Protip for dealing with anxiety/panic attacks (via r/trees)

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Many thanks to ManOfScience420 at r/trees for the following:

1) The anxiety is a result of : Lowered nor-epinephrine which has been linked with long term fear memory which can be triggered at later dates. Endocannabinoids released from the depolarized post-synaptic neuron bind to CB1 receptors in the pre-synaptic neuron and cause a reduction in GABA release.

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, when you have low levels of GABA it can lead to anxiety. There are more processes but these are the most prominent ones.

2) There is a mechanism regulated by your Amygdala which is able to put you in a fight or flight state before you have time to rationalize.

3) Once it is triggered your prefrontal cortex/ rational mind can reverse the process but it is often difficult due to people being in an intense emotional state. But it IS possible. Example of how irrational fear can be rationalized: You see a snake in the bushes of your backyard , you go into fight or flight/state of fear. Upon closer inspection the snake is just your garden hose so you calm down.

4) A good step is to identify triggers and slowly face them and try to remove the fear association with them.

5) Remember you are always in control.

6) Thinking “I am not in danger, I’m just chilling on the couch stoned playing battle field 4” helps

7) Your mindset and setting will have a great effect on how you feel, try to always dose in a safe place with people you trust.

The thing is once you have your first panic attack high, being high becomes a trigger. Your brain has formed a long term fear memory. This is part of a survival mechanism that hijacks your brain and makes you feel fear. During these episodes it’s very common for people to let their imaginations run wild in order to explain why they feel a sense of danger, this often leads to the symptoms intensifying. If you are able to stay rational, it’s possible to control and eliminate your fear.

Think of it like a crappy car alarm. If you don’t know about the alarm being crappy, you might freak out and run out to your car every night thinking it’s in the process of being stolen. Once you’re aware the alarm is faulty, you don’t have to freak out anymore. You just turn it off.

Ledoux, Joseph (2003). “The Emotional Brain, Fear, and the Amygdala”. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 23

“Conflict and Your Brain aka “The Amygdala Hijacking””. Freedman, Joshua. “Hijacking of the Amygdala”.

Horowitz, Shell. “Emotional Intelligence – Stop Amygdala Hijackings”. Retrieved 2010-04-06.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6278139 Effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the synthesis of dopamine and norepinephrine in mouse brain synaptosomes.

http://www.intechopen.com/books/the-amygdala-a-discrete-multitasking-manager/the-role-of-norepinephrine-in-amygdala-dependent-fear-learning-and-memory

http://www.pnas.org/content/104/35/14146.full Norepinephrine enables the induction of associative long-term potentiation at thalamo-amygdala synapses

 

See also: Could Anxiety Be Treated With Medical Cannabis?

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