Paradoxical Reaction to Stimulants: They Make Me Sleepy

I went to a party with a friend about five years ago and was offered some MDMA. I was feeling experimental, so I agreed. Almost immediately I began to feel really run down, like I had suddenly been hit with a case of the flu.


My head felt stuffy, and over the course of about an hour I became so sleepy that I could not keep my eyes open. The host offered to let me lay down on their spare bed, which I had no choice but to accept. There is no way I would sleep in a stranger's bed under normal circumstances, but that night I went straight to sleep and slept through the noise of the party for about two hours.

When my friend woke me to tell me it was time to go home, it was very difficult to wake up properly.

Since then I have noticed I sometimes have a similar reaction to caffeine (I haven't really tried other stimulants). It's definitely a sometimes thing though. If I have caffeine in the morning it will wake me up and help me focus. If I have caffeine when I'm anxious, it will most certainly make that anxiety worse and possibly keep me awake at night. But if I have caffeine when I'm tired, it will intensify that feeling. Sometimes it is just a relaxing, comforting feeling. Other times it's like my body flat out refuses to stay awake, regardless of where I am or what I'm doing.

I have looked for reasons that this might happen to me, but have not come up with many answers, though it seems to be fairly common. Some people say it comes with overuse of stimulants, like you can develop a tolerance. I completely disagree with this, because for one thing, I had never had any amphetamines before, and I wasn't even really a heavy coffee drinker at the time. For another thing, this effect is not just as though the drug has no effect. It's as though it has the COMPLETE OPPOSITE effect, as the word 'paradoxical' suggests.

Some people suggest it is indicative of ADD or ADHD. Whilst I may have some symptoms of ADD (I have never been diagnosed), research suggests that this is a myth. Stimulants are supposed to help people with ADHD calm down and focus. They are NOT supposed to put them to sleep.

I have epilepsy, and occasionally I wonder whether I had a mild seizure that night at the party, because not only was I tired, but I was also very confused, and my memory of the night is very fragmented. Though I wonder, I tend to think it felt more like I was already in a dreamlike state before I lay down, and when I was woken up I was still drifting in and out of that dream state until I went back to sleep at home. Besides that, if I had a seizure that night, it doesn't explain why I get a similar effect from caffeine.

As a point of interest, I was recently going through a very stressful time, in which I was experiencing sever anxiety. This was not a clinical condition, merely the result of built up stress. My doctor prescribed me Temazepam to calm me down and help me sleep. It worked exactly as it should. Apparently just because I get a paradoxical effect from uppers, it doesn't mean I get a paradoxical effect from downers.

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