand the taste and stomach upset you might get. Wont work if you swallow garlic whole.
 

Hip

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Among other things allicin stops platelets clumping together so it thins your blood. It is possible that the blood supply to some parts of the brain is diminished in ME so some emotional reactions get blunted.
An interesting idea, but I have never noticed any emotion-boosting effects from other blood thinners like bromelain. Although I notice very mild increases in emotional responses from vinpocetine, a supplement that increases cerebral blood flow.

The effects of garlic compounds on the hypothalamus are described in this paper:
Garlic a perennial erect plant is known to have sulphur-containing compounds that act on the hypothalamus increasing the sensitivity of the hypothalamus to leptin
Increases in leptin seems to be a problem in ME/CFS, as it promotes brain inflammation (see this article), and high leptin can result from leptin resistance (insensitivity to leptin), so the increase in leptin sensitivity afforded by sulphur-containing compounds of garlic may be generally helpful in ME/CFS.



Crushed garlic would be a cheaper option if you can stand the taste and stomach upset you might get.
You can try that, but note that one 180 mg capsule of allicin is equivalent to about 40 cloves of garlic, and so my allicin dose of 6 x 180 mg is equivalent to 240 cloves.

Allicin has quite strong antibacterial effects, so if you are using high doses on a long-term basis, perhaps probiotic supplement might be an idea, to ensure you maintain good levels of friendly bacteria in the gut.
 
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Tunguska

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I'm noticing it allot more lately. Everyone thinks I don't care about them, but I do, I just can't seem to have any emotion. It's kind of ruining relationships.
Yeah I've had your problem for ages, nowadays I reserve some doses of opioids or phenibut for social occasions, they do work acutely, although I hate some aspects of phenibut.

That still leaves daily life very bland especially since I stopped opioids during the week. In my case my best estimation is that disregulation of endogenous opioids and their receptors have to be involved (desensitized or lowered production of mu-opioid and/or increased kappa-opioid), the only other real alternative I see being glucocorticoid/CRH receptor rewiring, whereas things like 5-ht receptors I've lost interest in even though they sound relevant on paper. Possibly deranged immune signaling downregulates opioid receptors, so a basic solution would be LDN, which still haven't tried yet. Instead I use high dose allopregnanolone precursor every few days primarily for cognition but it does have an effect on bluntness although much weaker/less-drastic than phenibut or opioid combo (the allo modulates way too much to infer how it's working, but it does modulate opioids in interesting way).

These days most other substances I try to take actually worsen it (except amino acids). Usually I have to trade cognition and work capacity for emotion, so it gets sidelined. That sounds like a normal problem when I read it back but you know what I mean.
 

debored13

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Yeah I've had your problem for ages, nowadays I reserve some doses of opioids or phenibut for social occasions, they do work acutely, although I hate some aspects of phenibut.

That still leaves daily life very bland especially since I stopped opioids during the week. In my case my best estimation is that disregulation of endogenous opioids and their receptors have to be involved (desensitized or lowered production of mu-opioid and/or increased kappa-opioid), the only other real alternative I see being glucocorticoid/CRH receptor rewiring, whereas things like 5-ht receptors I've lost interest in even though they sound relevant on paper. Possibly deranged immune signaling downregulates opioid receptors, so a basic solution would be LDN, which still haven't tried yet. Instead I use high dose allopregnanolone precursor every few days primarily for cognition but it does have an effect on bluntness although much weaker/less-drastic than phenibut or opioid combo (the allo modulates way too much to infer how it's working, but it does modulate opioids in interesting way).

These days most other substances I try to take actually worsen it (except amino acids). Usually I have to trade cognition and work capacity for emotion, so it gets sidelined. That sounds like a normal problem when I read it back but you know what I mean.
i've also considering going on opioids and kratom and just using ultra low dose naltrexone to help with tolerance. nothing seems to be helping me and it seems like the only way to deal with the misery
 

Stretched

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There’s an interesting book ‘Why Buddhism is True,’ by Robert Wright (not religious; philosophical), It wanders around this topic, indirectly in a thought provoking manner which stimulates balancing emotions. It’s food for a questioning mind:

...“But the main point is just that all kinds of curiosity—ranging from a driving, headlong quest to a pleasant stroll along the byways of speculation—do seem to involve feelings. It’s no surprise, then, that brain scans are showing that a curious state of mind involves activity in the dopamine system, the system involved in motivation and reward, in desire and pleasure.”

Every thought has a propellant, and that propellant is emotional.”...

*
Note: highlights are mine.
 
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drob31

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There’s an interesting book ‘Why Buddhism is True,’ by Robert Wright (not religious; philosophical), It wanders around this topic, indirectly in a thought provoking manner which stimulates balancing emotions. It’s food for a questioning mind:

...“But the main point is just that all kinds of curiosity—ranging from a driving, headlong quest to a pleasant stroll along the byways of speculation—do seem to involve feelings. It’s no surprise, then, that brain scans are showing that a curious state of mind involves activity in the dopamine system, the system involved in motivation and reward, in desire and pleasure.”

Every thought has a propellant, and that propellant is emotional.”...

*
Note: highlights are mine.

Tyrosine almost makes me feel normal, depending on the dose, but it seems like I need to cycle it, or I crash from it.,
 
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I'm noticing it allot more lately. Everyone thinks I don't care about them, but I do, I just can't seem to have any emotion. It's kind of ruining relationships.
...emotions. We all have them, but many of us are adapted to not feel them. The problem is that even though you aren't aware of them consciously, your body is aware. Emotions that are not felt consciously come out as behavior and symptoms.
 
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Starsister

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...emotions. We all have them, but many of us are adapted to not feel them. The problem is that even though you aren't aware of them consciously, your body is aware. Emotions that are not felt consciously come out as behavior and symptoms.
As a psychotherapist, I say "well said"! As someone reading this thread long after it's stopped,or perhaps your post was just recently, and I haven't figured out how to locate threads I was involved in to check back in.....I'm remembering how depressed I was in my post in October...eeks. In general, with age I just seem to get more and more emotionally volatile..too much in some ways, too little in other situations.

I was in tears last time I saw my gp because my only relative my brother had excluded me from his life. She gave me a depression questionnaire..now that was surreal because in 1974, as a college intern, I was working as a research assistant to the statistician that invented the Depression scale at the Nat. Institute for Mental Health and we based all our subsequent research and published results on that scale. With lots of life under my belt, and 30 yrs of practicing psychotherapy, as well as years IN therapy, I realized it is worth @&#€. I can't believe it is still being used and they revised it but made it worse!

The people making up these "testing instruments" are not mental health clinicians and have NO experience with real patients and life...because I was one of them! They are academics and researchers who are getting paid to pretend something immeasurable is measurable and quantifiable, a bias so they can justify all the money spent on research and they can build careers by publishing and scratch each other's backs professionally by continuing to reference each other's professional publications and crediting each other with inventing "tools". It is a game that served me well in grad school. Those were great days, even published a chapter in a psychology textbook myself, but looking back I feel a bit sick that I was part of validating that scale ..something I never thought would be in use over 40 years later.
Now that I know what depression feels like, it all seems silly and useless. Of course the dr gave me a script for another SSRI which made her feel better like she'd accomplished something. I took it for two days, remembered the horrible reactions I get with SSRI s, and stopped. Replaced it with GABA and 5 htp temporarily, but what bounced me out of the depression immediately was my brother calling me in October to drive him for hernia surgery and stayed at my house overnight. I felt needed and connected to Family again and that's all I needed.......so far, so good.

I know I still hold my feelings reserved when it comes to connection because i am afraid of having to go through the grief again. You know, we with this crazy illness have lost so much of our lives, work, and family and friends, that no wonder we suppress our emotions about life. We have had to grieve SO much. And if we start to feel better and get some life back, I'm not going to get attached to it because I've had 35 years of relapses and poof....laying in bed alone watching Netflix for months again. I've learned to adjust to being alone, as I think Matt was referring to.

Sorry so long winded, caused me to compare where I was at in October, then looking up that depression scale and seeing how widely it is still used after my dr visit, learning that my friend and mentor, the woman who created it died last summer, and what delusions I was under in my youth about the validity of psychology research. I really am passionate about psychotherapy, but there is a reason the researchers publishing and setting guidelines for mental health in our doctors offices are so out in left field, and then our drs our clueless about mental health...It's because those "experts" who come up with the psychology theories have no experience with real, live people.