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CBT for PANIC ATTACKS

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schizolanza

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I've been going to an anxiety group once a week for the past 4 or 5 weeks.I was referred there by a psychiatrist who came round my house a few months ago.
It's been quite interesting and has helped reduce the frequency of my panic attacks,but not entirely.
I have my panic attacks at night,when I'm trying to get to sleep.I feel my body relax then I swallow repeatedly until I cant swallow properly and feel like I'm choking.Then I cant breathe properly and I panic bursting out of bed.
I normally get dressed and go out for a walk until the panic goes.Sometimes I'll not go out but watch tv or go on the computer instead.
I cant seem to find the trigger that is causing me to have these horrible panic attacks.At least knowing more about them has caused me to have less of them.Still I wish I knew why I have them.
 
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Apotheosis

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Could it have something to do with the cannabis? Since I stopped smoking it over 8 years ago now, I have far less panic.
 
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schizolanza

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It's possible but I dont think it's likely as the problem started when I was off thge cannabis.Cannabis can make me anxious at times though.
 
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schizolanza

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I'm still having panic attacks.Last ones were on Sunday night.I didn't get any sleep at all.
The anxiety group has finnished.I got most benefit from the breathing techniques,but didn't do me any good on Sunday night.
I saw my CPN yesterday.She's talking about changing my medication and giving me some pills for anxiety so I can take one when I'm having an attack.
I dont know why I have the attacks in bed at night.They keep telling me that there must be a trigger,but I can't think what it is.
 
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Apotheosis

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They keep telling me that there must be a trigger,but I can't think what it is.
Is the MH team aware of your street drug use? At what time of day do you most regularly smoke cannabis? Most people usually smoke it in the evenings. I think you have your answer there.
 
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*Sapphire*

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I agree with Apo. I know you say you had the problem before using cannabis, but that problem may have resolved itself, and now it is the cannabis that has become the problem. Over time cannabis use can cause panic attacks. In my opinion if you really want to get to the cause of it, you really have to stop taking things that are likely to induce them. Your cannabis use could be fogging a thought process you are having, that may be causing them. Just stopping it for one day/night to see won't work, you sometimes have to give it months, sometimes years as the effects can last a long time.
 
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Apotheosis

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Just stopping it for one night to see won't work, you sometimes have to give it months, sometimes years as the effects can last a long time.
There is potential for permanent biological changes in brain, & psychological functioning from drug use; be it prescribed medication or street drugs.
 
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schizolanza

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No they are not aware of my cannabis use.
My panic attacks started and were more frequent when I was not smoking cannabis.Now I can fend off most of the attacks by using a breathing technique,but am still having full blown panic attacks about twice a week.
I can't understand why I have them on one night but not on another.
 
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Apotheosis

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No they are not aware of my cannabis use.
My panic attacks started and were more frequent when I was not smoking cannabis.Now I can fend off most of the attacks by using a breathing technique,but am still having full blown panic attacks about twice a week.
I can't understand why I have them on one night but not on another.
Why have you not told them about your drug use? It is surely something that has a significant impact on your mental health; & is an aspect of your life that would need careful consideration; to address in regard to improving your overall mental health.

I smoked cannabis heavily for 17 years. It impacted my mental health severely. I had panic long before smoking cannabis, & I still get it. However, overall cannabis made my mental health a lot worse. I would go through times of not getting a lot of severe symptoms, when smoking cannabis, & at other times I did. When I honestly looked at the bigger picture, it was plainly obvious how cannabis impacted my mental health at a severe detriment.

I long laboured under the misconception that there was nothing that wrong in my cannabis use. I don't doubt that many people are fine smoking cannabis; & for many it is not a major problem. There is however a lot of research & evidence to show that street cannabis can have a very detrimental effect on a MH condition.

If you have a genuine MH condition, & are also under the impression that cannabis use does you no harm whatsoever. Then I would conclude that you are in strong denial; echoed by the fact that you keep it a secret from the MH team, & doctors.

When I used to take drugs; I sniffed cocaine daily for years, & took all manor of other drugs, including a lot of speed, E's, mushrooms, LSD, Ketamine, & other stuff. Cannabis was the hardest drug for me to stop, & I think it did me the largest amount of psychological damage. Cannabis can do some very odd things to the brain - especially in someone suffering a psychotic condition. I can get off days, that I believe are, in part, due to past cannabis use - 8 years after I stopped smoking it! How you think a panic reaction can't possibly be caused by cannabis smoking, while you are still smoking it - is beyond me.
 
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schizolanza

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I have been honest about it in the past.It resulted in me losing my drivers license and my job.
Dont you think I have a genuine mental health condition?I've been diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia,same as you I think.
I dont smoke street cannabis.
 
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schizolanza

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It doesn't justify it.I'm not trying to justify it.I smoke a variety which I smoked before with no problems.
You didn't answer my question Apotheosis.
 
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Apotheosis

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You didn't answer my question Apotheosis.
Lets examine the facts -

Cannabis (whatever the strain) is a powerful mind altering drug. It is a powerful psychoactive substance that causes altered states of consciousness, that's why people smoke it. In the 'normals'; they return to a normal state of mind after smoking it - usually the effects wear off.

Someone experiencing a psychotic condition is experiencing altered states of consciousness. Taking a psychoactive drug such as cannabis alters the mind yet further, exasperating, contributing to & accentuating such states ever further. A schizophrenic is experiencing something a normal is not in cannabis intoxication.

I used to enjoy drug induced altered states. Things got to the stage with me that I wanted my mind back. I became willing to do whatever it took to get well, to not unbalance my mind with drugs any further. I'll be honest - I enjoyed some of the illness/psychosis, especially in the early days - I liked being psychotic. Eventually drugs & psychosis took me to Hell.

Having the condition or label 'paranoid schizophrenia' means that cannabis use will exasperate that condition - it will make you more ill. You can delude yourself into thinking that cannabis helps alleviate things, & is therapeutic - but you are kidding yourself if you do.

As for driving & a job - some people argue that people with paranoid schizophrenia shouldn't drive; I disagree with that in some circumstances. But there is a very good argument that people shouldn't drive under the influence of cannabis; & that you are jeopardising the lives of other road users; especially with combined effects cannabis smoking has on schizophrenia. Should the safety & lives of others be put at risk because you deem it enjoyable to get stoned? I don't think so.

What was the job you lost? Same again; what responsibilities were there? - you can't very well expect in a society that largely sees drug addiction as bad; to not be penalised for drug use.

Sorry if I came across harsh, I do have have some compassion & understanding of this stuff. But if someone is using drugs, & their circumstances are such that their drug use is going to negatively impact their life & situation, & the lives of those around them, & they are unwilling to do anything about their problem or even acknowledge that it is a problem; then I don't have much sympathy.
 
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schizolanza

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You do come across as harsh.I need time to reflect on what you have said.
 
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Apotheosis

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You do come across as harsh.I need time to reflect on what you have said.
Thank you for reflecting on it. It is healthy to talk about such things I think.

I am simply trying to be candid & honest; & I'm talking from personal experience. I hope that something I say may help. It is your choice what you do, you can smoke as much cannabis as you like, & take any other drug that you fancy - it doesn't personally effect me. Such things should be personal choice; I am in agreement to the decriminalisation of all drugs. That does not condone their use, just acknowledges that drug prohibition doesn't work & causes far more problems than it solves.

If you find cannabis use enjoyable, & on balance you want to continue taking it; then enjoy it & carry on. We are all different. If you honestly think that it may be a problem, then look at ways you can get the support to stop it - it's your choice.

I wanted to see what life was like without being stoned; getting clean is one of the hardest things I have done, but also one of the most rewarding.
 
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