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Author Topic: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?  (Read 1353 times)

Offline shadowkat678

Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« on: March 26, 2016, 01:33:53 AM »
Okay, so in my story there's this powder that keeps your from having dreams. A character has a lot of PTSD related nightmares, and takes just a pinch before going to sleep. When she's cut off from where she gets her supply, she runs out. The first few days she just feels a bit dizzy and the nightmares come back worse than before, and she's irritable. What other symptoms would work here? Fever hallucinations? I think it might be a good way to introduce a bit of background. Maybe she thinks one other character is someone she used to know, mumbles about something, gets events confused on her life timeline. It wouldn't be so bad that she runs the risk of dying, but she'd be out of it for a long time. Would there be a way to help her besides getting more powder and slowly getting her off it? Do you think reactions would be affected by how long she's taken it? She's had it for years now, and only a small bit each night. Never increased dose or decreased.

Also, she had no idea her body would build up a reliance on it. That was information she'd never been told. Oops.
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Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2016, 04:27:58 AM »
I think the big thing here is how strongly and vividly the dreams come back.
She starts moving in her sleep, walking around the house and doing things. As time progresses, dreams start to blurr with reality, and she wakes up thinking that person actually stabbed her brother, even though her brother is dead. But maybe he did stab her brother while he was alive? Foreshadowing!
Things like that. You could make some really intense scenes when the lines start blurring.

Offline marshall_lamour

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Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2016, 08:15:03 AM »
Such dreams would likely disturb her sleep to the point of delirium, resulting in hallucinations, even without DT. There's usually drugs that can be substituted for other drugs to alleviate DT symptoms, so maybe there's some hidden knowledge about some kind of abundant herb that could help. The PTSD symptoms, however, would have to be dealt with by some sort of therapy and/or catharsis (induced explicitly or implicitly). Usually something like a shaman with an assortment of entheogenics could cover most of those needs.
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Offline Blackthorn

Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2016, 06:05:39 PM »
What I want to know is whether it is a prescription drug, or an illegal drug.

Also if it is addictive in that she has come to feel she needs in order to live and her body will go through withdrawal, or is it something that doesn't affect her body but she is dependent on because shes worried about the dreams getting worse

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Offline shadowkat678

Re: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2016, 09:49:07 PM »
What I want to know is whether it is a prescription drug, or an illegal drug.

Also if it is addictive in that she has come to feel she needs in order to live and her body will go through withdrawal, or is it something that doesn't affect her body but she is dependent on because shes worried about the dreams getting worse

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It's given to her without her knowing what it is. She didn't know it was addictive. It's unique, made by the people she "works" for. She has PTSD, and it was given to her so she wouldn't be distracted or underperform due to sleep loss. It's not like some drugs you hear about where it starts losing effectiveness and the addicted individual ups the dose. I'm not sure what I could compare it to. She didn't know that because her body had been exposed for so long, it would become reliant.

I asked on Yahoo answers a few weeks back, but never got a real response. Maybe the way I asked that question will make it clearer? I'm not sure.

"In my book, my character has been taking a substance for years. It's a powder you'd put in your drink before you go to sleep, and would keep you from having dreams.

Without going too in depth, she's been blackmailed into working as an unwilling killer for certain people, and she has vivid flashback nightmares. They've been giving it to her for years, and after she escapes, there's no way to get more of it.

But instead of just having to deal with the nightmares returning (worse than before), now it seems there were added effects that she didn't know about. It's more slow to start, maybe taking three days before the major problems really start showing up. What would this cause? I know it wouldn't be bad enough to kill her, because that's the last thing they want. Hallucinations? Fever? Sickness?

I feel like hallucinations would be likely, and would give a realistic way to add information without making it awkward. Such as mistaking some of the other characters as people from different parts of her life, adding in some layering, as well as opening up some emotional wounds after.

At what level would it be kept realistic? It's a fantasy novel, but I want to stay as true to the reactions and realities of these types of situations as possible. Only a pinch of it is needed each night, and it's not as if it's like alcohol or certain drug addictions, where the user constantly feels the need to up the doses or goes back to get a high. She doesn't crave it. Just takes it without knowing how her body has adapted. Anything like this from real life I could look at to get a better idea of this?"
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Offline Blackthorn

Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2016, 12:50:30 AM »
Depression and anxiety medicine,  as well as real life ptsd medications would be what I would think would be good comparison for side effects and what happens when she doesn't have access to the medicine.

As far as other problems go, if it was for bad dreams then some amount of paranoia seems like it could be a reasonable drawback.
And maybe she becomes more and more unwilling to let herself sleep.

Offline shadowkat678

Re: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2016, 02:06:18 AM »
Yeah, the not wanting to go to sleep thing is something I know happens. Do you know anywhere I could look up those side effects? And I'm guessing there's also varying degrees based on the type, correct?
Be not a writer, but a Storyweaver. For that, my friend, is how you'll truly leave your mark.

Offline Blackthorn

Re: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2016, 03:26:39 AM »


Yeah, the not wanting to go to sleep thing is something I know happens. Do you know anywhere I could look up those side effects? And I'm guessing there's also varying degrees based on the type, correct?

As far as looking up side effects goes im not sure where would be best to look without having a specific medicine in mind, obviously there are probably 50 or more varieties with subtle differences.
       I would think that there would be different degrees of problem but I can't say for sure. And when deciding on side effects remember that not everyone reacts to a medication the same way. So if you look up side effects based on what people have experienced its good to get several opinions.

Online ScarletBea

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Re: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2016, 10:07:08 AM »
Note that anti-depressant side effects only last for about a month, before the body gets used to them and then they all go away. Most of the side effects are physical, really (maybe because the mind is itself quite ill, so can't get any worse, hehe), and they don't include hallucinations.

The 'not wanting to go to sleep' definitely happens, but it's not because of fear of dreams and/or hallucinations/visions, it's more about the space between turning off the light and actually falling asleep, when all kinds of thoughts pop up - well, I guess you could use those, really, by increasing its severity; that doesn't go away as quickly, but I don't think it's caused by the medication, rather by the illness itself.

Anyway, like Blackthorn said, every single person reacts in a different way, so I'm just explaining my experience.
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Offline K.S. Crooks

Re: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2016, 01:18:21 PM »
Perhaps a side effect of using the drug was a lack of imagination when she is awake. She became highly logical and practical. When she is off the drug her mind, which has been fighting all along to express itself, goes into full drive causing her to think off all outcomes for every situation or have hallucinations. There could even be a positive outcome of gaining some type of extra-sensory perception or gaining an eidetic memory.
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Offline shadowkat678

Re: Help figuring out some details of a fictional drug?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 04:32:31 AM »
Perhaps a side effect of using the drug was a lack of imagination when she is awake. She became highly logical and practical. When she is off the drug her mind, which has been fighting all along to express itself, goes into full drive causing her to think off all outcomes for every situation or have hallucinations. There could even be a positive outcome of gaining some type of extra-sensory perception or gaining an eidetic memory.

Except I need withdrawal symptoms. It doesn't show any side effects while she's on it.
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