Anxiety is the experience of negative feelings of apprehension, worry, and general unease. These feelings can range from subtle and ignorable to intense and overwhelming enough to trigger panic attacks or feelings of impending doom. Anxiety is often accompanied by nervous behaviour such as restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and muscular tension.
Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of future threat. Obviously, these two states overlap, but they also differ, with fear more often associated with surges of autonomic arousal necessary for fight or flight, thoughts of immediate danger, and escape behaviors, and anxiety more often associated with muscle tension and vigilance in preparation for future danger and cautious or avoidant behaviors. This focus of anticipated danger may be internally or externally derived.
Psychoactive substance-induced anxiety can be caused as an inescapable effect of the drug itself, by a lack of experience with the substance or its intensity, as an enhancement of a pre-existing state of mind, or by the experience of negative hallucinations.
Anxiety is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as depression and irritability. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as cannabinoids, psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. However, it can also occur during the withdrawal symptoms of GABAergic depressants and during stimulant comedowns.
A panic attack is a discrete period of sudden onset of intense fear or terror. During these attacks there are symptoms such as shortness of breath or smothering sensations; palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; chest pain or discomfort; choking; and fear of going crazy or losing control. Panic attacks may be unexpected, in which the onset of the attack is not associated with an obvious trigger and instead occurs "out of the blue," or expected, in which the panic attack is associated with an obvious trigger, either internal or external.
Panic attacks are usually triggered in moments of severe anxiety, such as that caused by a bad trip. They are so subjectively overwhelming both physically and mentally that the user may believe they are dying, or that some great calamity is imminent, and are commonly mistaken for heart attacks. The subjective sensations can overwhelm rational thought even when the user recognizes that they are having a panic attack, especially in those who have not experienced them before.
Panic attacks are often accompanied by uncomfortable physical symptoms that may further aggravate a person’s anxiety as they may be mistaken for a serious health problem. The strongest mental effect of panic attacks is a crushing sense of impending doom, accompanied by despair, panic, and dread. These usually begin abruptly and may reach their peak within 10 to 20 minutes, but may also continue for hours in extreme cases before subsiding on their own. Although this experience is incredibly stressful it is important to note that it is not physically dangerous or harmful.
The various cognitive and physical symptoms of a panic attack are described and listed below:
- Hyperventilation - Hyperventilation occurs when one breathes deeper and more rapidly than usual. When hyperventilating, one may feel as though they are struggling to get enough air. As this causes a decrease of carbon dioxide in the blood, it may result in light headedness, a rapid heartbeat, chest pain, or a tingling sensation in a person's limbs.
- Abnormal heart rate and palpitations - Due to the release of stress hormones, one may experience heart symptoms including missed beats, palpitations, chest pain, and an accelerated heart rate.
- Tactile suppression - This can be described as a loss of sensation as well as numbness and tingling sensations throughout the body. It may feel as if one's skin or body parts are numb to the touch, and this can occur in a small area or become all-encompassing throughout multiple body parts or the entire body. Numbness most frequently occurs within the hands, legs, arms, feet, and face. This effect is often accompanied by a pins and needle sensation and it generally increases alongside of hyperventilation.
- Shortness of breath
- Trembling or shaking
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Bodily pressures
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- Fear of losing control or going insane
- Feelings of impending doom
- Chills or hot flashes
Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:
Anecdotal reports which describe this effect within our experience index include:
- Experience: 660ug LSD - First bad trip
- Experience: LSD (Unknown dosage) - My experiences with LSD and anorexia/bulemia
- Experience:120µg LSD - First Bad Acid Trip, Psychosis
- Experience:150mg MDMA + 20mg 2C-B - I designed it this way myself
- Experience:17mg 3-MeO-PCP & Cannabis oil - Terrifying confusion
- Experience:1g Methiopropamine - Chasing the Chalky Dragon
- Experience:2 grams Psilocybe Cubensis + 2.7 grams Syrian Rue - The Psilohuasca Albino Fox
- Experience:2 x 150 LSD tabs
- Experience:2.5g Peganum Harmala + 250µg LSD - Ecstasy of Love and Misanthropy
- Experience:2.5g Syrian rue + 6g Mimosa Hostilis - Becoming God (my second experience with unity)
- Experience:20mg - I looked up and saw an angry god-like figure made of clouds glaring down at me
- Experience:250 seeds - Harsh body load
- Experience:26mg - I begged the shroom aliens to kill me
- Experience:26mg - Stage 3 Trip
- Experience:3 drops of cinnamon bark oil/ 5 drops of german chamomile oil/ 2mL of nutmeg oil in lecithin - experiments with nutmeg oil
- Experience:3-MeO-PCP - Extreme psychosis
- Experience:3.5g psilocybe cubensis - Relinquishing of Material Chains/Fear and Desolation
- Experience:3g - I found god inside of myself
- Experience:40mg - Second breakthrough
- Experience:45mg 2cc & 45mg 4-aco-dmt - Ego death and loneliness
- Experience:50mg - How's the short-term memory?
- Experience:535mg - My First DXM Trip
- Experience:A combination of 25mg 4-AcO-DMT and unknown amount of 6-APB (benzofury)
- Experience:DMT: 200mg 1/5 changa - Bad yet glorious trip
- Experience:DXM and Cannabis: 100mg - Unexpected Strong Trip
- Experience:Datura Alcoholic Tincture
- Experience:Meditation with cannabis - terminated ego loss
- Experience:Nutmeg (8 teaspoons) - My Mom Introduces Me To Genesis and Other Things
- Experience:Unknown Dosages: 1 psilocin chocolate, 1 hit LSD; Lawing the Mown
- Experience:Unknown dose - Supermarket dislocation and biking
- Responsible use
- Subjective effects index
- Anxiety suppression
- Deliriants - Subjective effects
- Psychedelics - Subjective effects
- Dissociatives - Subjective effects
- Survey of Nootropics (Anxiety / no Anxiety comparison)
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.), 818. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.GlossaryofTechnicalTerms
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.), 189-190. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm05
- Barkus, C., McHugh, S. B., Sprengel, R., Seeburg, P. H., Rawlins, J. N. P., & Bannerman, D. M. (2010). Hippocampal NMDA receptors and anxiety: at the interface between cognition and emotion. European journal of pharmacology, 626(1), 49-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2009.10.014
- Crippa, J. A., Zuardi, A. W., Martín‐Santos, R., Bhattacharyya, S., Atakan, Z., McGuire, P., & Fusar‐Poli, P. (2009). Cannabis and anxiety: a critical review of the evidence. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 24(7), 515-523. https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.1048
- Wolbach, A. B., Miner, E. J., & Isbell, H. (1962). Comparison of psilocin with psilocybin, mescaline and LSD-25. Psychopharmacology, 3(3), 219-223. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00412109
- Datura effects (Erowid) | https://erowid.org/plants/datura/datura_effects.shtml
- Fontaine, R., Chouinard, G., & Annable, L. (1984). Rebound anxiety in anxious patients after abrupt withdrawal of benzodiazepine treatment. Am J Psychiatry, 141(7), 848-852. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.141.7.848
- Williamson, S., Gossop, M., Powis, B., Griffiths, P., Fountain, J., & Strang, J. (1997). Adverse effects of stimulant drugs in a community sample of drug users. Drug and alcohol dependence, 44(2-3), 87-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0376-8716(96)01324-5
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.), 826. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.GlossaryofTechnicalTerms
- Hyperventilation | http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hyperventilation-topic-overview