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Irrational anxiety after smoking weed?

Hi there,

A few months ago I smoked weed on my own (which I almost never do), then got stuck in a track of negative thoughts and suddenly got a panic attack that lasted a few hours. It didn't seem to stop anytime soon, so I decided to call an ambulance, because I really had no experience with anxiety before and I didn't know what to do. They did a few tests to see what was going out and told me I was having a panic attack and that there was nothing wrong with my physical health. The doctors gave me a few calming pills and kept me there until I felt better.
A few hours later I felt completely fine and went home.

Then after two weeks of no smoking/drinking and living mostly healthily, another panic attack occurred out of nowhere and since then I was getting multiple irrational random panic attacks throughout the day.
I went to see my doctor and she advised me to start taking Xanax. So I've been doing that for a while and most of the time I felt good and confident. I also started seeing a psychiatrist just in case, and she told me it was going much better, and that I should slowly reduce the doses of Xanax I take.

Right now I'm in the last few days of taking only 2/4 of 0,25mg and suddenly the irrational anxiety returned.
I can talk about it with my girlfriend, a friend and my psychiatrist. Also being among people (especially people I know) feels very comforting vs being alone. Then there's also the uncomfortable feeling I get when it's dark. Mostly I feel way more positive when it's light and sunny and stuff. (Side note: I also suffer from ADD and am classified as HSP, these things probably play along in the process as well)
but there doesn't seem to be anything I could do right now, except for finishing the Xanax dosage and then starting with an anti-depressant which is safer for long-term use, as advised by my psychiatrist.
Of course I haven't given up the hope, even though I'm afraid sometimes.

But it would do me much good to hear some advice from other people as well.
So if you can relate to this, or if you know what I can do, all advice is welcome. Thanks in advance!
9 Responses
Avatar universal
I hate to say it, but "drugs are bad" for a reason.  Look at all the research it does to mental health.  Mental health is just as important as physical health.  Trust what your psychiatrist is saying.  They've gone through many, many years of schooling to help people in your situation.  Put yourself in the hands of your psychiatrist and do what they say.  Mental health is generally fragile, so don't play around with it and trust the experts.  What you're going through will get better.  It may never go away completely, if it does - great, but there are ways to treat anxiety.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply. You are right, that's why I completely quit doing drugs.
Maybe when I feel somewhat better I'll have a beer once in a while, but that's it.
I had absolutely no idea weed could cause this, since it's a pretty common thing to do where I live and everyone seems to be okay using it.
And yes, I do trust my psychiatrist and will do what they'll advise me to do.

It would be horrible if it doesn't go away completely, but perhaps I can find some way to cope with it. There should indeed be ways to treat it, even aside of drugs. And I will do my best.

Thank you.
Avatar universal
I complete agree that drugs are bad, but I'm a total skeptic when it comes to doctors... Going to school for years to get a medical license does not make you right and most importantly everyone reacts differently to medications! Do NOT just "put yourself in the hands of your psychiatrist"; do your homework, get second opinions. I've had every type of seizure, literally... Some brought on by anxiety (I've had ulcers since 1st grade, every doctor says bad nerves); also, I've had doctors put me on medications that clearly state "may cause seizures in some cases", since I'm high risk for seizures you'd think they wouldn't prescribe me that crap. I've argued with doctors over what certain medications treat; resulting in them checking WebMD before prescribing. Granted the meds I'm on now would kill most people & have, but I knew that when I hit the pharmacy & I personally opted for the quick fix, knowing the high risk. My seizures came on slow & were linked to stress... I'd have a sudden jerk (muscle spasm) & then be fine, a few years later my eyes would flutter (especially in harsh lighting); which later led to full blown grandma seizures (epileptic seizures). They all cause brain damage (mild, barely noticeable, mainly forgetful); and 1 of my 1st neurologist said the earlier muscle spasms (lasted seconds at most), may have built up to the damage causing my seizures--I didn't treat them early on! They tried putting me on Dilantin, kepra, Topamax, a few others, but Klonopin worked because it's used to treat anxiety &/or seizures. I'm now on Xanax, but I never should've traded my klonopin for Xanax, because Xanax can cause seizures & the withdrawls can kill you. I'd ask about the Clonazepam, and look in it online. It's safer.  
Avatar universal
Not to be obvious here but antidepressants and benzos are far more dangerous drugs than marijuana -- the fact one is illegal and the others legal doesn't change the fact they're all drugs.  Marijuana is notorious for bringing things out of us that have been safely suppressed inside, and in your case it was anxiety.  What happened then was your brain became conditioned to thinking you were going to have another anxiety attack if you felt similarly -- this is how we get in this mess, though how it happens nobody really knows.  So the first place you should have been sent is to a good therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment -- if you can stop the chain of anxious thinking the problem will go away, whereas drugs will only suppress the feelings.  However, if therapy doesn't work for you, then your psychiatrist is right, antidepressants are the safer long-term choice -- benzos are addictive if used regularly, offer only temporary relief, and are hard to stop taking.  While antidepressants are also hard to stop taking, when they work they work all the time, not just for a temporary piece of the day.  Do your homework and good luck.
Avatar universal
Hey Paxiled,

It's true, benzos and antidepressants are, but why play with fire to begin with?  Our body is one big walking chemistry set.  Some drugs interact one way with your body and other drugs interact the other way with your body.  Point is under researched and proven methods, you can use the benefit of some drugs to help get back to where you once were.  Research shows that drugs combined with a good CBT are the most effective at treating anxiety.  Like what you said, benzo to temporarily stop the anxiety, antidepressants to bring the chemicals back in a good level and CBT to reformulate the thinking. Bang, boom, pow.
Avatar universal
Not sure what you mean why play with fire.  Also, research as far as I know doesn't conclude therapy combined with medication works best -- nothing works best, some things work best for a particular person, but the record of both therapy and medication and the combination isn't very good unless you consider a 30% success rate good.  But I do agree that if you keep looking, hopefully you'll find the right combination, and I do encourage people to keep doing therapy while they're on medication so they can hopefully stop the drugs at some point, though there's also quite a bit of recent research that the brain really isn't very good at operating without these meds once you start them for an extended period of time.  Which is why I encourage people to start with therapy and see if it works; if it doesn't, the drugs aren't going anywhere, they'll still be available.  By the way, antidepressants don't bring chemicals back to a good level -- they alter the way the brain naturally works by focusing on certain neurotransmitter receptors and blocking the natural breakdown of the chemical messengers.  So what they do is alter the natural chemical balance, as there is no evidence anyone with mental illness has an insufficient amount of neurotransmitters.  Whatever the cause is, that doesn't appear to be it.
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