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  1. Substance induced anxiety disorders

    Im 18 years old now, nearly 19, but when i was 15 i started smoking cannabis heavily, partly to fit in with the group of people i was friends with and partly because I was at a private school with rich kids who used to bully me because I didn't have rich parents. It was my escape.
    I used to smoke it through a bottle concentrating the smoke. Much heavier than spliffs.
    After about a year and a half of this heavy smoking, I found that the effects began to change from a relaxed feeling and giggly to feeling paranoid and anxious. But I still smoked because I felt like I still wanted the escape, although I also didnt want my friends to think I was 'a lightweight' and bottling out.
    One night, one of my friends brought round a different variety of weed that smelled different to anything else I had had before, and we all had a heavy smoke. We were sat watching music videos and then I experienced what I can only describe as a panic/anxiety attack. This wave of negativity came over me and I felt very scared that something really bad was about to happen.
    (incidentaly the weed that was smoked than night also caused cannabis psychosis in one of my other friends)
    Ever since that night smoking weed cause these horrible aniety attacks where I was constantly worried that something really bad was about to happen. It seemed like a gut feeling.
    My problem is that I have now quit smoking cannabis for about a year and a half but these feelings of anxiety have not gone away. I am constantly anxious about something, especially social things. I am always worried about making a fool of myself or saying things that would cause people not to like me. So if I am around people I do not know I get very anxious and cannot think straight enough to be albe to hold a normal conversation.
    The only way I can find to overcome this is to take other drugs such as ecstasy or amphetamines, or by getting very drunk.
    Whenever i take Ecstasy or amphetamines it amazes me how well I get on with others. I can make tons of new friends in just one night, but when these people see me again when I am not 'up' they always ask me whats wrong and if something bad has happened when really nothing has happened except this anxiety/tiredness has taken over again.
    I hate having to do this and I dont do it often but I cant help feeling that I cant enjoy myself without them. And whenever I do go out withought them I don't usually enjoy the night because I can't interact with people withought anxiety taking control of me.
    This causes me to become depressed. I also feel (and look) very tired and lethargic. These all seem to be related. When I am more tired, I am more anxious and more depressed. When I have more energy I am less anxious.
    I eat well so I know it is not to do with my diet.
    I cannot go on like this. I am constantly craving drugs because I just feel like when I take them I behave like any other normal young person my age Being sociable and enjoying life, but when I am sober I feel detatched and distant from everyone.
    What can I do because I feel like my youth is wasting away while I know it should be the best time of my life.
    Please help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    At home, most of the time.
    Posts
    178

    substance induced anxiety disorders

    I have much advice to share, but will have to post later. PM me if you like.

  3. #3

    substance induced anxiety disorders

    You are compounding the problem by using other drugs, lukeanson...

    You are not the first person to develop panic attacks using cannabis and they usually do persist for quite some time after you stop smoking, not uncommonly for 6 months to a year. But using drugs like ecstasy and speed to try to counter panic attacks or any anxiety disorder is just crazy -- they will definitely exacerbate the problem. Your anxiety (and probably paranoia) will get progressively worse and the panic attacks will continue.

    What you SHOULD be doing is looking at (1) psychotherapy to include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to help develop strategies for reducing the panic attacks and (2) probably initially some form of PRESCRIPTION medication recommended by your doctor (either one of the SSRIs or SNRIs or perhaps a low dose of a fast-acting minor tranquilizer like lorazepam to be used only when needed.

    Please start by going to see your doctor and telling him/her what has occurred.

  4. #4

    substance induced anxiety disorders

    lukeanson, while i'm not an expert and its the reason i joined this forum because there are experts here. I would also suggest you give up all substances based on my own life.

    I was a heavy pot smoker from the ages of 16 to 21 and a heavy drinker to boot. I gave up the pot because it was making me very parnoid. However, i continued on with my drinking to fight my light to moderate social phobia. Now i'm nearly 27 and i have reduced my drinking but now when i drink i get so drunk i black out and i can't remember anything which makes me yet again parnoid.

    Over the last 24 month or so i have went from light/moderate social phobia to nearing extreme and i truly believe most of it is due to substance abuse and genetics.

    Feeling pretty good right now but i have had numerous thoughts of suicde the last few days/months. If i were to tell people that they would be shocked because i am a light humoured and funny person.

    Slowly change your lifestyle dude if i were you. Or fast whatever paste but i know its not that easy to do.

    B

  5. substance induced anxiety disorders

    Thank you for your reply merlin.
    I myself have never had any thought about suicide, and S.A.D. was never an issue before I started smoking cannabis. It feels very strange to me, almost artificial in nature, so I am positive that it is the cannabis that caused it.
    I fear that it could have interfered with the way my mind was developing since I was young when I started smoking.
    I really do want to give up the other substances, but it feels like when I take them and the anxiety goes away, I just behave like any normal person, but without them, I walk down the street and think everyone is looking at me, and if I hear someone laugh I think they are laughing at me. Its not only depressing, its frustrating because I know its not true, I know it, but the feeling is there and it gets in the way of everything.

  6. #6

    substance induced anxiety disorders

    Hey man I just want to say yes u've heard this way to often. I use to be a heavy smoker also. I had really bad paranoia about 2 months into it. I had to stop plain and simple. The paranoia stayed. But after about a year or so it went away. But the key is giving up all the other stuff. The x and alcohol is just inducing the anxiety. It may take u several months to really notice it. But when you do notice the paronia comes in 10 fold. I have friends that are always looking over there shoulder just because of that path that they took that you are taking now.

    <edit by moderator -- please see forum rules: do not advise other members not to take medication or follow other advice given by a health care professional>

    To lose the anxiety and paranoia you just need to find an easy way to relax without the drugs and use that every time you feel a wave of paranoia. There are several ideas on how to lose stress/anxiety/etc. on this website alone though not all of them will work you just need to find one or two that works every time.

  7. #7

    substance induced anxiety disorders

    Quit ecstasy and amphetamines, they will escalate anxiety problems, i know from experience.

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