I receive many letters from people who experience similar fears about having used drugs and subsequently developing schizophrenia. It seems to be a relatively common fear.
The letters that I receive are anecdotal evidence of the danger of drug use. The most dangerous aspect of using street drugs is that they are unregulated. They may contain any number of poisons and you simply don’t know where they come from and how they have been treated.
Your episode of concern occurred years ago. You became “paranoid” about your engaging in tax evasion. Strictly speaking, your paranoia was warranted. You were engaging in illegal behavior and were worried about getting caught. Your concern was justified.
The difference between your paranoia about tax evasion and the paranoia that people with psychotic disorders experience, is that yours was warranted and theirs is not. People with psychotic disorders are frightened of something occurring to them that in fact has very little or no chance of occurring. Their concerns are not based in reality. They believe something to be true that in fact is not true and has no basis in reality.
The diagnosis of schizophrenia requires a certain set of symptoms for a specific length of time. I cannot provide a diagnosis over the Internet but what you’ve written does not seem to be suggestive of schizophrenia. To further support that, you were evaluated by a psychologist who asked you over 200 questions and it was determined that you had anxiety and not schizophrenia.
If you continue to have anxiety, then it would be wise to begin counseling. Counseling can be quite effective for anxiety, particularly by helping you stay focused on reality. I hope that I’ve answer your question but if you have additional concerns please don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle