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Smoked marijuana and had panic attack. Having pain in ribs, short of breath, heart pounding. Have anxiety. Related?

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Hello, It all started about a month ago. I smoked marijuana and then had a severe panic attack. I am 22 years old female 5"9 200 pounds. I was told I had mitral valve prolapse years ago by my doctor, but then when I had an ultrasound of my heart the cardiologist said no. I've had blood work several times. Plenty times actually. But the only thing that was show was a positive XXXXXXX reading but then I was tested again it didn't show one. I have been bedridden because I feel like my heart is pounding out of my chest when I stand. It scares me I also have severe anxiety and recently quit smoking when this started. For the last two days I've been having pains in my left side under my rib cage, I also feel short of breath, but the shortness of breath has been since I've quit smoking. I also have agoraphobia. I am seriously worried about my health but I am also depersonalized and scared to go to the doctor again. I have multiple panic attacks a day. I am severely depressed as well. And I am convinced that I have something seriously wrong with me. I would like to know your best advice and thank you.
Posted Mon, 20 May 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 29 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

Your symptom of pounding of the heart (known as palpitations) is most likely due to anxiety. You seem to be having an anxiety disorder, with panic attacks and agarophobia and such symptoms are commonly seen in anxiety disorders. Marijuana is well known to trigger or worsen anxiety disorders, especially panic attacks. The severe anxiety and other related disabling symptoms (like depersonalization, panic attacks, etc.), along with the fear and worry about your health are probably causing you to become depressed.

The recent symptom of left-sided pain under the rib cage and shortness of breath could also be due to the anxiety, but since you have a history of smoking, it is better to have a check up to rule out any lung problem. So, I would advise you to see a doctor for a physical examination and a chest X-ray, to be sure that there is no underlying lung pathology.

Since your anxiety symptoms appear to be quite disabling and making you severely dysfunctional, I would also advise you to see a pyschiatrist for further treatment. There are effective treatment options - in the form of medication and psychotherapy, which will help you overcome these problems. Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation, etc. can also be beneficial.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Smoked marijuana and had panic attack. Having pain in ribs, short of breath, heart pounding. Have anxiety. Related? 13 hours later
Is it possible for the heart palpatations to be constant and all day long? My heart beats really hard when I stand up.
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 6 hours later
Hello again,

It is possible to have constant symptoms of palpitations when there is severe anxiety (which seems to be the case in your current situation). Since you have had multiple tests, including a cardiac evaluation by a cardiologist, which were all normal, you don't have to worry about any serious medical problem being the cause for your symptoms.

Medication like beta blockers can be effective in controlling the physical symptoms of anxiety such as palpitations. SSRIs are very effective in controlling both your anxiety as well as your depressive symptoms. So, please see a psychiatrist for further treatment.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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