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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Marijuana Can Cause Panic Attacks

by Dr. Lindsay Kramer, psychotherapist and staff writer at The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles      

           It has long been known by scientists that marijuana can have an effect on mental health.   I recently happened upon an article I found very interesting and also a little bit surprising.  Check it out:
            For many, a common misperception of marijuana users is that they are the laid back, mellow, listen-to-Bob Marley, ‘no worries’ type of people.  However, research evidence appears to demonstrate that 50% of marijuana smokers in the United States have experienced a panic reaction on some occasion.  Some people seem to use marijuana to self medicate anxiety symptoms.  Others seem to experience anxiety and panic symptoms from marijuana itself.  In both cases, there is a definite link between marijuana and panic attacks or anxiety attacks.  So what can we do about this?
            People who smoke marijuana either socially or as alternative medicine are at serious risk for panic attacks.  This is problematic, especially for those who are unaware of this knowledge.  Panic attacks often occur suddenly and without warning, and can be extremely debilitating, especially when they happen in a setting, such as school or work.  It may feel like you are going crazy or dying.  These experiences are entirely unpleasant and weed just might cause these panic attacks to occur.
            California has not joined with Colorado in legalizing the use of marijuana, however this does not stop people from growing it, distributing it, obtaining it, and smoking it.  I assume that everyone reading this blog has either tried marijuana or knows someone who has used it before.  These days, it is almost as commonplace as alcohol, and it is important that awareness be shed on the adverse effects of the drug.
            So does weed cause panic attacks?  According to research, use of marijuana, weed or pot can definitely cause an acute anxiety reaction.  And this acute anxiety can lead to panic, in which the user becomes extremely agitated and even incapacitated.  Certain phobias can develop, such as fears of being in public, or fears of being around other people.  And it seems that the chance of having panic attacks increase when marijuana is used more frequently and abundantly.
            Whether you're a frequent pot smoker or a one time user, following a panic attack, it is highly recommended that you seek out anxiety treatment.  The research has clearly stated a strong link between marijuana and anxiety attacks.  Following an initial panic attack,  a common struggle is  attacks that occur separately from smoking weed.  There is no immunity or specific selection of whom may be susceptible.  The best way to prevent panic attacks is by seeking anxiety treatment to learn strategies for reduction.  Anxiety doctors can work with you and teach you ways to systematically build healthier coping strategies.  

All the best,

from The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

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