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Dealing With Depression: When to Consult A Marijuana Doctor?

Dealing With Depression: When to Consult A Marijuana Doctor?

Medical marijuana has long been utilised for its incredible medicinal advantages. Its ability to relieve anxiety and manage symptoms of depression is one of its well-known therapeutic abilities.

What is PTSD?

This condition can have significant impacts on a person’s mental, physical, and even fatal well-being, affecting various aspects of their life, including their mental, physiological, social, and spiritual health. Examples of such events include domestic violence, major incidents, terrorist attacks, military conflicts, sexual and rape abuse, and historical traumas.

After experiencing a traumatic event, a person may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious mental illness characterized by the emergence of specific symptoms such as flashbacks, emotional numbness, and avoidance. When traditional pharmaceutical options prove ineffective or have adverse effects, a growing number of individuals have turned to medicinal marijuana for relief. As a result, more states are recognizing PTSD as a qualifying disorder for medical cannabis use.

Which is a safer option: Medical Marijuana or Antidepressants?

Antipsychotics and antidepressants are commonly prescribed for the treatment of PTSD. However, research suggests that these pharmaceutical interventions may carry risks or lack effectiveness. A significant study highlighted by The New York Times examined the use of antipsychotics for PTSD and found that commonly prescribed medications have severe side effects and fail to adequately address severe post-traumatic stress symptoms, particularly in veterans.

As of May 18, a considerable number of states and four U.S. territories have legalized the medical use of cannabis, as reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Furthermore, Washington D.C., two American territories, and 16 states have legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. It is important to note that the prescription use of cannabis remains prohibited by the VA (Veterans Affairs) and the DOD (Department of Defense). The VA estimates that up to one-third of all veterans, including 11 to 20 per cent of recent Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, experience PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD

  • Experiencing the trauma repeatedly through flashbacks, intrusive memories, or nightmares.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by intense emotions triggered by flashbacks, memories, or nightmares.
  • Experiencing an inability to experience emotions or feeling emotionally numb.
  • Experiencing dissociation, which may involve a disconnection from oneself or others.
  • Engaging in avoidance behaviours, such as distracting oneself from thinking about the trauma or avoiding
    people and situations that remind them of it.
  • Experiencing a negative mood and negative thinking patterns.
  • Struggling to regulate emotions and experiencing difficulties in emotional control.
  • Feeling anger, irritability, panic, and constant anxiety.
  • Finding it challenging to experience pleasure or enjoyment.
  • Bearing a heavy burden of guilt or shame.
  • Having a negative self-perception, feeling diminished, worthless, or defeated.
  • Encountering difficulties in relating to others and experiencing detachment in relationships.
  • Experiencing sleep problems and difficulties with concentration due to a state of heightened arousal.
  • Being easily frightened or startled.

Preventing PTSD

Following a traumatic experience, individuals often initially experience PTSD-like symptoms, such as intrusive thoughts and heightened emotions. Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and guilt are common reactions. However, it is important to note that most people exposed to trauma do not develop chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. Receiving timely assistance and support can help prevent normal stress reactions from worsening and progressing into PTSD. This may involve seeking comfort and understanding from family and friends who are willing to listen. It may also entail seeking the expertise of a mental health professional for a brief period of therapy. Some individuals may find solace in their faith community as well.
Support from others can also play a crucial role in preventing the adoption of unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or alcohol misuse.

When To Consult A Doctor?

If you find yourself experiencing distressing thoughts and emotions related to a traumatic event for an extended period, exceeding one month, or if they become severe and start interfering with your ability to regain control of your life, it is recommended to consult with your doctor or a mental health professional. Seeking treatment promptly can be beneficial in preventing the escalation of PTSD symptoms.

When to Seek Immediate Emergency Assistance?

If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or contemplating suicide, it is crucial to call 911 or your local emergency number without delay. If you are aware of someone who is at risk of attempting suicide or has already made an attempt, it is important to ensure the person’s safety by having someone stay with them. Immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Alternatively, if it is safe to do so, you can take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.