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Chronic User-NEED ADVICE - Bryan - Mar 12th 2008

Question:

I am a chronic user of marijuana. Currently I smoke about 1-3 times a day. This may include a blunt (marijuana filled cigar), bowl, bong, or joint. I also smoke cigarettes occasionally. I also binge drink 4-5 times a week. I believe my family is prone to depression because I’ve noticed it in many of my family members. Before I started smoking (9th grade…I’m now 20) I had some self-esteem problems, that eventually lead to depression. Throughout high school, I was actually pretty confident and happy. I had good friends, good times, good band, and good looking girls. College comes around. I started smoking and drinking MUCH more than I did in HS. I go to a school that these things are extremely abundant at and hard to avoid. Now, I’m scared for my own health. In the past 6 months, I’ve had extreme feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and depression. I feel I’m actually getting dumber. Communication has become a real problem because I can’t hold a normal interesting conversation. I end up spacing out and saying something really thick headed. It is an ongoing joke for my friends. I have lost any confidence I may have ever had. My memory has seriously gone to shit. I won’t remember something we were just talking about, not to mention a day or week. I’ve had real problems in relationships because I’ve forgotten many important things. I’ve become extremely anti-social, basically because of the paranoia. I’ve noticed that I’m an extremely awkward person. Sex has also become an issue. In the past 6 months I’ve experienced both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation on numerous occasions. I’ve slacked off in school a lot. I WANT TO STOP. I DON’T ENJOY SMOKING MARIJUANA ANYMORE. PLEASE HELP ME. WILL THESE PROBLEMS GO BACK TO NORMAL IF I COMPLETELY STOP SMOKING?

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Answer:

Yes, if you stop smoking marijuana your thinking and cognitive skills should return to normal. Unless something is physically wrong with you the same holds true for sexaul functioning. That has been the experience I have had with multiple numbers of people who were my patients, and had a similar history and stopped smoking.

There are several points to be made about giving up marijuana and what problems you may face in doing so.

First, you could experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are not as bad as when someone withdraws from heroin but you could experience discomfort as in difficulty sleeping and increased anxiety. These symptoms will pass if you stick with it. A good way to stop smoking marijuana is to do it gradually and not all at once in order to reduce the chances of withdrawal symptoms.

Second, if you were smoking pot to medicate another type of condition such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Depression or some other emotional difficult, you could find yourself re experiencing a resurgence of some of those symptoms.

Three, that is why I would suggest that you see your Medical Doctor to help you with the withdrawal process and see a psychotherapist who specializes in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Just the added emotional support can help but I want to assure you that quitting is something you can do and I more than a few people in my practice over the years did quit successfully.

Four, assuming that your smoking marijuana and your alcohol use may be related to some other condition such as depression or ADHD, etc, you might consider seeing a therapist for evaluation and possible diagnosis and treatment of that condition. If no such condition exists then you need not go that route.

Finally, one of the problems with marijuana today is that it is much more potent than in the past. It is for this reason that many people report experience paranoid thinking while using and find their thinking clouded and their memory impaired. The result is that chronic use makes these reactions more acute. However, stopping its use is entirely possible and entirely accomplishable(if there is such a word).

Good Luck

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