Can SSRIs Help Induce Lucid Dreaming? This is something that recently caught my attention. Mostly, the role of the pleasure chemical Serotonin and how it affects our ability to dream, and what happens when we manipulate our natural Serotonin levels either by decreasing or Increasing them.
What scientific studies suggest is that drug-induced hallucinations, dreams and certain aspects of Psychosis occur in tandem with a decreased serotonergic neurotransmission. Possibly coupled with possibly coupled with increased dopaminergic function.
So, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), are medications commonly prescribed for depression (anti depressants). Some common types In the UK (where I live) are;
- citalopram (Cipramil)
- dapoxetine (Priligy)
- escitalopram (Cipralex)
- fluoxetine (Prozac or Oxactin)
- fluvoxamine (Faverin)
- paroxetine (Seroxat)
- sertraline (Lustral)
- vortioxetine (Brintellix)
SSRIs like the ones listed above work by increasing the release of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin can affect the processing of emotions but there is actually no evidence that this is a cause of depression.
However, the interesting part is that because these medications can inhibit serotonin activity through reuptake into our nerve cells that they can increase the likelihood of vivid and lucid dreams.
It is said that those who take SSRIs need a readjustment period after they stop taking them for the brain to resume normal serotonin production.
So let’s take a look at this question.
Can SSRIs Help Induce Lucid Dreaming?
I would definitely NOT recommend this. Not only do I not trust any of these drugs but I would suggest there are better things to try to help Induce Lucid Dreaming. Yet, however I think this is quite Interesting about how our Serotonin system can affect us in this way.
I wonder if It is the same with alcohol and other street drugs where during the comedown it causes hallucinations and psychosis. This to my detriment I can say I have experienced. I remember one night walking through the woods in completely the wrong direction and feeling like I had lost total control for a period before.
It was Interesting to me as I had learned about serotonins possible role in psychosis and hallucinations around this time and I thought if by getting drunk (or high) if we are forcing the release of serotonin in excess would this not be what is responsible for this happening?
I have also often thought why my dreams are so vivid after days of drinking (or taking drugs) and finally sobering up. Plenty of times this has been when I’ve had Lucid Dreams and It does seem to me that with SSRIs like Prozac etc. this could have similar effects.
Introduction to SSRIs and Lucid Dreaming
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are a class of medications commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. They work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin which means less serotonin is absorbed by nerve cells and MORE becomes available for sending messages (think of neurons sending little sparks of electricity).
Reuptake is essential for normal physiology and regulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. By blocking reuptake more of an immediate supply of serotonin becomes available. Although this DOES come at a cost.
By using SSRIs less Serotonin is then recycled LEAVING less available Serotonin in the usual reserve supply. Which if it is as scientists say THAT dreaming occurs with the inactivation of the serotonin system THEN this is maybe why dreams, hallucinations and psychosis can be side effects of SSRIs.
Except I would guess that usually more like a shutdown (power saver) mode rather than there actually being very low levels of this neurotransmitter but perhaps actually having low serotonin can make dreams (and hallucinations) more vivid.
The Link Between SSRIS and Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon where individuals become aware that they are dreaming whilst still in the dream state. This awareness allows the dreamer to have some (or total) control over their dreams.
I have discussed Lucid Dreaming in many posts on this website now but this is an interesting branch of this – how neurotransmitter activity affects lucid dreams.
I’m really against pharmaceuticals in general if I’m really being honest but I think many taking SSRIs will be wondering about this – as I’m sure many do find these increase the likelihood of lucid and vivid dreams.
So What are SSRIs and How Do They Work?
SSRIs work by blocking the reabsorption, or reuptake, of serotonin in the brain. By doing so, they increase the levels of Serotonin available for communication between nerve cells, and this increased serotonin activity is believed to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It in theory is a good idea short term but as this depletes our natural serotonin reserves this can long term Increase feeling of depression and anxiety.
So, while SSRIs are certainly beneficial to some people who take them they can have side effects. Besides actually causing depression and anxiety to rear its ugly head again other side effects can Include nausea, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. Exactly why many taking these medications want to stop. They can be very unhealthy and In more severe cases it is thought that SSRIs can have very nasty side effects such as suicidal thoughts.
So I actually do not recommend taking any SSRIs. For any reason.
But nonetheless let’s keep to the topic about SSRIS and Lucid Dreams.
Triggering Lucid Dreaming with SSRIs
Firstly, SSRIs may enhance the ability to have lucid dreams. Some individuals have reported an increase in the frequency and intensity of their lucid dreams while taking SSRIs. This as I have said above is likely due to the inactivation of the serotonin system and the Increase of dopamine.
Lucid dreaming itself has been suggested to have therapeutic benefits for mental health. It can provide individuals with a sense of control and empowerment and may be used as a tool for exploring and resolving emotional issues within the dream state.
Anyone who has lucid dreams will know what the hype is all about but SERIOUSLY about taking SSRIs…
The Science Behind SSRIs and Lucid Dreaming
Research on the combination of SSRIs and lucid dreaming is still limited, but there is some evidence to suggest a potential link between the two. Studies have shown that SSRIs can affect the neurochemical mechanisms involved in dreaming, including serotonin levels and the activity of certain brain regions.
Additionally, some research has found that individuals taking SSRIs may have an increased likelihood of experiencing lucid dreams. However, more research is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanisms and potential therapeutic benefits of this combination.
I would suggest that this does seem to take some kind of effect but what I would really like to suggest is that there are other much better safer ways to Induce Lucid Dreams successfully.
Other Better Alternatives For Lucid Dream Induction
Rather than considering the use of SSRIs to manipulate the natural balance of Serotonin and Dopamine there are other things that you can try instead. I have covered most of these ideas already in my other blog posts but all are good ideas that are much better than taking antidepressants (or depressants actually if we are being technical). I apologize if anyone finds this medication helpful but anyway – my other better alternatives;
- Lucid Dream Masks
- Lucid Dream Supplements
- Lucid Dream Herbs
- The WILD & MILD Technique
- Dream Journaling
- Taking a Lucid Dreaming course
If you click the links above these will take you to my other posts. The last one is for HowToLucid.com who offer Lucid Dream Coaching that is very popular.
Potential Risks and Side Effects of Taking SSRIs
Now, while SSRIs are generally considered safe and well-tolerated for many (I assume this to be the case – it is something I really don’t want to argue about) BUT it is clear to me they can have potential risks and side effects.
Perhaps this isn’t for everyone that takes them but according to my research online common side effects can include;
- Sexual Dysfunction, and
- Weight Gain.
*Note: I would say there can be worse side effects. Prozac is a very common antidepressant SSRI and its effects can be very wild. Mood swings, suicidal thoughts, and increased anxiety and depression are all reported. In fact, many people given SSRIs are given secondary medications because of their negative effects on brain activity.
Additionally, abruptly stopping SSRIs can lead to withdrawal symptoms. SSRIs can be addictive and without their positive effects there other side effects make them not worth taking in the first place.
Again! I’m sure they likely do help people in some cases but this is just kind of how I see it. I personally would never take them. Its down to the individual I think – but I think its kind of like messing with nature which I don’t agree with.
I would instead recommend something like Calea Zatachichi or Silene Capensis (lucid dreaming herbs) but if you do take SSRIs to try and induce lucid dreaming, it is important to be aware of their potential risks and side effects.
To be clear, If you are prescribed anything like this make sure to ask your doctor about this. Now…
Tips for Safe and Effective Use of SSRIs
OK, I know I’ve said I don’t recommend SSRIs but anyhow…
To use SSRIs safely and effectively for lucid dreaming, it is important to follow a few guidelines.
Firstly, always consult with a healthcare professional before starting or adjusting any medication. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.
Secondly, it is important to take the medication as prescribed and not exceed the recommended dosage.
Lastly, be mindful of any potential side effects and report them to your healthcare professional.
They can help you manage any side effects and make adjustments as needed.
Reported Cases of Lucid Dreaming with SSRIs
There are anecdotal reports from individuals who have used SSRIs to enhance their lucid dreaming experiences. Some have reported an increase in the frequency and intensity of their lucid dreams while taking SSRIs. They have described the experience as empowering and therapeutic, allowing them to explore and resolve emotional issues within the dream state.
However, it is important to note that these are personal experiences and may not be representative of everyone’s experience. I would not recommend purposely taking SSRIs in the hope of lucid dreams but this is NOT because I believe they do not work. 100% I do. I really think there is something to altering the balance of neurotransmitters that can cause dreams to appear more vivid.
I said about giving up alcohol after long periods of binge drinking my dreams are SCARY!
I think this is probably what happens with SSRIs too. When levels of serotonin start to become low dreams become more vivid. I think probably the vivid dreams maybe are some kind of computer program that runs whilst the body/brain carry out essential repairs.
For restorative sleep you need to dream I think and the more your body needs repairs the more you dream. Although, I do think there is something more to lucid dreaming rather than some automatic program that runs.
The link between SSRIs and lucid dreaming I think is an interesting one. While the research is still limited, the part about the serotonin system deactivating when people dream and even when people hallucinate is quite fascinating I think. Although, I do wonder what is actually happening here – there is a big difference between your brain switching your serotonin system off and purposely taking drugs to deplete your natural serotonin levels.
SSRIs may enhance the ability to have lucid dreams, and lucid dreaming itself may have therapeutic benefits. However, more research is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanisms and potential risks of this combination.
It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional when considering using SSRIs and for those looking for ideas to try to help induce Lucid Dreaming experience there are plenty others that are better than this one.
And not because I don’t think this works. I believe it can work. If you know how to make yourself aware within a dreaming state then the vivid dreams that SSRIs can cause I think creates a good opportunity. However, I would say try other things.
Try Lucid Dreaming Herbs, or masks, reality testing, the MILD and WILD technique or even you can take a course.
I shall finish this article up here but if you would like to read more check out my link HERE<<
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