I've been using 5-HTP on and off for 6 years and am surprised by some of the personal accounts in this thread. It clearly differs from person to person, but you need to try it for at least a couple of weeks to make an assessment, whereas many here are writing about it after less than a day or so.
- Improves mild depression
- Alleviates negative thoughts and thinking patterns
- Enhances positive and fun experiences
- Improves sleep and sleep quality
- Improves efficiency, decision making and motivation
- Higher doses can lead to mania for some people
- Mixing with any other supplement, drug or medication is highly unpredictable, and can lead to worsened symptoms
- After a while it's common to get a mild 'jaw grind' similar to but less intense than experienced from the recreational drug 'speed'
- Can heighten emotions
- Can lead to dependency
I've taken this under two different conditions: avoiding a comedown after taking recreational drugs & as a mild-antidepressant
If used appropriately it can be beneficial for both. 5-HTP can take several days to start working, and can continue to work for up to 2-3 weeks after stopping. Usually the effects are felt to begin or stop either side of a few days of taking.
It's important to understand that 5-HTP is definitely NOT a placebo. Anyone who writes such a thing without researching beyond their own experience should not be taken seriously. It can change a person's state of mind very significantly and is extremely different from things like St John's Wort and magnesium. There are numerous clinical trials to back this up.
For mild depression and SA:
As seratonin influences the nature of our thoughts more than our fight or flight system, 5-HTP may help with SA but only in conjunction with other efforts. It isn't an answer unto itself. It'll make you feel better about the situation you're in, but it's up to you to change your situation if it involves anxiety. Going through changes involving stepping out of a comfort zone or practicing different anxiety techniques can be brutal and depressing, and something like 5-HTP can serve as a shield to any negative thoughts that follow. It keeps your thoughts in a more positive ecosystem.
5-HTP isn't going to fix anything unless you're willing to put in the effort, but it will help by making you feel better while going through that effort.
After lengthy experimentation this cycle has given me the best results:
100mg morning and night for 2 days, then
50mg every morning and night for 2 weeks, then
50mg every morning for 2 weeks, then
50mg every second day for 2 weeks, then
50mg every third day for 2 weeks, then
For recreational drug use and avoiding comedowns:
If you're planning on taking a serotonin affecting drug like speed, MDMA or cocaine, 5-HTP can drastically improve your mental recovery. Build it up over the week beforehand by taking at least 100mg a day, but take nothing 10 hours before or after dropping the party stuff otherwise your body may experience seratonin overload syndrome, which isn't pretty. One poster in this thread unwittingly described such an experience.
After 10 hours have passed take one higher dose of 200-300mg, then 100mg daily for the rest of the week.
When I used to do party drugs this all but elimated the comedown effect, but you still need to recover from the hangover and sleep debt.
If you happen to get over SA or have a period without it, just mixing 5-HTP and alcohol will turn you into the life of the party. Almost to the point where it's a light MDMA supplement, so long as you're an intense person already.