Hello cbada,, and welcome to Anxiety Zone! My name is Chuck, and I am one of the Global Moderators here on the site.
You are now a member of our community, where you will find support and advice from other members in similar situations. It's always nice to find someone else who understands, and to know you're not alone.
We have sections in the forum that address specific concerns, so feel free to post or start a new topic in the section that best fits your situation. Feel free to explore the rest of the forum. You may find the other topics helpful, and you may be able to offer advice or support to someone else.
We also have a chat room for members over the age of 18. Once you have made three meaningful posts, you will be allowed access to the chat room.
Cbada, it is not unusual at all to develop an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder/panic attacks, when utilizing drugs and/or even alcohol.
The brain is no different than any organ in the body, and can actually go through anatomical and physiological changes to both internal and external stimuli. MRI/CT shows actual changes in a woman's brain during pregnancy, and the Buddhist monks that meditate daily also show dramatic changes in the brain.
Anxiety disorders are a treatable condition. There are medications such as anti-depressants (Celexa, Lexapro, and Zoloft), and anti-anxiety meds (such as the benzodiazepines), used for treating anxiety. Therapy can be as effective as meds in some individuals. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is typically the treatment of choice for panic disorder/attacks.
Other lifestyle changes can most certainly help, such as staying away from drugs and alcohol, exercising, meditation, getting proper sleep, and eating a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.
Again, welcome to Anxiety Zone, cbada. The very best to you!... Chuck