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    Old 10-17-2002, 08:37 AM   #1
    DDJJ
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    Hey, I'm new here. My name is Jason, and I ma 23 years old. This is my story. perhaps some of you can give me some insight.

    DISCLAIMER: I no longer use, nor have a desire to use drugs. the drug talk at the beginning is to give some background. my story follows.

    From about 1996 until 1999 I was a heavy user of marijuana (every day) and an occasional user of LSD (once or twice a month).

    In February of 1999 I decided to try Extacy. It was supposed to be a particularly potent batch of the stuff. I will just say that it was very unpleasant. When the drug started to take effect I did not like the feeling, it was as if a rush of energy starting at my brain would radiate through my body, but it fellt quite jarring and scary. I thought I would die. I had my friend (he was sober) drive me to the hospital. When in the emergency room the doctor gave me a sedative (ativan) which calmed me down, gave me the anti-drug lecture that I of course ignored, and then I got a ride home. I slept as soon as I got home, and didn't wake up for about 20 hours. (ativan is powerful!). I had a serious breakdown over the next few days, being overly emotional, like crying in front of other people I barely knew and things like that. My boss was one of those people so he gave me a vacation. I had at this point decided to continue with marijuana bit to stop using all other drugs, including my old favorite LSD.

    Against my better judgement, while on vacation I decided to do one last hit of LSD.

    LSD is a drug lots of people don't understand, most people think you take it so you can hallucinate, but that's not really why. You don't really hallucinate on the drug, you see things differently, you don't see things that aren't there. It changes the way you think about things, and sometimes those changes in thinking can be lasting. It's effects last for 8 to 12 hours usually, so if your mind is in an unpleasent spot you can manifest things in your mind that are not fun. This is referred to as a "bad trip". I had just such a bad trip that fateful night. You have to be in the right mindset when using LSD and I definitely was not. I was anxious about taking it, thinking back on the extacy experience. I took a very tiny amount (about a 4th og the usual dosage) because of my anxiety. When the drug started taking effect I felt a pressure in my head which turned to a headache (i later found out that I was dehydrated. this was not a direct effect ofthe lsd, it just happened to manifest itself at the same time causing my mind to wander). While the pressure was not serious, i nmy mind my brain was swelling and expanding trying to force itself out of my skull. VERY SCARY! :O

    The feelings like this lasted 3 days until I finally decided to go to the hospital. While there the doctors hooked me up to an IV and fed me water. I was severely dehydrated by this point, and felt a little better after the water. I have not used a single illicit drug since that day. Not that I don't want to, but that when i am about to i just can't. I get too nervous. And not just illicit drugs either. I have a hard time even making myself take an advil when I have a headache. I never did before this event. The fact that I may have to start taking anti-depressants is downright terrifying, even if they may help get rid of this stuff... But I am getting ahead of myself.

    Now up until this point I had always been a really easygoing guy. No anxiety whatsoever, no matter the situation. I was very outgoing, not really concerned about my health, and i seemed to be mentally stable.

    But this event seemed to trigger a change in the way my mind worked. Almost immediately i became a hypochondriac. I began to have panic attacks. I got nervous when just thinking about death. A friend would start talking about a disease (for example viran meningitis) or whatever. Immediately my senses tune to my head and start "checking to see if i have the symptoms he is talking about" and of course i start having them. my body heats up, heart speeds up, get kinda dizzy, etc... common panic attack. It is mostly disease related things that set me off. But then for the last few months I seem to be getting the attacks more often and my sleep patterns have deteriorated. I do not have trouble getting to sleep but I wake up before I should and I am unable to fall asleep again. Then I feel all tired the whole day and the only thing I am able to think about is that i need to get some sleep. Of course I am also unable to nap, i try but i just can't get to sleep. Now at night I do not have trouble getting to sleep. it's always just waking up early I have trouble with. I usually get 7 hours of sleep and I feel fine and don't obsess about it, but about 2 nights a week I only get 5-6 hours and that is when I obsess all day long. I have tried everything I can do that doesn't involve medication, but it all just seems to be getting worse. Now I am ready to start taking medication (people say such wonderful things about zoloft) but I have another problem. I do not have insurance. The unpredictable nature of this whole thing makes it very hard to keep a job. I have not been fired for this, I have quit a couple jobs because I just couldn't concentrate at work because I was too preoccupied with thoughts that i may have a brain aneyurism (not real) or narcolepsy (also not real), etc...

    Since I am currently unemployed i do not have medical insurance. I have enough of an income to survive (I do work at home doing web site development for people) but I do not have a primary care physycian. I saw some commercials on tv for Paxil CR and while I am not interested in that drug per se, the commercial described my symptoms to a T. I really want to get on some medication or treatment plan, but since I don't have a regular doctor, and probably can't afford to see a doctor. I don't know what to do, and I am starting to get hopeless that this will ever get fixed. I normally owrk in the computer field, but right now in denver there are not alot of jobs hiring for that right now, so my only hope of getting medical insurance is getting a job at the local video store. I looked into it, but it's a job i really don't want, and even if i do decide to work there, i have to wait for 3 months for the medical insurance to kick in. It feels to me that I can't even let this stuff wait any longer, I just want to be me again.

    Sorry this is so long, does anyone have any insight they can share?

    -starting to get hopeless here,

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    Old 10-17-2002, 09:29 AM   #2
    blacktango
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    Ok first of all, Hi What you're going through is perfectly normal, it was triggered by the overwhelming incident of the drug. No shame in taking drugs, alot of people do, it's a curiosity and an easy, yet risky, way to escape reality. I personally wouldn't venture past anything harder than weed, but that's just me. Anything that has such large effects on the nervous system and the mind is bound to have some lasting effect, and if those effects are negative they will be more engrained than positive. Any amount of fear can lead to avoidant/anticipatory behaviour, it gets worse over time, BUT no matter how far it's gone it can always be overcome.

    It seems to me that you've developped a fear of pills and ill feelings, so I don't recommend pushing yourself to take any pills, for headaches or anti-depressants. Put it out of your mind, meds aren't as important as you'd think. You can overcome anxiety without them, it's just a little harder. The anti-depressants work to take the edge off of fear so it's easier to handle, and lessen the panic symptoms, other than that they do nothing.

    I'd recommend finding a therapist/psychologist, you could maybe find one via your local hospital or some helplines. They will help you deal with the mental problems, and if you explain your fear of medication/pills to them then they'll be understandable and keep you away from them till your mentally ready for them.

    I also recommend taking that job, or any job you can get, as keeping yourself active will help a great deal. Staying at home will give you plenty of time to yourself in which you can easily work things into a worse state than what they already are. Keeping yourself busy, and in the company of people will help, though I understand that you're probably feeling very anti-social, and want to stay by yourself. Having a job and sticking with it will pay off in the long term. You could spend those three months working towards the medical plan, as you see a therapist (I'm assuming that general therapy is paid for by the government where you are as it is here in the UK - if not then use us as your therapist ), then when you're ready, you'll have the plan there to give you the medication which will aid you in overcoming the anxiety.

    You're not alone in this, take comfort that there are others out there, and a good portion of those people post here at this message board, and will help in the best way they can, me included. I recommend reading as much as you can about anxiety, fear, panic and phobias. You've probably seen alot of people talk about Claire Weekes here, she is an excellent help for people like you and I, if you can find any books by her then read them. Understanding your fears is a huge element in overcoming it all.

    Hope I helped, if even a little.

    Claire x
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    Old 10-17-2002, 09:54 AM   #3
    DDJJ
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    i have pushed myself so much to take headache pills again so I am now comfortable and no longer get nervous except while i am holding the pill right in front of my mouth. 20 minutes later i have forgotten i took the pill. I am comfortable with this.

    It is reassuring that I may not need to take meds to get help, because this is so hard to deal with and the fear of taking medications makes it that much worse.

    Here in the US if you don't have medical insurance you can kiss anything goodbye. Therapists charge $60 an hour and up. I just can't afford it.

    Now you mentioned that I should take the job so I am active. I am an active guy. I hang out with friends often, and when I am home alone I am sometimes working. It's strange but I always feel the most comfortable when I am all alone by myself. Even before all the anxiety I still loved to spend alot of time by myself, or just going out to do things like shopping or hanging out downtown alone. I do like hanging with friends too. I am so glad I don't have a social phobia, because it would really suck to have to be alone all the time. I live with roommates, so there is always some kind of activity going on here.

    I have heard of claire weekes, and i think I will pick up a book sometime soon

    And I hope you guys don't mind me using you guys as therapists instead of spending money I can't afford to spend.

     
    Old 10-17-2002, 10:03 AM   #4
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    The Claire Weekes books are excellent and it's as good a start as any.

    I believe there are some public avenues to access therapy. I would look up Mental Health in the gov't white pages of the phone book.

    Good luck!

     
    Old 10-17-2002, 10:12 AM   #5
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    sup Jason..
    your story is real similar to mine.. except my panic attacks are alot stronger then the ones you described..
    i think you should get some Ativan any chance you get.. it's usually given in .5mg pills.. it wont be as potent as what you got in the hospital.. (when i went to the hospital for my first attack they only gave me benedryl )
    good luck man.. you just gotta learn to adjust.. like NBA players don't let the crowd bother them when they shoot foulshots.. you can't let panic and anxiety throw you off when you're tryint to live..

    `Ryan

     
    Old 10-17-2002, 10:33 AM   #6
    DDJJ
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    while ativan sounds interesting i have heard it is adddictive so I don't think I want to do that.

    It scares me sometimes because whenever I tell people the things I feel they all say it sounds like mild anxiety disorder, but you know what? IT FEELS ANYTHING BUT MILD!!!

    thanks for the great advice

     
    Old 10-17-2002, 10:48 AM   #7
    Kadree
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    Jason,
    First of all I wanted to tell you that I am sorry for what you are going through. I have been there and it is a helpless feeling, and an experience that I never thought that I would live through.
    It hit me like a ton of bricks one day, and although I never abused drugs or alcohol, I developed a fear of taking anything.
    To this day I have never taken Paxil or any other anti depressant and I think I am better now. Not cured, because I don't think that I ever will be, but I haven't had a panic attack for about 6 monthes.

    I am not saying that taking meds is a bad idea, but it just wasn't for me. I have a good therapist, and these boards have helped me out tremendously. I also did have some Ativan for when I couldn't calm down (but it was my last resort)
    Do what you feel is right for you
    Good Luck and God Bless you
    Kadree

     
    Old 10-17-2002, 11:02 AM   #8
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    the stuff that makes me nervous I usually have the ability to avoid. waiting in line at the grocery store is not one of those things i can avoid, but i live through it. there is just something about waiting in long lines that always makes me nervous. why?

    but other things like talking about diseases and stufff i just change the subject when someone starts talking about some deadly disease.

    the thing that bothers me the most i think is the sleep thing. I can survive fine on 6 hours a night and if i don't think about it, i don't even notice it, but it's the inability to stop thinking "i only got 6 hours last night" that gets me going funny. ativan would probably help me sleep, but i'm too afraid to take it. a strange thing, the mind.

     
    Old 10-17-2002, 12:31 PM   #9
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    Hi Jason - I have been suffering from general anxiety disorder and depression for the last year. I know exactly how you feel when you say that you just want to "be yourself again" It is ok to admidt that you can't do in on your own. When the human body has a chemical imbalance it is sometimes impossible for us to fix it ourselves. That is why there is medicine that can help! I have taken Xanax, which is very very good for stopping panic attacks. The only problem is it makes you kind of sleepy. Now I take Effexor, which is a combination anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. I love it! I am finally back to my "old self" again. I haven't had one panic attack since I have been on it. I even feel like I have become a better person. I am not as irratable and anxious as I used to be. I don't get upset at all any more. I haven't even felt the slightest bit STRESSED since I have been on it.
    Since you don't have health insurance, you might be able to see a doctor at a free clinic. Any doctor can get you these kinds of drugs! I don't have health insurace either. So, I saw a gynecologist at a free clininc and she gave me a whole YEARs worth of patient free samples of the Effexor. Good luck and don't wait to get help. There is no need to suffer.

     
    Old 10-18-2002, 08:54 AM   #10
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    Jason,
    I too had a fear of huge crowds or people in places where there wasn't a lot of room. In the grocery store, people walking by me with carts and kids made everything go wierd. I felt that I was going to lose it.
    I have heard that that is something that goes along with the anxiety and that too, will pass. I heard that it was something to do with the adrenelin rush, and your inability to process everything going on.
    I had also posted on this board about having anxiety about other people's anxiety. I too change the subject when the subject is disease, or terrorist attacks, or anything terrible. Just because I don't think that I need anything more to think about.

    Never did I avoid a situation. If I was afraid to go to the store, I made myself go, I just took someone with me. Usually it was one of my kids, because I thought to myself 'I have to look after my daughter, I'll be fine'
    And pretty soon I was.
    I'm not saying that there wasn't a few times that I bolted for the door to go sit in my car. But I kept trying.
    Take Care and keep in touch
    Love
    Kadree

     
    Old 10-24-2002, 04:06 PM   #11
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    Ativan and any Benzo's are very addictive. Not good for addictive type personalities, like myself. I would save those for the "must have" situations and be very careful. I was a very heavy drug user in my pre-teen, and teen years. I was extreme in my drug use. Some of my therapist have mentioned that it may of been the drugs that messed my brain chemicals up so bad. Hmmm? My main saviour has been faith, exercise, and a positive outlook. Yes, this is an amlmost impossible task for panic patients, but we are all works in progress. Before the meds, try changing diet and exercise habits, take a multi vitaimin, go to a support group, stuff like that. And live by "This too shall pass" because it always does.

    Good luck!!

    Blessings,

    Kem

     
    Old 10-30-2002, 12:26 AM   #12
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    I have had panic attacks for years though i didnt know it and anxiety in many situations...i too thought i had every disease possible and finally went into the emergency room one night about six months ago with what i thought was a heart attack...complete with pain in left arm...palpitations the whole nine yards....Bless that doc's heart he gave me ativan that night so i could finally sleep (only 10 of them though, they are very addictive ive heard and most docs are very careful not to overprescribe those babies! but i finally slept well) and a script for paxil...i cried my eyes out in that e.r. one i was scared two tired as hell and three relieved that i had an answer finally....
    i couldnt afford the medications if i had to pay full price for them....my first prescription 20mg aday for 30 days was 127.00
    i reccomend you find a mental health clinic where your drugs will eithr be free or very cheap ( im now on a sliding scale and with my low income my scripts are only five dollars verses what would now be 260.00 a month when the dosage was raised to 40 a day...
    i recently switched to welbutrin which i guess isnt great for anxiety but im only using it to help me quit smoking by my fortieth birthday...nov 26 and then will go back to paxil...the switch was rough but worth it if i can quit smoking!
    the fears of dependence are understandable and quite real if your the one having them! i wouldnt even take tylenol for the longest and would never go to the doc for fear i really had something and i didnt want to find out! who can live like that and not lose it eventually...
    i also did tons of research on panic and anxiety disorders of all types...and depression etc..so i could understand it and now only a while into treatment i feel better then ever...no more imaginary symptoms etc...and im happy as best as i can tell..more importantly the people that love me see the difference and thats made it rewarding...i didnt even know myself when i finally went for help....good luck with whatever you decide to do..but please look at all your options there is help for those of us who cant afford it...just dedicate a little time to finding it and it will present itself....big hugs to you! itll work out!

     
    Old 11-01-2002, 06:00 AM   #13
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    i'm afraid to fall asleep cuz i might not wake up...why else would i be up at 6 in the morning (pacific standard time)?...Ativan doesn't do crap for me...i think i'll check out that claire weekes book

     
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