I was very interested in cases of acquired Aphantasia, and began compiling a small list, looking for common vectors. My very favorite case is the first reference to the SNRI, but I never had luck chasing down the OP for further info.
SNRI drug (unnamed):
“I did have this happen after a bad reaction to trying out an SNRI… Not that there’s anything wrong with not being able to visualize, but it gave me a huge fright after having my brain work one way all my life and suddenly my ability to visualize disappeared. It was just darkness in my mind’s eye. I usually have a song (annoyingly) stuck in my head, and all the music disappeared too, it was surreal. Over the course of a few hours after taking the tablet, it was like someone – slowly but surely – was diming the lights and turning down the volume on the radio until it was all gone. Needless to say, I took all of one tablet, lol. It took 48hrs for the effects to wear off fully, just bizarre.”
Reddit post from 2018. “been an avid daydreamer all my life, but it started affecting my school work so I was put on Straterra. I could focus a lot better but it completely killed my imagination. I couldn’t daydream at all and I feel like it changed my personality. It was upsetting so I quit after a few days. Right away, my daydreaming came flooding back. I still have trouble concentrating but I don’t want to be put on meds cause I feel like it would happen again.”
Aphantasia and Stimulants
by u/bzypxl in Aphantasia
Reddit post from 2016: “I used to take a drug called Straterra for ADHD. I noticed the primary effect of the drug was that I could no longer visualize things in my mind. It helped me pay attention since I was unable to daydream but damn did it ever make whacking it without a visual aid tough.”
Drugs.com side effects post by Hannah: ““I’m only giving Strattera 2 stars instead of 1 because it worked for focus, but the side effects were horrible. The first day taking it, I felt great. I had enough energy to get through the day and I felt present and in the moment. Then the next day I started to feel really strange. I couldn’t sleep through the night. I was majorly wired. I started to not feel like myself. My head was completely empty. I felt like a zombie tbh. I didn’t find things funny and I started to lash out at people which I never do. By like day four, I lashed out at my dad and then I broke down. I cried and was becoming really depressed. When I went off of it, my imagination returned. It was kind of a scarring experience.”
I’ve seen two separate Reddit posts from aphants claiming that they acquired Aphantasia after appendectomies. Here’s the most vivid:
“Back in March, my husband went in for a routine appendectomy and, well, it took a lot more. When he woke up he said his head was silent. No music, his voice was gone when he thought, and it was black. After 29 years his imagination, a huge part of his personality, was gone.”
HELP – surgery induced aphantasia??
by u/LastHopeHousewife in Aphantasia
Reddit post from 2018. “I was on antidepressants for roughly 8 years (Prozac). Over christmas I tapered off them and fully came off at like late Feb or something. Around this time I was able to visualize. A lot. But then it slowly got less so.
Thats not it though, I’m 22 and throughout school life I could visualize fine. I would say even more so that usual infact, I was extremely imaginative and creative. I didn’t notice but it was a slow sort of descent into not being able to visualize at all whilst on Prozac and I’m worried its possibly a permanent effect. I found out about Aphantasia about a year or so ago and it was a smack in the face realization and also the fact I can barely remember my childhood.”
Antidepressants and not always having Aphantasia
by u/KiraNinja in Aphantasia
Quora post from 2021: “Why can’t I visualize as well anymore? Is it because of my Zoloft? I started taking it a month and a half ago and was able to visualize perfectly fine before this. My memories are worsening too.”