Citation: Reynard the Fox. "Residual Anxiety Disorder Initiated by Trip: An Experience with LSD & Cannabis (exp14910)". Erowid.org. Apr 7, 2005. erowid.org/exp/14910
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So far I haven't found too many other reports of persisting conditions similar to mine, so I'm posting this in the effort of gaining more information on the condition, flushing a few others with a similar experience out of the woodwork, and reassuring (to a certain extent) those others.
Before this particular experience, I was a fairly experienced user of marijuana and mushrooms, and lightly experienced in the use of LSD (2 months, approx 10 trips). I've always been a lightweight when it comes to pot smoking, and have shown signs of Acute Panic Disorder when smoking too much. I had previously never had any negative experiences with hallucinogens (I was arrogantly hoping that I would get to deal with a bad trip, so I would know what it was like).
The dosage was fairly normal to start with, 2 hits on paper, dissolved sublingually for quickest onset. I then watched a movie with a close (also tripping) friend, and had some minor visual effects, along with the elation of coming up on a trip. We both smoked some weed during the movie, which added to the effects and led to some severe time dilation. While the movie was only approx. one hour in length, we found ourselves surprised that the acid hadn't really started to kick in yet. So we headed upstairs and took another two hits each. The sensation of the acid dissolving under my tongue suddenly caused the full effects of the first to kick in, amazingly strong. This gave me a moment of pause, but I'm a fairly competent and cool-minded individual, so I managed to shrug it off.
I remember there were some mind-blowing visual and mental experiences in the meantime, which I can't remember much at this point, but it all took a turn for the worst when I started to feel a numbness in my limbs. Unfamiliar with the multitudes of psychological effects LSD can have, I thought that it was an indication of some impurity in the acid, and that thought sent me into a horrible spiral. I think I could have managed it fairly well, but my friend handed me some pot 'to help calm me down'. As only approx 45 minutes had passed since my last smoke (it felt like hours), a few tokes put me into a full-blown panic attack.
For those who aren't familiar with panic attacks, they often come on hard and fast, without regard to logical reasoning on the part of the victim. Often there is a feeling of being both too cold and too hot at once, and an immediate concern over overheating/hypothermia. Heart race is increased due to adrenaline and the mind locks on to this as a sign that something is wrong, making the heart seem unnaturally fast...Often fear of death comes along with that, but I haven't feared death in a long time. For me, the fear is that I will remain that way forever. Some other effects include concentration on breathing, being convinced you are going to pass out, and an undeniable urge to keep moving.
This panic attack was particularly horrible, having all of the symptoms listed above, compounded by the enhanced mental state from the LSD. This was a full-blown bad trip, and I knew I had another 6-8 hours of it. I managed to keep a cool outward appearence to avoid setting off a negative experience for my friend, but inwardly, it was horribly intense, and very disturbing. I felt like calling 911 at one point, but was calmed by the fact that LSD does not adversely affect the body (though I still had some concern of it being laced). It took a long time, but I finally went to sleep, exhausted.
Everything went back to normal for a while, wherein I went back to just smoking pot every now and then, in moderation (3-4 hits did it for me just fine). However, at a later time, while I was at a friend's house a few months after the initial experience I took a single hit of particularly potent pot (below my normal threshold for a marijuana high), and immediately went into the full-blown panic attack again. This was highly disturbing, but I decided that if there was such a problem, I would just avoid pot.
Well, the next six months or so were very unpleasant, as the panic attacks would come fairly frequently, 3 or 4 times per week. They got to the point of causing me to be very disturbed and non-productive. I went to a psychiatrist and they immediately diagnosed me with mania and threw pills at me. I went to another psychiatrist and they immediately diagnosed me with depression and threw pills at me. I really dislike psychiatrists...I used the medications as a stepping stool to understand and analyze the panic, get to the root of it, and solve it. A year later, and I still have the effects pop up now and then, and I have to be careful when using any substances that alter consciousness even in the slightest. Also, periods of shifting mental state (going to sleep, meditation, etc) can bring the attacks.
Due to the decreased amounts of attacks, I believe that the problems will eventually cease, but since I haven't found too many accouts of this, I can't be sure. I hope this comes in useful to someone. Remember, it WILL get better, if you let it. Get through panic attacks one at a time, and keep working through your life. It's hard, yes, but sometimes there's a price you pay for expanding your consciousness. I think of it as a lesson in caution and humility, and I suggest all users of strong hallucinogens remember to show IMMENSE respect to them.
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