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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Panic Attacks - Marijuana Related?


 ekoostikhookah - Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:18 am

I have been having panic attacks for about 8 months now, on and off. I have also smoked pot for most of this time, with a few week or 2 weeks breaks. I am not sure if my attacks are related, because when I smoke I feel better and relaxed.

The reason I think it may have something to do with them is it can enhance thinking. Maybe I think to deeply and this causes panic about abstract topics?

I know anti-depressant cause be used for anxiety, and pot can cause depression. Maybe pot has stopped my brain, or slowed down the creation (or however this works) of endorphins and other chemicals?

I would like to know, because if not, I want to use marijuana to help fight the anxiety. I do know of others who do this, and I would rather use marijuana than xanax or a pill.

Let me know what you think. I am very open to ideas. I haven't smoked for about 5 days now, so I'm going to take a break and see if they go away.

All help and advice is much appreciated.

Thanks
 Carolyn Merritt, LPN - Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:36 pm

User avatar Dear ekoostikhookah:

Substance abuse and the withdrawel of the substance being abused can mimic panic attacks. Alcohol, marijuana, opiates, hallucinogens, cocaine, over-the-counter drugs (nasal sprays and diet tablets), caffeine and benzodiazepines can all be associated with panic attacks.

Establishing the diagnosis of Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder may often be complicated, although a thorough history, physical examination and other tests can usually provide the correct diagnosis. Panic attacks consist of periods of intense fear or discomfort in which at least some or all of the symptoms below develop suddenly and can last for 15 minutes or longer.
Symptoms include:

shortness of breath or feelings of choking
dizziness, or faintness
palpitations or accelerated heart rate
trembling or shaking
excessive perspiration
nausea or abdominal distress
numbness or tingling sensations
flushes or chills
chest pain
depersonalisation and derealisation
fear of going crazy or doing something uncontrolled
fear of heart attack or dying.

Because these symptoms can also indicate a physical disorder doctors usually perform multiple tests to rule out physical causes before diagnosing the cause as truly from a "panic disorder".
Because patients who suffer from panic attacks often feel helpless, they also tend to develop depression.

In order to determine whether your symptoms are truly panic attacks or there is an underlying medical disorder, you need to have a full physical examination. If physical causes are eliminated as the culprit then a good psychological workup is needed to ascertain what conflicts in your life may be causing these attacks.

Panic attacks are a signal from your body or mind that something is wrong and needs correcting. Whether it be physical or mental, the use of controlled substances is only a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Only by correcting what is causing the attacks will you be able to get rid of them.
Kind Regards,
Carolyn
 ekoostikhookah - Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:58 pm

Yep, I have been to the doctor, had all the tests done. He wanted to put me on xanax, but I don;t like pill, so I declined. My dad told me he had panic attacks for years also.

You said, "Because patients who suffer from panic attacks often feel helpless, they also tend to develop depression. "

I think thats exactly where I am now. I hate the feeling, and I just want it to go away. I would do anything. :cry:

I have all those symptoms you mentioned, along with intense derealization and depersonalization at times,which is scary and makes me feel like im going crazy.

Where should I go from here??
 Carolyn Merritt, LPN - Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:25 pm

User avatar Dear ekoostikhookah:
Since you have gone the route to rule out physical causes as the reason for your panic attacks then I refer back to my original reply to you which stated:
"If physical causes are eliminated as the culprit then a good psychological workup is needed to ascertain what conflicts in your life may be causing these attacks."
A psychiatrist would not only be able to diagnose but would be able to prescribe any needed medications such as anti-depressants. There is no reason you should have to continue to suffer with this. I suggest that seeking psychiatric counseling at this point might be of benefit to you.
Kind Regards,
Carolyn
 ekoostikhookah - Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:24 am

I agree, I should see someone. I don't want to be put on meds, but I know talking, and other methods, can be very useful. I am very connected to myself and meditate. This seems to help, as do breathing techniques. I feel like these attack, and general anxiety are ruining my life. I'll see someone about it....

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