A client has given me permission to post about her situation: the effects of Provigil, Prozac, and time on trauma processing:
Round 1, 15 years ago: She was bright, effusive, and had the odd habits of jerking her head up to look around and writing down everything I said. We worked for eight months using EMDR to clear the PTSD from the physically and emotionally abusive marriage that she had escaped 17 years before. She seemed dissociative, but in a strange way, staring off, then going to the head jerk. The EMDR worked, the flashbacks stopped, the client, satisfied, went off.
Round 2, 10 years ago: After her narcolepsy diagnosis, she started taking Provigil. A few days later, the flashbacks from the abuse began again, and she returned to therapy. We went after the abuse, in greater depth as more details arose. Again, we cleared all we could find, and she left therapy feeling good.
Rounds 3 – 5: I saw the client through the illness and death of a sweet boyfriend, and various stressful work situations. Then as she became more constitutionally anxious, then obsessive, which became manageable when she started Prozac.
Round 6: last week: Planning her 45th high school reunion, to which her abusive ex-husband had been invited, brought up the next round of distress over the marital abuse. SUD 10, when she thought of him. She processed through fear and rage, bringing up memories that had not arisen in rounds 1 or 2. She left, after a 60 minute session, feeling safe, calm, and able to ignore him, if he came to her reunion.
She and I think that whether or not her narcolepsy was a dissociative response, the Provigil allowed her brain to stay on task with the trauma processing, and that the Prozac with the Provigil keeps even more of her brain online and on task in trauma processing. She and I would love to hear if other people have had similar reactions with these medications affecting the depth of trauma processing.