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Is there a cure for aphantasia?

DiscussionsCategory: QuestionsIs there a cure for aphantasia?
Stephen AdamsStephen Adams asked 11 months ago

Having only just discovered that aphantasia existed and that my non-visual cognitive processing is definitely not the norm, I’ve done some reading and found nothing in the academic literature (scant as it is) that mentions a so-called “cure.” However, I came across this site where someone claims to have found a technique that can kick start your “blank screen:”

https://photographyinsider.info/image-streaming-for-photographers/

It involves a technique called image streaming, a technique used to improve visual thinking and creativity. It involves exploring scenes in your mind by describing it in as much detail as possible, using all of your senses and verbalizing it out loud. As you verbalize the image, apparently you’ll see more.

I’m not convinced myself, I don’t think having a slowly fading image on your retina from looking at a bright light source is actually related to aphantasia so not sure it’s of relevance here. I can’t conjure up any images to even start ‘image streaming’.

It’d be interesting to know if anyone else has heard of, or tried this. I don’t feel traumatized by my discovery that almost everyone else has actual images they can conjure up, as I easily think of words to describe a scene, but it’d be nice if I had a chance to experience what it was like to create images in my head.

What do you think? Is there a cure? Have you tried image streaming? Would you want to experience it?

Dave Series replied 11 months ago

Probably not as it’s a brain problem and we can’t learn to adapt a brain deviancy that we can’t physically train

Zooomer Boomer replied 4 months ago

Don’t need to ‘visualize’ … just found out about 2 years ago that there is such a thing. Have always been creative, good memory, write well, great logic thought patterns (programming and analysis of problems.) I thought mental images were a figure of speech.

9 Answers
Aimee SeaverAimee Seaver answered 6 months ago

Depends on why you have aphantasia.

Some people are born with it.

Some people get it through injury.

And some people develop it through trauma.

I think trauma induced aphantasia could be reversed. My therapist thinks it’s likely as well. If one can address the trauma that triggered it, the aphantasia will probably go away as well.

Sadly the trauma that caused mine is from a really early age, I’m not sure I can even access those old memories enough to really bring them to full closure. I had a visual imagination when I was very young, but since it only showed me horrifying imagery, my brain eventually shut it off.

I bet physical head/brain injury type aphantasia can be fixed too… but that’ll probably take a LOT more research to start to address.

ANIKA BRKICANIKA BRKIC answered 6 months ago

I checked the image streaming thing. Like you, I couldn’t even start. I think that’s more for people who can visualize, but want the pictures to be more vivid.

Tobiah GossTobiah Goss answered 4 months ago

Hallucinogenics, perhaps?

J E replied 3 months ago

I discovered I had athantasia just over a year ago after getting frustrated at my lack of ability whilst undertaking a memory course on Udemy. The content was great but was I missing something in the visualization department which lead me down the rabbit hole.

I went on a recent trip 7.5g (first time) on Psilocybin after much research on its benefits. My encounter was very positive BUT the visuals that others seemed to experience were not there; nothing not a peep. A higher dose maybe… As visualization is tightly linked with memory I see this condition as an annoyance that needs conquering.

Tamra SpeakmanTamra Speakman answered 3 months ago

I think overall for me this is the wrong question. I do not see it as a conditon or disability to cure but just a neurodivergence. A different way of thinking. I do agree however that if it is acquired from injury or trauma then it could change if healing for that issue was obtained. So that points to the deeper need to ask, is this aquired or something one is born with? Or perhaps even acquired in utero.?. Also could be both depending on the individual. For me it seems as if it has always been how I process information. Always part of my normal. Never really a problem just interestingly different. Those who process in a hyperphantasia way do not normally try to "cure" it. So why would I.

Stephen AdamsStephen Adams replied 3 months ago

Hi Tamra, like you I see it as a difference not a disability and lived perfectly well for 50+ years without knowing it even existed so it's certainly my 'normal' – though I was surprised it isn't better known or publicised. My question was based on the fact that people out there do offer, or propose, a 'cure' and I wondered if anyone had any experience or knowledge of this happening as I'm extremely sceptical of the claims being made. I also think your comparison doesn't take into account the fact that as visualisation is the norm. Therefore, hyperphantasia being the ability to visualize very well could or would be considered a 'gift'. Conversely, aphantasia will generally be seen as a deficit, as it's something we can't do that most people can – Hence people online offering a 'cure'.

Christine JarvisChristine Jarvis answered 1 month ago

As a teenager I occasionally took psilocybin mushrooms and NEVER hallucinated. They just made me laugh alot. I never realized I had Aphantasia until I met a few genuses that were able to visualize and store items in their memory storage area. They could then go there and "see" what was stored there. Heck I can’t see anything and never have. I am an artist and I have to view photographs that I take before I can paint a landscape. I can’t imagine how the mountains or trees look like ahead of time. I do know when it looks correct on my canvas, but that’s it. It almost seems weird to me that people have a minds eye.

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