Dreams of Chemistry

February 10, 2007 at 9:35 pm 6 comments

The codeine last night was a nice escape from reality, but I’m back now. Codeine always seems to leave me vaguely hungover the next day. Not like an alcohol hangover, but feeling a little fuzzy. I have an appointment with the psychiatrist on Tuesday, which I’m looking forward to. I don’t think I’ll mention my recreational drug abuse. It’s probably not hugely relevant anyway. And the last thing I want on my medical records is ‘opiate abuser’. If that’s there and I end up actually needing opiates for pain of some kind, it’ll probably it much more difficult to get prescribed any.

I’ve been on edge these last couple of days. Jumping at small sounds, edging slowly into paranoia. At one point I looked up suddenly to find a huge spider leaping towards me. It was only for a moment and I soon realised it was a trick of my visual system. My dreams have been disturbing and it’s been difficult to get to sleep. Thoughts racing through my head when I lay down. Waking up every couple of hours, and thinking of chemistry. It may be the effort I’m putting into my drugs book project, they way that playing too many computer games can have you playing them all night in your sleep. But I don’t think so. It’s like my mind is latching on to anything it can chew on right now.

Which brings me to a request, though a somewhat unlikely one. Does anyone know a friendly organic chemist who’d be willing to translate the UK phenethylamine ban into chemicals that people actually know the names of? Right now I’m downloading freeware chemistry software in order to try to understand what the hell the UK government means by (for example) N-Methyl-N-(alpha-methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyphenethyl)hydroxylamine. I’d like to avoid having to learn large swathes of organic chemistry, really.


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On codeine Psychiatrist appointment tomorrow

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. puddlejumper  |  February 12, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    I have no idea about the chemistry question.

    Is phenethylamine the stuff that’s in chocolate that makes us feel loved up? Or am I confusing it with something else?

    But I do know that you are supposed to be as upfront and honest with your psyche folk or else they are basically treating you blind.

    The trouble if you are using Codeine is that if you keep it a secret and at some point you DO need pain relief whatever they give you is unlikely to be as effective. If you have it on your notes they at least know you might need a higher than average dose for the same effect.

    It can interact with all sorts of other meds (I don’t know what you are on but codeine can in theory stop you breathing, I would worry about that more than being “labelled” opiate abuser. I don’t say this in any kind of judgemental way but if you are taking codeine recreationally then you ARE an opiate abuser, end of)

    You know this…

    Though given my current attitude towards mental health professionals you do have my understanding.

    Its sucks.


  • 2. experimental chimp  |  February 12, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    If I have a fault (hah!) it’s that I tend to assume I know more about drugs, particularly recreational drugs, and their interactions than medical professionals. Unfortunately, I suspect that this is true.

    I’m currently medication-free (for another day I think), so interactions between codeine and other drugs isn’t a problem yet. SSRIs interfere with the metabolism of codeine into morphine and tend to block or reduce its effects. I use infrequently enough that tolerance isn’t a problem. At low dosages it’ll still help with pain. While it’s opiate abuse, it’s not serious opiate abuse. There’s a fairly long way between what I do and injecting heroin. Addiction has not yet been a problem. I don’t think it ever will be.

    I’m confident (possibly overconfident) of my ability to manage my own drug abuse. The issues you raise are certainly worth considering, though.

    Interestingly, chocolate does contain phenethylamine. However, phenethylamine itself doesn’t appear to have any effects when taken orally (it’s broken down by the body before it can do anything). I suspect there may be other similar chemicals in chocolate that may have a small effect. Chocolate also contains a substance called anandamide, which works on the same neurotransmitters as cannabis.

  • 3. puddlejumper  |  February 12, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    That at least explains why I love chocolate so much.


    Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so patronising earlier. I meant well, you know?

    Take care mate. I’m sure you are.

    I sometimes think we’d all be better off if we were just left to get on with things. The doctors don’t really seem to know shit anyway.


  • 4. experimental chimp  |  February 12, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Nah, you didn’t sound patronising and you did raise some points worth considering. I’m just hugely arrogant about drugs.

  • 5. Help with Chemistry  |  May 15, 2008 at 3:06 am

    Help with Chemistry…

    What is a carbon molecule surrounded by 4 methyl groups called?…

  • 6. experimental chimp  |  May 15, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Hm. Weird. A comment on an old post asking me for help with chemistry. Do I sound like I’m a chemist? In any case, this is obviously a homework question.

    That said, the answer is neopentane.

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?


Self-righteous note about smoking

As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.

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