Anxiety and Drug Use: Whether or not you have a predisposition to anxiety, it is important to understand how drug use plays a part in your mind and body connection. This goes beyond your typical grade school lesson on drugs altering the chemical balance in your brain, and the scientific research on each drug and their effects on the body. Taking any foreign substance can result in a change in your body chemistry, even resulting in significant after effects similar to the reaction of a traumatic experience. Taking recreational drugs can often times bring out underlying psychological conditions, and the effects may linger on long after you are under the influence.
Anxiety can often cause physical symptoms, which is your mind’s way of using your body to force you to listen to what it has to say. Sometimes these symptoms can cause fear, resulting in a panic attack. These attacks can be characterized by intense physical reactions, such as dizziness lightheadedness, heart palpitations, numbness and tingling of limbs, shortness of breath, nausea or upset stomach, sweating, feeling detached from your surroundings, and trembling or shaking. The fear is exacerbated when these are new symptoms, and there is a concern of a serious medical condition.
Many of the aforementioned symptoms are also side effects to a number of different drugs. When someone tries a drug (whether for the first time or 100th time) and a negative reaction occurs, this can cause an alarming, often traumatic effect on a person. After the sensations subside, many will find themselves suffering from the same physical symptoms, days, even weeks after the last time they were intoxicated. While it is confusing and scary, it is important to remember that this is not a residual effect of the chemicals consumed, but your body recognizing how you took notice of physical symptoms, and using those symptoms to trick you into giving into your anxiety. It's best to describe this as having a post-traumatic stress reaction to the stressful situation that occurred.
There are many examples of how different drugs can become catalysts for anxiety symptoms. Let’s say that one night you decide to try a drug, such as marijuana, a common “party drug” such as LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, or even drinking alcohol, and while intoxicated your heart starts to race, picking up speed until you become out of breath and alarmed at the rate your heartbeat is increasing. The sensation turns to heart palpitations as you gasp for air and clench your chest. This terrifying feeling is new to you, and you lie down in fetal position waiting for the end of this exasperating experience.
Then a few days later, you are running on the treadmill and your heart rate increases. Your heart is racing faster and faster, now triggering a reminder of your awful experience just days before. A pleasant experience at the gym now becomes a dreadful experience, because you now have to avoid situations that will raise your heartbeat, a sensation that only gets worse as your anxiety increasing your heart rate to the alarming palpitations that are now habitual. This is one of many scenarios that can occur when a negative experience with drugs affects someone who suffers from anxiety.
This is not a public service announcement on the dangers of “party drugs” such as cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, or even marijuana and alcohol. This is just a reminder that people with a history of anxiety are more sensitive to physical and emotional changes. Whether you are thinking about trying something new, or experimenting with a drug you have used in the past, keep in mind that you may not always have a positive experience, and to be prepared if unpleasant side effects arise.
To speak with a therapist at TCFG call at 215-922-5683 Ext. 100 or if you prefer quietly setting yourself up for an appointment, you can self schedule an inperson or virtual codependency therapy appointment. For your convenience we have 5 physical offices and provide virtual therapy services in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Mexico and Virginia.
Ocean City Therapy Office
360 West Ave, Floor 1, Ocean City, NJ 08226
Mechanicsville Therapy Office
9044 Mann Drive, Mechanicsville Virginia, 23116
Society Hill Therapy Office
233 S. 6th Street, C-33, Philadelphia PA 19106
Art Museum / Fairmount Therapy Office
2401 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 1a2, Philadelphia PA 19130
Santa Fe Therapy Office, 2204 B Brothers Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87505
Telemedicine: We have therapists who are licensed to work in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia New Mexico and Pennsylvania
You deserve the best therapist possible. Our special sauce for helping you achieve your goal, begins with matching you with the right therapist. Check out our GUARANTEE.
Therapy Services Offered:
Individual Counseling and therapy
Couples Counseling and marriage counseling
Teen Therapy and Adolescent Therapy and tweens and child counseling
Family Therapy and multi-generational counseling
Art Therapy and Counseling no art skills needed
ADHD Therapyand ADD, Dyslexia, Autism, Tourettes counseling
Anxiety, Panic, OCD Therapy and worry and fear support
Breaking the cycle of Codependency and being your own person
Overcoming Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain
Depression Therapy and sadness, gloom, and upset support
Grief Therapy and loss, End of A Relationship, rejections, pregnancy loss and therapy
Mindfulness Based Therapy and spirituality based therapy
Sex Therapy and sexual function & dysfunction, sex addiction, sexual orientation and gender identity support
Trauma Therapy both emotional and sexual abuse, complex trauma, PTSD counseling
Affairs, Infidelity, Unfaithful, Cheating counseling
Personality disorder treatments