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What causes panic attacks after having marijuana?

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Posted on Mon, 14 Jul 2014
Question: Hi there,

My anxiety attack was triggered by marijuana (was my first try and my last) back in January 2014. After that day, I had panic attacks numerous times with in the 5 months and I went to ER many times thinking i'm having some serious problem and kind of sure that I was dying. Since that specific day, I don't feel my self. I feel different. I've this confusion that don't go away. blurry vision most of the time. dizziness and lightheadedness most of the time. My doc diagnosed me with anxiety and I'm taking Celexa and Xanax as needed basis if I feel the anxiety attack. What still confused me is I'm a normal happy guy (NO MEDICAL HISTORY BEFORE) and could't accept the idea that I have anxiety problem. I am not sure if the marijuana can cause anxiety from no where! At this time, I'm just more confused about my situation since I lost my job 5 months ago due to this problem and is still debilitating my life.

Sorry if I have some grammatical errors since I've been in the U.S for few years & of course English is my second language. ANY INFORMATION IS VERY HELPFUL TO ME. PLEASE HELP, I'M IN A SMALL HELL.
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Answered by Dr. Sunil Gupta (37 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Please see details below.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Panic disorders can really throw our life out of track and in your case, I can understand what you must be going through.

Marijuana is known to cause anxiety. Most of the times, the symptoms caused tend to go off withing days to weeks. But in some people, it can precipitate a full blown disease. In your case, it is not the cause of panic disorder but just acted as a precipitating factor.

Having no medical condition gives us no immunity from this disorder. It can occur to anyone at any time. So, you need to stop worrying about it and look forward to take steps and overcome your condition in an effective way.

Panic attack is a condition in which a person suddenly starts feeling extremely anxious and restless and has symptoms of anxiety like palpitations, sweating tremors, etc. In addition, he may start having thoughts that he will dies or have heart attack or go crazy. That explains your visiting ER multiple times earlier. In addition, a person starts remaining worried about further attacks which causes baseline anxiety as in you case. A person can further go on to avoid certain situations like being alone, facing crowds, closed spaces like lifts, etc. as he feels in such situations, if he gets panic attacks, he won't be able to escape.

You are already on treatment and that's a good thing. Celexa (citalopram) is an effective medicine for panic attacks. Depending on the response to it, your dose can be increased to a maximum of 40 mg/day. In case, you are already on this dose and not showing benefit, some other agent like paroxetine or venlafaxine can be tried.

You can also consider the option of cognitive behavior therapy. It consists of sessions which will focus on learning relaxation and helping you face situations which leads to panic attacks.

I do hope that you find this information helpful. Please feel free to ask any further queries that you might have.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Dr. Sunil Gupta
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Sunil Gupta

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2005

Answered : 637 Questions

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What causes panic attacks after having marijuana?

Brief Answer: Please see details below. Detailed Answer: Hi, Panic disorders can really throw our life out of track and in your case, I can understand what you must be going through. Marijuana is known to cause anxiety. Most of the times, the symptoms caused tend to go off withing days to weeks. But in some people, it can precipitate a full blown disease. In your case, it is not the cause of panic disorder but just acted as a precipitating factor. Having no medical condition gives us no immunity from this disorder. It can occur to anyone at any time. So, you need to stop worrying about it and look forward to take steps and overcome your condition in an effective way. Panic attack is a condition in which a person suddenly starts feeling extremely anxious and restless and has symptoms of anxiety like palpitations, sweating tremors, etc. In addition, he may start having thoughts that he will dies or have heart attack or go crazy. That explains your visiting ER multiple times earlier. In addition, a person starts remaining worried about further attacks which causes baseline anxiety as in you case. A person can further go on to avoid certain situations like being alone, facing crowds, closed spaces like lifts, etc. as he feels in such situations, if he gets panic attacks, he won't be able to escape. You are already on treatment and that's a good thing. Celexa (citalopram) is an effective medicine for panic attacks. Depending on the response to it, your dose can be increased to a maximum of 40 mg/day. In case, you are already on this dose and not showing benefit, some other agent like paroxetine or venlafaxine can be tried. You can also consider the option of cognitive behavior therapy. It consists of sessions which will focus on learning relaxation and helping you face situations which leads to panic attacks. I do hope that you find this information helpful. Please feel free to ask any further queries that you might have. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Dr. Sunil Gupta