I’m a 19 year old male who used to smoke pot when I was 15 here and again, and it never had an effect on me. 10 months ago I had my first panic attack out of no where and had an anxiety attack every night for 3 days. My mum was on vacation and it was just me and my girlfriend. After 2 days my conditioned worsened to the point where I was laying in bed shaking, afraid to leave the house, feeble and hazey. My neighbour took me to a doctor and he prescribed me with Citalopram. The first day I took it, I had a high of where I said ‘oh my god I feel back to normal’ for about an hour, then after; a low of where I was crying which faded out during the evening. I took my second tablet the next day of where the same thing happened but I decided to come off them. 10 months have passed and my anxiety is extremely at bay, however.. my brain feels re-wired. I feel (as the internet describes) depersonalized (DP/DR) it started off terrible being the only thing on my mind but now I don’t think about it and I am able to live my life. However.. I still feel different, as if something has changed the way I feel and view reality. Although I can ignore it and get on with my life; I still feel like this ‘not real feeling’ is a black cloud that has improved but may not ever go away. Ever since that panic attack, reality hasn’t seemed the same since and I always yearn to go back to when my life was.. ‘normal’. I know I’m not crazy and I don’t have thoughts of suicide, but a lot of the time I’m wondering why I don’t feel as happy as I should. I feel great after the gym and eating healthy sure; but constantly my mind is saying ‘you feel great.. but not as great as you used to, there must be something you’re not doing’ what do you think has happened? Do you think my mind has gone through so much trauma that it’s re-wired itself or taken a different course? – thank you.
It’s difficult to know with certainty why you feel different. Generally speaking, illegal drugs alter brain chemistry. That’s, in part, why drugs are so dangerous. Many people underestimate the risks of drug abuse. Teenagers especially see it as harmless experimentation or even a rite of passage. People who use drugs and who don’t suffer negative consequences are fortunate and rare.
Anecdotally, I receive many letters from people like you, who have used marijuana and who have developed similar symptoms. Recent reports indicate that one of the most common reasons someone goes to the emergency room, for anxiety symptoms, is due to marijuana use. Some people have a bad reaction to the drug and it scares them.
You may want to reconsider the medication you were prescribed. It might help. You only gave it two days. Typically, antidepressant medications take approximately 1 to 3 weeks to work. You didn’t give it enough time to do its job. It may have helped you, but you didn’t give it a chance. You should discuss this with your prescribing physician.
You might also consider counseling to address what might be derealization symptoms. It’s possible that anxiety and derealization are related and psychological treatment could help eliminate both of these symptoms.
It’s also important to proactively prevent another anxiety attack. You’ve described your anxiety attacks as coming out of “nowhere,” but most commonly they are triggered by something. If you identify the trigger, you might prevent them. Therapy could be beneficial to you at this time. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle