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Could this be PTSD?

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bett23

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Nov 27, 2021
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We've been trying to help my brother for 30 years and we've hit a wall. I want to describe his story, symptoms and see if anyone has experienced anything similar.

He's had a few "incidents" in his life, where he claims his brain has "snapped" starting with smoking marijuana a few times in his early 20s. His original fear was that he'd broken his brain and he was scared to death he was going to be crazy forever. In work, he was really disconnected emotionally from people, brain wouldn't turn off, and he would claim that the person he knew had died after he smoked the marijuana.

He's had about 4 incidents like this since that time. In the early years, he only had triggers at work and other specific places, but when he got home was better (although not great).

His latest incident was 3.5 years ago when he bought a house that reminded him of another time in his life when he worked in the area and was doing really bad and he again claimed that his brain snapped at the closing table, that he knew his life was over that day. He hasn't been the same since. In this one, his triggers are everywhere, houses, cars, seeing grass on people's lawns.

His brain never turns off, it keeps trying to get somewhere it can't get, his eyes burn, he's scared from the neck up (he calls it being flush with fear) he has no association with people or things that happened before, he says if you dropped him off at a bagel store in another state, he would just start cutting the bagels and keep moving forward because he has no assoications or connections, he screams into his pillow and hits his head trying to turn off his brain at night so he get sleep.

The only time I ever see his symptoms slightly better is if I can convince him to drink some wine or take Klonopin. The latter scares him because he once took it for a year straight (very low dose .25) and then stopped cold turkey and the withdrawal was horrible.

Every doctor just throws him into ssris and benzos but the SSRI's have never helped. We recently did infusion Ketamine with him, and it worked once when we did it 3 days in a row, said he had the most "connected" day in 3.5 years, but it quickly went away.

Any advice, similar stories, symptoms would be much appreciated. In his mind, nobody has what he has, but I don't believe it
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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Hmmm. I can't diagnose anyone with anything, but it kind of sounds like your brother was initially maybe experiencing major anxiety / panic with some psychotic / paranoid features, OR maybe some kind of Schizo-affective issue with paranoia and fearful delusions.

Now, when he's triggered, it could be PTSD, but it could also still be the above possibilities.
 
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SunnyDaze

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Has he been through major trauma that could cause PTSD?

I'm not saying it's not PTSD because I'm not a Dr of course but it doesn't sound like it is. It sure seems to me if it was he would have had more than a few "incidents' in all of these years.

What has he been diagnosed with? What exactly has his medications been for and has he received a mental health evaluation from a professional?
 
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basil and oregano

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Nov 9, 2021
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Athens, Greece
Yes, it definitely sounds like your brother has been through something straight out of hell in his life. It could be serious PTSD/CPTSD, it could be clinical-level depression with psychotic features (some people with such severe depression claim to have died but his energy doesn't fit in with this as they are usually morose).

To me, it sounds like a very strong reaction to severe trauma. It's likely that some images/things trigger associations that bring up extremely painful memories which, at the same time, he's pushing way down. I don't think medication is going to help so much. In my opinion, what he needs is very good therapy.

Obviously, though, I'm no professional.
 
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bett23

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Nov 27, 2021
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Has he been through major trauma that could cause PTSD?

I'm not saying it's not PTSD because I'm not a Dr of course but it doesn't sound like it is. It sure seems to me if it was he would have had more than a few "incidents' in all of these years.

What has he been diagnosed with? What exactly has his medications been for and has he received a mental health evaluation from a professional?
when I say "incidents" i mean big triggers that send him off into this for years, he has triggers all the time, day to day fight, been through every SSRI and benzo on the planet - tried Ketamine this year for the 1st time and has been through at least 15 psychiatrists
 
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SunnyDaze

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What has he been diagnosed with @bett23 ?

What do the professionals that have given him SSR's and Benzos think his issues are?
 
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BlueOx

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Jan 18, 2022
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UK
Sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your brother are facing. It sounds like he's been to lots of medical doctors and psychiatrists, but I wonder if it would be helpful to visit a psychologist to get an assessment and understanding of what's going on and how best to help him?
 
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