Loss of Memory
When users become aware again after years of emotional hibernation, they realize that they have no recollection, or only vague impressions of significant events in their lives. One woman said ‘My grandson is now eleven, he has always lived in my house, and since I have come off pills, my thinking is clearer, but I cannot remember his birth or his growing up’. This experience is typical.
Some people have said that they have gone back to the emotional state they were in when they first took drugs. One man in his thirties who was first prescribed tranquillizers when he was seventeen said he felt adolescent again when he was drug-free.
These can cause a great deal of distress during withdrawal. The sufferer is suddenly overwhelmed by fear for no apparent reason, and often feels that death is not far away. Some feel unable to move or speak, others shout out for help. Although the attacks usually last only a few minutes it can seem much longer to the sufferer.
In a person who is not nervously ill, an exam, or even an exciting social event may produce ‘butterflies in the stomach’; sweating hands; constriction of the chest; a rise the heart rate, etc. This is a normal response. A panics attack is an exaggeration of this, due to an exhausted nervous system. If you are over-enthusiastic the ^first time you go out jogging, your muscles will complain the next day, by being stiff and sore. Panic attacks, agoraphobia, irritability, and many other symptoms are a similar cry for help from your nervous system. It is raying ‘Do not abuse me, I have had enough’.
It is often hard to convince someone who is having pani^ attacks that it is not the onset of some terrible disease. Every symptom—wildly beating heart; rapid breathing; sweating; shaking—is part of the ‘fright and flight’ response. We would be lost without it. We do not want to stop it, but to get it back to normal.
Primitive man needed to be able to react like this to escape from dangerous animals. We may need it now to get out of the path of the number 33 bus, or a youth on a skateboard! Fear stimulates the chemicals that make us respond quickly. That unpleasant sinking feeling in the abdomen is only a sudden diversion of blood away from internal organs to the legs to make them move faster.