I had an anxiety attack and in the midst of it I thought I was losing control and was gonna have a heart attack. I thought I just needed to leave school for a minute and take a break. I told a parent about it and they told me that my stress was self inflicted and that I needed to fix my problems rather than run from them. They gave me a list of mental illnesses and reasons for why the illnesses may have happened. I read up on them and identified with them and saw that some people never heal from them and that petrified me into thinking it was no hope for me. That I would be that 1% I tried a self help program and it didn’t do much help because I was scared it was a scam because I couldn’t find any credible information about the program and because the guy who told me about it seems like a pathological liar. I was shook outta my mind realizing it didn’t work for me. A hospital psychiatrist and school therapist said I don’t have schizophrenia. I still have this fear even after hearing that. Ill explain the symptoms I recognize with: I went thru a phase where me and a friend were trying to unlock more than 10%of our brain and thought we could flow our energy in our body by thinking about it. After finding out what a delusion was I quickly realized I shouldn’t even keep trying this.I also believed in 1 too many conspiracy theories and thought that the gov. harmed people that were trying to do positive. I had a really positive idea that could help the world and fear they may come after me for working on it. I quickly dropped that idea too. Now when Im reading tweets I read them a little too quickly and my brain changes words around. This only happens with tweets and when Im stressing about going schizophrenic (almost 24/7now) Ive started having nightmares about my worst fears Anytime I get scared I think ima paranoid schizophrenic now. I’m always scared my thoughts will turn into delusions I fear any low noise that might mean Im hearing something None of this has gone on for more than 6months. Am I losing it? PS I smoked a lot of marijuana prior to the anxiety attack

A. The nature of anxiety is to excessively worry. Anecdotally it seems that many people with anxiety disorders worry about getting schizophrenia. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions that I receive.

A related common question that I receive involves using marijuana and subsequently developing psychiatric symptoms. Some studies suggest that smoking marijuana increases the risk for psychosis and for that reason it’s a dangerous drug to use.

Psychosis involves a break with reality. People with schizophrenia have psychotic episodes but not everyone who experiences psychosis has schizophrenia. Some people have one psychotic episode and never have another. Usually those cases involve drug abuse or a physical condition.

The bottom line is this: people who use drugs, including marijuana, have an increased risk of psychosis when compared to people who do not use drugs. It is best to avoid drugs if you want to preserve your mental health.

You stated that a hospital psychiatrist and a school therapist said that you don’t have schizophrenia. That should give you some peace of mind. If the experts don’t believe you have it (the people who are trained to know), then you should believe the experts. If you continue to worry, you might try seeking a second or a third opinion.

Finally, if you have an anxiety disorder, you should seek treatment. Once your anxiety is under control, these fears might dissipate. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle