Withdrawal

As you may have noted in my “Disclaimers” section, I am not a doctor. I will provide a simplified explanation of withdrawal for those who would like the “cliff-notes” version. Also, detox is safest when attempted in a medical setting. Withdrawal “cold turkey” can lead to serious complications, including death.

WITHDRAWAL

Withdrawal occurs when a person who is physically dependent upon a substance reduces or stops the use of that substance. Withdrawal is actually a result of the body and brain going into shock; it is as if the body and the brain are “screaming out” for the substance on which they have come to rely. At this point, the DRIVE of addiction has kicked in, and the brain actually “believes” that use is key to survival (see the section “Drive, Not A Choice” to read more specifically about this). It is as if the person is in a state of deprivation and use is key to their survival.

If you are wondering what symptoms you or your loved one might experience in withdrawal, this is somewhat easy to figure out. Think about what is experienced when the substance is used and then consider the opposite effect. This will be your withdrawal experience. The severity of the withdrawal will depend on the length of time and amount of substance used.

DOPAMINE AND WITHDRAWAL

Every addictive substance causes a flood of dopamine, the pleasure chemical, to enter the brain (other neurochemicals are involved as well, but dopamine is the main one). This dopamine flood causes what may be described as the euphoria, “high”, or feelings of relaxation or contentment. However, once withdrawal occurs (withdrawal can start once a person stops taking in the substance and it begins to break down in the system) dopamine levels drop. With a reduction in dopamine comes a reduction in pleasure, and the result is depression.

Over a long period of continued use (weeks, months, years), the brain attempts to regulate the neurochemical system. If the brain could talk it might say, “there is way to much of this chemical dopamine coming in, so we’d better cut production!” After all, there is an over-abundance of the chemical flooding the brain. Therefore, with continued use and continuous increased dopamine levels, eventually the brain stops making dopamine. Again, no dopamine = no pleasure. This absence of pleasure explains why so many people who struggle with addiction problems consider, attempt, or complete suicide.

A person might think that once they stop using the substance that dopamine production will simply start again (in other words, thinking “I just need to go to detox and get these chemicals out of my system”), but this is not the case. Much of the latest research shows it takes about 90-days for the brain to jump-start the healing process. Depending on the length of time in active-addiction, the brain may not return to “normal” functioning for a period of 6-months to several years. Even then, a person can experience a return of cravings (which may feel like a return of withdrawal symptoms) for the substance for the rest of their life.

ALCOHOL/SEDATIVE WITHDRAWAL

Sedatives and alcohol are depressants, meaning they depresses – or slow down – the system (yes, they also cause depression). Alcohol/sedatives relax the body when consumed; therefore, in withdrawal they create the opposite of relaxation: anxiety, tremors, sweats/chills, and (possibly, depending on the amount used) the extreme opposite of relaxation: seizure.

COCAINE, CRYSTAL METHAMPHETAMINE, OTHER STIMULANTS

The use of stimulants leads to an immense, fast-acting rush of pleasure, stimulation, or energy — oftentimes in the form of mania. Therefore, the “crash” period that occurs after about 9-hours post-use is as equally potent in terms of the devastating depression that occurs.  The early-onset symptoms include: agitation, depression, loss of appetite, and intense craving for more of the substance. Over time, fatigue sets in. Longer-term withdrawal symptoms are anhedonia (defined as an inability to feel pleasure), and sometimes paranoia, anxiety, and again intense craving.

MARIJUANA (and other Hallucinogens)

Many believe that marijuana is “natural” and therefore a fairly benign drug. However, this is a myth. After all, almost all of the major drugs of abuse come from natural plants. Alcohol is made from fermented fruit; cocaine comes from the coca leaf, and heroin from the opium poppy. All of those substances have proven themselves to be anything but benign. Marijuana has too.

Due to the lack of awareness about marijuana being addictive, it is no surprise that marijuana withdrawal is also misunderstood. Symptoms of withdrawal from marijuana include: irritability, anxiety, physical tension, decrease in appetite and mood, stomach pain, restlessness, anorexia (lack of appetite), insomnia, increased aggression/anger, and strange dreams. Withdrawal symptoms can last for a period of 45 days or longer.

OPIODS/OPIATES/NARCOTICS (including Methadone)

The actual withdrawal from all opiates is similar; however, the time it takes for the toughest symptoms to begin depends on how short-acting or long-acting the drug is. An opiate like Fentanyl is short-acting and leaves the body faster, so withdrawals should begin 8-16 hours after the last dose, whereas Methadone withdrawal is delayed due to the fact that Methadone is a long-acting drug. Since opiates work on changing our perception of our pain, the withdrawal from opiates will lead to an increased perception of pain, flu-like symptoms, anxiety, craving, muscle twitches and leg cramps, and insomnia.

For a complete list and explanation of withdrawal symptoms, click these links below:

Alcohol withdrawal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_withdrawal_syndrome

Note: Withdrawal from alcohol or sedatives can cause serious complications or death, so it is best if a person addicted to these substances seeks medical assistance with detox.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzodiazepine_withdrawal_syndrome

Methadone withdrawal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methadone_withdrawal_symptoms#Withdrawal_symptoms

POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL:

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are the symptoms that begin after acute withdrawal (or, after the initial more intense withdrawal symptoms subside). Post-acute withdrawal symptoms include: mood swings, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, variable energy, low enthusiasm, variable concentration, disturbed sleep, muscle spasms and soreness, and depression. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last 2 years or longer.

I’ve created a list of a variety of different ways to cope with post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Click here to see it: post-acute withdrawal coping[1]

Responses

  1. It really helps to know the facts … thank you!

  2. I’m very happy that I read your blog. Hopefully you still monitor it. I am recovering from MJ withdrawal and am on day 89. The acute withdrawal symptoms that you referred to happened around a month and a half from when I quit. They were horrific. I smoked medical marijuana for upwards of a year prior and random weed for 20 years before I moved to Oakland. The headaches for the from days 45 to about 75 were horrific and seemed to not have an end. The symptoms all came in waves. I am no on day 89 and 2 days ago I started becoming very depressed. It comes and goes. one day it lasted the entire day. Sunday. I had a panic attack earlier and am very scared. I am seeing a therapist and am going to regular Marijuana Anonymous meetings. I dont have a sponsor yet. My doctor stated that it takes 30 days for the weed to leave my urine, 90 days to leave my blood and upwards of 1-2 years to leave my fatty tissue. He stated that the reason that the acute symptoms came so late was because this is around the time most left urine and blood. Confusing considering the timeframes. I am now incredibly worried. Part of recovery I guess. The days seem to go by soooo slowly and it seems like an eternity for this to finally end. I reallllly hope this all gets better because this is what worries me the most. I am sleeping again and my headaches are gone. That is definitley progress, but now I am just as worried about this damn depression. Any help or counseling or advice would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thank you again!

    Ru

    • Ru,

      First of all, a big congratulations to you for making it this far and doing what you need to do for yourself and your recovery by following good advice. I’m glad to hear that you are attending meetings, seeing a therapist, and taking things one day at a time. It sounds like it hasn’t been easy, but you’ve made it a good long time now (90 days is quite an accomplishment – seriously!). Each passing day gets you closer and closer to feeling better and better. I know that the symptoms come and go, but if you stick with it, eventually the symptoms will be much more manageable. Getting a sponsor should help a lot as well. You’ll need the daily encouragement and reinforcement for what you are doing and the connection with someone who will be able to provide you some direction when you need it. A sponsor might be able to give you some suggestions that instantly help you feel better and invest in your recovery in the right ways.

      One thing to consider is that you have been using for a long time – you said 20+ years. It will take your body and your brain a long time to “forget” the substance – physically, emotionally, subconsciously (but not as long as you were using, thank goodness! The body has an amazing ability to recover quickly). You are going through a process of re-training your brain to NOT have something it desperately wants and thinks is key to survival. Addiction = survival to the brain, and it has become a natural, automatic DRIVE. After 20 years of use, it is likely that MJ use was a big part of your every day life. Now your brain and your body are both in shock and will do whatever they can to get you using again – including plaguing you with symptoms that make you miserable.

      Many people think detox lasts 1 week (give or take a few days) and then you are good to go, but detox is a process that can take months – sometimes 1 year or longer – and even then, you can still experience craving states that can lead to a return of what can feel like withdrawal symptoms all over again. The process of detox is more than physical – it is emotional, mental, and spiritual as well. So, people who have been using can’t expect to physically detox and ignore the rest and be successful (not that you are – you obviously are doing the right things). This is why the 12-step program helps so much…because it addresses all of the other aspects of the recovery process too.

      I guess I would ask you to think about: When are your current symptoms the worst? Certain times of day? At certain places? Around certain people? Think back to when you were using and consider whether you are being triggered by times of day, places, people, etc. A sponsor could help you to better explore what might be going on with regard to the depression. Depression is a major aspect of all withdrawal, but especially marijuana withdrawal. Consider that your brain has been bombarded with that extra dose of dopamine on a regular basis when you were using. Now it doesn’t have that and it is depleted of dopamine. This is where the depression comes from. I would recommend doing all you can right now to try to stay busy, involve yourself in activities that you enjoy (some old/new hobbies maybe?), exercise can really help, being around positive people. I would definitely avoid isolating yourself.

      Thanks for the post. Continue to post on here and maybe others will join in to give you some feedback. You never know who YOU will help simply by sharing your story.

      I wish you the best in your continued recovery…

  3. Thank you soooo much for your words… They mean more than you will EVER imagine! I will read them over and over when my mind plays tricks on me and hopefully I can feel like I feel right now. You are so right about everything you said. I have noticed that winning over one’s mind is an absolutely incredible feat because you are going neck and neck with something that knows every single thing about you and how to fool you into succumbing to the pain. I hope this made sense. I will definitely keep you posted and will definitely let the online community that is desperately searching for help know about this. And believe me.. There are A LOT! God bless you

    • Winning over one’s mind is only done by DOING something, not thinking something. As we say in the program: Recovery is not a “thinking” thing, it is a “doing” thing. So many try just to think differently about it (where has that gotten you in the past?), but that’s not an active pursuit of recovery. Think about all of the ways you actively pursued your addiction – yes, a lot of it involved thinking (planning, lying, trying to figure out ways to get and use), but much of it was actively seeking out the substance, physically experiencing, physically recovering or withdrawing and then repeating the cycle. Think about the lengths you would go to in order to make sure you used the substance every day. Recovery is going to be similar but in a positive direction: thinking differently (untraining your brain from addictive thinking to recovery thinking – which will take a lot of help, by the way), but also actively participating in 12-step meetings, picking up a phone and calling a sponsor, getting out of the house to exercise or hang out with positive friends, taking necessary steps to better yourself and your life rather than sitting still – going great lengths to stay on a healthy path. As we also say: put as much effort into your recovery as you put into using and you will do well in your recovery! The process of recovery takes a lot of hard work – and most of us want it to come too easily. Nothing good comes easy – and the difficult lessons you’ll learn along the way will strengthen you for the rest of your life. The irony of addiction is that you end up being plagued with the very symptoms that you were attempting to avoid by using in the first place. The irony of recovery is that you have to work really hard at it up front – but it definitely becomes the easier road in the long run. Most addicts want what they want and they want it NOW! They want instant gratification – that’s why substance use is appealing: I use a substance and it instantly changes how I feel. What can be so hard about recovery is that now you are working hard for delayed gratification: I’m really suffering today, but I know if I keep working hard, it will lead to health and happiness eventually. That’s really hard to deal with – especially for an addict seeking an instant fix – but a life of addiction only leads to inevitable long-term suffering – and a life of recovery (if you put the necessary effort in) will lead to a healthy/happy way of life for the long-term (as long as you keep up the good work).

      Stick with it – you’ll get there…one step, one day at a time. Just as addiction trained you over time for a life of addictive behaviors, recovery is a process of training you for a life of recovery-focused behaviors. It takes time and effort – and you can’t do it alone. The process of recovering is as much a part of the learning as anything – and you are on your journey, your process has started. Keep it up!

      • Your message was very inspiring. The past couple weeks I have felt the lowest I’ve ever felt, to me this is worst than the acute symptoms. I’ve been feeling like I’m going crazy because of the depression/severe anxiety. Also evetytime I find an article about withdrawal they say the post acute are only psychological so I’ve gotten discouraged because in a week I’ll be at two months detoxing from 90mg liquid methadone dose per day. Although the physical symptoms are not as strong as before they are definitely still there and with the psychological symptoms now factoring in as well it has gotten extremely difficult to cope. I do not know how to cope with any kind of stress anymore. Just finding something to wear can make me agitated and have panic attacks because of the physical weakness I’ve been dealing with. I’m here not to put discourage but to encourage anyone who wants to quite methadone to please do it with a doctor and taper down. The reason my withdrawals have been so severe is because I cut myself off cold Turkey if I would’ve known at the time how dangerous this can be I would not have done it. I’m 23 and I didn’t have anyone around to tell me I shouldn’t do this alone. Thank God I have my friend Daniel, he has helped me through all of this. I still don’t have intense cravings, but it scares me to think it Will happen. Your words have lifted my spirits and I will definitely be saving this page to look at later if or when it does happen. I wanted to thank you for posting this. If anyone going through methadone withdrawal has any questions about any symptoms or anything like that feel free to ask. I’ve noticed there are symptoms I’ve encountered that no one has talked about like excessive saliva, hallucinations other than visual and auditory, headaches that last all day, fear of leaving the house and some others. Everyones body reacts differently and I believe there are many symptoms people don’t know about because they are no as common. The hardest part for me has been feeling like no one understands, so just know there are people who understand and your not alone. Do what I do try to keep reminding yourself that it won’t last forever.

        Thanks to all of your who are here Giving support , advice, and hope. You mean the world to people going through this.

        -Britt

      • Recovery is active, not passive.
        Good post.

      • Hi, I’m no expert in medication, or how other people view the world, but I am an expert in me and how I feel and view the world. I am 40 days clean from major opiate addiction. Dihydrocodeine 30mg tablets. I was prescribed 10 years ago and it was my missing puzzle piece. I also am treated for depression. Inevitable outcome I suppose. I was taking about 24 tablets a day just to cope with life. I hid this from my wife, my family and in truth, myself. What I’ve learned about myself is that my behaviour was obviously to satisfy a void or a basic need of some sort. In a way it gave me a sense of control. I could control my mood, emotions and outlook with a tablet, or 24. Now that void or need still needs met, but I have to do it in a way that’s sustainable and constructive. Now that I understand that it’s not a moral failing, or a disease or just my personality, it was learned behaviour to manage emotions I didn’t know how to deal with. Now, remember, I’m not preaching, or saying this is the same for everyone, people are diverse and complex, this is my truth, it might resonate with some. I’m not out the woods, bit I’ve come a long way and the trees are clearing, if I can be as bold as to offer any advice, it would be understand yourself, re-examine what makes you tick, look for thought patterns and subsequent behaviour. I’m not saying this is easy, it’s fucking horrendous, but it is possible, it really is up to you. I needed to want this with every fibre of my being and soul, not for my family but for me, the rest is sprinkles on top. I have huge respect to anyone trying this, it takes immense courage, and if you fail, try again, and again. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s doing it even though its terrifying. Good luck, your never alone, when it gets unbearable, remember someone else has felt how u feel and got through it, it does get better, there is hope, sacrifice today for tomorrow and beyond. No one would stay clean if it was shit on the other side… S.

    • Thank you so much for posting, I am still struggling, which means I’m still smoking. It’s not fun but I tried stopping and I immediately was having horrible escalating anxiety that I couldn’t bear. I’m not sure what to do about that.

  4. By the way, steady health.com has a lot of forums about this. The best one I found was “marijuana recovery length.”

  5. I feel like you really know what I am going through. Genuinely. The paranoia that I will feel like this forever is constantly there and I am constantly fighting it. My wife has been my rock. She has been there with me through the hardest days and says she will be there for me through it all. I sometimes push her away because she doesn’t deserve to go through this and doesn’t deserve the fear she had when we had no idea what was happening to me.
    I go out as much as possible. I try to do things with her as much as possible. It is very very hard to suck it up, smile and to do things. All I want to do is curl up in my bed and wait til I either die or recover, but like you said, that is not the way. I moved to Oakland and decided to quit mj. When I think about it, it’s crazy cause it’s 10 times more potent out here and LEGAL! It’s like a mouse moving to Wisconsin to give up cheese. Medical marijuana is a different ball game. Especially when one has access to it 24/7.
    God, why did the withdrawal hit me like this??!! And for this long?!! My choice, my pain. Like I said, I am determined to make it through this. I NEVER EVER EVER EVER want to have any of this “innocent” plant again.
    For anyone that doesn’t believe this, I don’t care. My truth is my truth… My experience is reality to me. Enough of this stuff and anyone will be in the same sinking boat.

    Ru

    • Re: moving to Oakland where MJ is legal – now you know how alcoholics feel! 🙂

      Re: your comments about “my choice, my pain” – I think it would really help you to continue to educate yourself about addiction as a disease. I’m sensing that you feel ashamed – like you should not have this disease. Based on my experience, shame is a form of denial. I’ll try to explain what I mean – it is a little complicated, so stick with me. Feeling ashamed of yourself is your denial of the fact that addiction is a disease and you had no control over the illness, nor did you have control over how the illness effected you & those around you. Instead, if you accepted it fully as a disease, you would be saying, “I had no control and it isn’t my fault – but I understand now that it is an illness that I must come to grips with and treat on a daily basis to make sure it stays in remission.” You are not at fault, but you are now responsible for taking care of it. That first part (not being at fault) is typically very hard for addicts and their families to accept. Everyone wants someone to blame…somewhere or someone on whom they can focus their emotion (usually anger but mainly what is behind that is a lot of hurt).

      The best thing that I can compare addiction to is Diabetes. If you were diabetic and had been diagnosed with diabetes, would you say, “my choice, my pain”? Addiction, in many ways, is just like diabetes – it is a chronic, biological illness that requires daily management or it will lead to negative consequences. Addiction has become a drive, not a choice. And, the sooner you begin to fully accept that it is a disease, the better off you will be. Not fully accepting it as a disease – or struggling to fully understand the disease – will keep you feeling ashamed for what you’ve “done” to yourself, when, in all actuality, you happen to have a genetic predisposition to addiction and your brain happens to react in a different way to MJ than someone else’s brain does – someone else who doesn’t have the genetic predisposition to developing addiction problems. You aren’t responsible for how you are made – but you are responsible for what you do for your recovery from here on out.

      Every disease is an interaction between the genes and the environment. Again, diabetes type II, is a good example. If you know you have a family history of type II diabetes, your doctor can recommend: “eat a healthy diet and keep your weight within certain limits, and you won’t develop type II diabetes” – you can avoid developing the disease by taking certain precautions. This is just like someone who has a family history of addiction or alcoholism – they need to avoid using substances to avoid developing the disease. Is the diabetic responsible for their health issue? In some ways we can say, yes (and if you study up on food addiction and the drive for pleasure that is there just like with substances – then you might even see obesity in a different light) – they should have taken the right precautions to avoid developing the disease. But do we shame them into thinking they are immoral because they have now developed diabetes? Do we deny them love, care, etc? No. We educate them about their illness and they are now responsible for taking certain steps every day to manage their illness. They must now make healthy food choices, exercise, learn about blood sugar levels (what is a high level vs low, what do I do when it is high vs low, etc), engage in treatment when necessary, learn how to cope with stress so that they aren’t triggered to engage in unhealthy behaviors that might have a negative impact on their illness, etc. It is very similar. The exact same thing is true for other diseases: cancer, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. There is an interaction between the genes and the environment that causes the illness and in order to stabalize the disease, education and action is required. Read the section “A drive, not a choice” on the site – it talks about how this drive is connected to survival; it explains the “stop-go” system and how addiction hijacks this part of the brain. This will continue to reinforce the idea that you don’t need to be ashamed of this – it is not your fault – Addiction is not WHO YOU ARE, it is WHAT YOU HAVE. There are other resources listed on the resources page that would really be educational as well.

      The only other thing I will say in response to your comments today is: your wife cannot be your rock all of the time. She needs to be her own rock. She must also get as educated about this as you will. She will need her own recovery program. Have her read the “for family/friends” section on the site. It could negatively impact your recovery if she continues to be your “rock” – although I’m sure she loves you and wants to be there for you right now. There are certain behaviors that family members exhibit that help the addict stay sick and stay stuck – both when they are using and when they get into recovery. She’s got to make sure that she is not doing any of those things…and you’ve got to make sure that you are able to recover with or without your wife. Also, she has to accept that whether you stay in recovery or not, she’ll be okay and be able to engage in healthy coping behaviors herself when you do struggle. It is a very difficult dynamic to be involved in a relationship with someone who has been using and to stick with them through the transformation that occurs with recovery. Most couples need a lot of help with it. I can imagine that you two are no different.

      Keep up the good work!

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  7. I’m reducing from 75mcg fentanyl patches to 50 (6 days), 25 (6 days), 12.5 (6 days), then nothing. I start on the 25 mcg tomorrow. Even going to 50mcg I’m experiencing overwhelming anxiety and a strong feeling that something bad is going to happen to me. I was prescribed the patches for the last 4 years for failed lumbar fusion surgery, degenerative disc disease, and various joint issues including a knee replacement with another on the horizon. The patches were interfering with my clarity at work and I wanted to try to make it without them. I never felt a sense of euphoria with the patches and the pain relief was noticeable but not complete. Will I still experience the same withdrawal symptoms in intensity and duration?
    Thanks so much for your help.

    • You indicate that you never felt a sense of euphoria – just to clarify, this does not mean that you were not “addicted”. It sounds like you were physically dependent vs abusing the patches. Physically dependent just means that you experience withdrawal when the patch was reduced or not there. The difference with someone who is an “addict” is that they would seek out more and more due to an increased tolerance and need for higher amounts to achieve the desired effect (whether it was pain relief or “euphoria”).

      My guess is that you will continue to experience the symptoms you describe – however, in time these symptoms should improve. How much time it will take depends on quite a few factors: how long you’ve been using the patches, your age, your health status, other medications you might be taking, etc. So, that makes it quite difficult to predict. However, because you are slowly tapering off, the symptoms should be reduced (vs quitting “cold turkey”) but for a prolongued period. After your last day on the 12.5, you will probably still experience symptoms for a while. By the 90 day mark, you should be in good shape…and the symptoms should lessen more and more with each passing day (but they can be up and down).

  8. Heyy man thanks for the blog , I smoked weed for 6 months on and off butt wen i had weed id alwayz be high weeks at a time , the last time i went off i was off it for like two weeks and i went into withdrawal without noticing. Im 15 i went through depression ,anxiety,panic attacks wich i still get wen i get nervous or something , low apetite , i had 1 night sweat , crazy dreams , and i just seemed to not care about anything i was like an emotionless zombie , well i was clean for a month but then i smoked the next 2 dayz in the afternoon then i felt normal for like a week and a half but then i got hit with major and anxiety wich made my brain have bad thoughts it also happened last time i went clean , well now my brain is like alwayz thinking and i have this weird tingly feeling in my head and it goes away wen im distracted , my memory isnt as good and i dont enjoy things the way i use to , im on day 33 clean i hope.you reply cuzz i alwayz get random thoughts , well thank for the blog i hope you reply.
    sincerely Andrew

    • Andrew, stick with it! It can take a good while before you are symptom free….but the more clean time you get, the better your symptoms will get. I hope you are doing well!

      • Day 70 ive had one mild hallucination i saw a very faded face glide out of the left to the middle of my eyes then it dissapeared , my vision sometimes sees like sploches and i might see things move in my vision like in the corners, i still think but not as much , i tend to wake up sleepy and REALY TIRED , I still have a bit of anxiety , i have like NO apetite at all , not as delusional compared to month 2 , tell me wat you think please , again thanks for the blog ,ohhh
        and sometimes i have this weird
        feeling like nothing is real and it sukks and i cant concentrate on music , so yea tell me wat u think , Andrew

    • Hey Andrew. My experience is that the symptoms go and come back in waves. Only time heals. You HAVE TO BE POSITIVE no matter how hard it is!! This will pass, I promise. Being so young you should stop and not start again because your brain is still developing and you don’t want to cause permanent damage. I can’t imagine being your age and dealing with constant depression and panic. Stay off the weed and enjoy your life bro!!! Trust me! I just went through the toughest 5 months of my life and I’m 35. The longer you smoke the harder it will be to deal with when you quit in the future. I think you’ll be ok but you may seem help. Tell someone you trust that you have an issue so they can support you. At the end of the day you have to WANT to stop for yourself.

      • Thanks for those words of support Ru , and that unreality feeling has weakened but wen i play soccer it like comes back but i try not thinking about it , other then that im just a bit delusional , again thanks man really helps

  9. Day 86 i sometimes scramble my words and sometimes my short term memory is bad but it has improved a bit , i still dont get the urge to eat or sleep that much but i still do , i take a multi vitamin extra vitamin c and omega 3 supplement and ive been going to a counsler for about 2 months , i still wake up kinda tired , i feel normal but all that is keeping me from being 100% again , well wen i kiss my gf it just feels bland (3 months its been like that since withdrawal)not good like it use to :/ my brain still thinks alot kinda, ohh and sometimes i have to think.of a word to finish my sentences :/ so yea tell me wat u think guys and thanks

    • Andrew,
      Those seem like classic withdrawal symptoms. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you SHOULD be over the withdrawals already because honestly there are ZERO clear-cut answers to how long it will take and everyone responds soooo differently.
      My withdrawal which is still happening and I’m at 6 months is light years away from how I felt in the first two months. But it has been a loooooooooooonnggg, slooowwwwwwwww and painful process. You DO see progress, so you ARE returning to your old self 🙂 things that were exciting and interesting while you were on weed may not seem so now because your seratonin and dopamine levels are trying to balance themselves out again. I’ve read soooo much on the subject and have been through sooo much in the past 6 month that I feel I have to share this knowledge with others. I too have been seeing a therapist and this has worked wonders with my depression, anxiety and over all understanding of what I am up against. This Dopamine Dialogues blog has been an absolutely amazing and vital resource for me. I don’t know who the moderator is. But he/she got me through an incredibly hard time not too long ago, whether they know it or not. Just read the previous posts.
      I am amazed that someone as young as you has the maturity and will power to understand and fight something that I couldn’t until I reached the age of 35. On the other hand, your mind is still developing and it is absolutely crucial for you to stop smoking and stick to it. CRUCIAL!!! If you are going through it this bad after only 6 months of use, imagine trying to stop after 20 years of daily habitual use! You DO NOT want to go through this. Lastly on the thinking issues you are having. Those will pass. I was sooooo out of it mentally for the first 4 months that my wife was terrified that I had permanently screwed my brain up. This week I reached a milestone in my recovery. The brain fog lifted and I feel an incredible clarity. It will happen to you to, but you have to stay off the weed. I promise!
      Hope to hear from you soon young brother! And congratulations on your milestone. You are a true inspiration to me.

      Ru

      • Great response Ru. You are so right about withdrawal continuing for a long time…and it is different for everyone. I worked in detox for 5 years and worked hard to educate patients about what we call post-acute withdrawal. So many patients had the idea that all they needed to do was “detox” – meaning, all they needed was to check into the hospital for a few days and they’d be good to go. That is one major misconception. When you are in the first few days of withdrawal, it is ACUTE, meaning the symptoms are most severe. But, after that, it is called post-acute withdrawal…because it is still going on, but not as severe. However, the symptoms and how long they last can really vary per person, depending on the substance used, their health issues, their age, their level of use, etc. Some symptoms can be pretty long lasting and even return at times after you think they should be over with. See the section at the bottom of the WITHDRAWAL page on the blog. There is a link to a helpful worksheet titled POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL COPING.

        It makes my day to hear that the Dopamine Dialogue blog has helped you. My intention when I developed it was for it to actually be a dialogue between people with the disease and their families/friends. By writing the response you’ve written here, you are actually fulfilling that intention – so I THANK YOU.

        Andrew – keep hanging in there! You are doing it!

        🙂

  10. Today I reached my 6 month milestone. It has been quite a journey. My ups and downs were so pronounced that it felt as though I was on a Six Flags super roller coaster. Now I feel like I’m on a kiddie coaster. I am not out of the woods yet, but I definitely see a light at the end of the tunnel. It hurts just to think about the first 5 months and how gut-wrenchingly difficult they were. I literally did not think that I would EVER get better. I obsessed repeatedly about what I did to myself and regretted ever smoking marijuana. Progress was so slow that it absolutely seemed non-existent. At first I had no idea that I was going through THC withdrawal. I felt as if I had a brain tumor or some horrible disease. It didn’t matter if anyone told me otherwise, because my mind was not going to listen. My sense of humor, my intelligence, my reasoning skills and my smile were literally gone for 2 months. It was incredible how badly I wanted something so seemingly minute like enjoying a nice walk through the park with my wife, to return.

    The mind is such a powerful thing.

    I remember when the moderator of this blog mentioned that we have to mobilize and do things differently, not just sit there and try to think differently. This is what I did. No matter how f#$@ing difficult it got.
    It took me 6 months to be able to sit here, write and appreciate the pain I just went through. God, I never thought the day would come when I would say that. I know it may return, but because of it I know I will never, ever, ever return to marijuana.

    Marijuana Anonymous, my wife, my guardian angel therapist ( who is a recovering pothead as well) and Dopamine Dialogues helped me through the storm… And for this I will be eternally grateful. God bless

  11. Day 91 , ru congrats on 6 months of bring sober , my 3 months was yesterday and i want to ask you how was ur vision cuzz my vision kinda sukks there a very thin fogg and sometimes i see lil moving things that r in my vision like lil particles moving or sometimes a color sploch , and my brain thinks about random stuff wen im doing school work , and i zone out and stare alot , yupp thats pretty much it , thanks for you guyz taking ur time to help me i apreciate it thanks alot
    Andrew

  12. Hey Andrew. Congratulations on the milestone! For most 91 days is a big accomplishment, but at your age it’s an incredible accomplishment. Stick with it.

    Concerning the vision issues: This is common for those suffering from acute or post acute withdrawal. In my 6 months I’ve come across alot of folks that dealt with blurred vision. I too had it for a bit. I can’t tell you how long it will last because like I mentioned before, everyone is different. Just monitor it and make sure it’s not getting worse. If it worries you too much just pay a visit to the doctor and tell him you are having some blurry vision. Don’t tell him/her you’re withdrawing from mj so that he just generally checks. If he/she says nothing is wrong then you can be assured that it’s the withdrawals and you can also be assured that it’ll go away if you stick to your recovery plan.

    As for the paying attention at school thing: that could just be you worrying too much about your symptoms or you could simply be bored. Remember that school may not be the most fun activity, but it will certainly payoff in the long run if you try your best to learn. That means try to pay attention. My mind goes off on it’s own at times too, but I am mindful of this and have to train my mind to come back and pay attention to the matter at hand.
    Sounds like overall you’re doing great lil brother! Keep it up!!!!
    Hope this helps!

    • Thanks Ru , i have one more question , wen did you start feeling plesure again ??

    • Thanks Ru , I have one more question wen did ur dopamine restart or started feeling pleasure again ?

    • RU i m on day 87..i have hell dp dr hell evening time its hell man

      do had DP DR ever? i feel like i m in dream 24 hours*
      help

  13. Pleasure as in happiness? It was sporadic. It took a while. Maybe 4 months. You have to make sure that you do things you like to do. You may not enjoy them fully right away, but it’ll come. Get up and do fun stuff no matter how tough it is to get motivated. You need it and you deserve it.

    • Like kissing and stuff, yea i laugh more now so i dont really worry about that xp

  14. Well that’s complicated Andrew. I don’t think your body just stopped producing dopamine if you are already feeling different kinds of pleasure like laughing. In reference to the kissing thing, it may be the withdrawal, but it may also be the person your kissing lol. Don’t worry too much about that though. It’ll return. Just the fact that you want to kiss someone indicates that you’re doing ok 🙂

    • Research shows that natural dopamine levels start improving again as soon as the substances are no longer being used. 90 days of clean time is a good period of time and individuals working recovery should start to feel a difference in their mental/emotional state by that 90 day mark. But, because everyone’s use level is different and brain chemistries are different, this can vary. I guess the best answer is, with time it will happen!

  15. The day after my 6 month anniversary, I felt pretty horrible. Loss of motivation, tired and mild headache. Got home after work and just wanted to go to sleep. Last week it was the opposite. What in the world?! Roller coaster ride! For no apparent reason this happened. I have to expect these symptoms to return during PAWS, from what I’ve read. It is sooooo hard because I finally feel pretty good and I am hoping to God that it’s finally over, then BAM. I have to.. Have to stay positive no matter how I feel! It’s soooooooo hard! If this is the price for being clean & sober then here’s my Platinum Visa!
    Tonight I have my therapy appointment. My doctor is from Berkeley and a recovering pothead. He went through it 10 years ago and has been my guardian angel. Talking to him always makes me feel better.

    • Ayy Ru did you ever have any pyscochsis episodes ?? Or is some part of paws ??

  16. I definitely think it’s PAWS. Sucks badddd! No psychosis I believe. My therapist would’ve noticed.

    • So it didnt happen to you ??

      • Andrew, describe what you mean by psychosis. It definitely can happen that people have some symptoms of psychosis in withdrawal (especially with marijuana and definitely with synthetic marijuana). I would be able to respond better if I knew exactly what types of symptoms you had experienced.

  17. Hey Andrew, I’m not sure what you mean but the word psychosis was never brought up during my therapy sessions. I did, however, have some episodes of depersonalization and brain fog. Not sure if this is related to what you are referring to.
    Stay strong brother!

    • It was wen i had those feelings of unreality , my vision saw everything like weird , it felt like nothing was real , and im scared i might be getting schizophrenia so im going to a metal hospital as we speak :”( i was scared wen i had those feelings and i was kinda delusional , and lately ive been getting weird sensations in my head in different parts at random times, just like at the end of the first month

  18. I would stick it out a lil longer. It may pass, but only you know if you need professional help. Good luck to you bro and keep in touch!!

  19. Hi Andrew, I hope all is well buddy. I’m worried about you. Please reach out to me so I know you’re ok. I don’t know what time zone your in, but I’m in the US on California time. Keep in touch. You are going to be ok lil bro!!!! Just keep positive!! I have a hard time doing that myself, but it’s the only way to get through this!!

    Ru

  20. Andrew sorry I forgot to add that now I remember that I did have these super weird feelings in my head some months back. Felt really really weird. Didn’t hurt or anything but just different sensations. I though I was going crazy.

    • Heyy Ru im ok for now , is it normal to have a mild hallucination wen ur tired like wen i use to wake up REALLY TIRED with like NO ENERGY ??

  21. He Andrew, good to know that you’re ok. It’s very tough for me to determine what is ok and what is not. What do you mean by mild hallucination?
    I am not a doctor, so I can necessarily tell you that something is normal or not. I do know that people have been through this stuff after detoxing from marijuana and during the PAWS stage. Google: uncommon forum, biggiesize. This guy went through several of your issues and although it tool quite some time, he returned to his normal self.
    The stuff we are going through is very scary at times. I believe you should find a support group or addiction therapist as soon as possible so they can give you more answers about what you are going through. We have Marijuana Anonymous groups in my area. I don’t know if they are in your neck of the woods, but I’d look them up. #1 thing to do is stay off the weed. My doctor told me that if I were to relapse and smoke again, I may spiral into psychosis. Just be careful and stay off.
    Ru

  22. Andrew,

    If you think about what your brain has been through, it may make a little more sense. Your brain chemistry is still recovering from being bombarded with a chemical over a long period of time. Luckily, it won’t take as long to recover as it did for your disease to progress to the point it had gotten to. But, it may help me understand more if you can tell me how much you were using, exactly what you were using, and for how long exactly. Were you using anything else besides MJ? Also, substances you buy on the street can contain a variety of chemicals – so that can factor in as well. Also, if you are taking any medications right now (prescribed or not, addictive or non-addictive), they can potentially have a role in this.

    If you think about it – sometimes people have hallucinations with severe sleep deprivation – so it isn’t that outrageous to think that depriving your brain of these chemicals it is used to having would cause some hallucinations as well.

  23. I smoked streetweed , and i smoked for 6 months , 4 months on and off i smoked wenever possible , and i smoked more the last 2 months , 2 bowls everytime , if i woke up in the middle of the night i would smoke , and around the midfle of june to the end of june it would be hard to sleep so i would end up sleeping at 2 or 3 and wake up at 11 and have NO ENERGY i was just REALLY TIRED , and thats wen i had those mild hallucinations , i was probobly awake for 5 or 10 mints wen it first happened , it also happened before wen i worked i slept at the same time but got up at 6 and be just half asleep i lookt at the sky i saw like skinny tree outlines until my eyes focused and it was just the sky , Ru wat was that other guys symptoms ??

  24. This is the forum I’ve read that helped me a bit : http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=67756

    Although I think u get much better and detailed info on this blog. Use Biggiesize testimonial as an experience that one had. Long term, but has a happy ending 🙂

    Ru

    • Ru did he have any mild hallucinations ?

  25. I believe a lot of people have. Everyone gets different symptoms. Some worse that others. Some people’s symptoms also last a long longer than others. I suggest you find a support group and therapist that can help you through this tough time.

    • Can my anxiety of paws be getting to me ?? Can it be im in a paws episode ??

  26. One thing I can tell you Andrew is that it is very very likely. I get episodes that I have pretty extreme OCD and I worry about every single little thing. I still get them even 6 months in but I am now able to identify them like you are doing now. Ive been certain that I was going to have headaches for the rest of my life. Ive been certain that the brain fog was permanent. Ive been certain that I permanently damaged my brain and would be a nervous wreck forever. Fact is that we are getting episodes and our brains at times plays horrible tricks on us. My brain, for instance, makes it impossible for me to see that I’ve made ANY progress at all even though it is obvious I have. I have very good days and very bad days. The good days are starting to come a lot more often now. THANK GOD!! But I am far from out of the wood. You could be 100% when you get to 6 months, but then again you can still be struggling somewhat. You will however make it out just fine. Unfortunately we have to adjust to this new lifestyle and it does not come easy for you and I. Many people will tell you that this cannot be mj withdrawal. There is so much ignorance around this addiction that it makes the detox and paws that much scarier. It is probably not a coincidence that you and I have very similar symptoms right when we quit cold turkey. My therapist is an absolute god send to me in this situation. He had been in the same situation and swears to me that my situation is no different than countless other people he’s treated. He knows that I am making great progress and that I will fully recover. Unfortunately. It is going to take a long time. Recovery from weed is so slow that you barely notice it. Seeing it from the outside my wife definitely notices. She can’t believe how far I’ve come.
    Andrew, this has been THE MOST scary thing Ive dealt with in my life! I can imagine how you feel about it.
    Yes, it sounds like classic PAWS. Read this next quote in c&p here and live by it!!

    “Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are a sign that your brain is recovering.

    They are the result of your brain chemistry gradually going back to normal.

    Therefore don’t resent them.

    Go with the flow. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable.

    But the more you resent them the worse they’ll seem.

    Be good to yourself. That is what most addicts can’t do,

    and that’s what you must learn in recovery.

    Recovery is the opposite of addiction.”
    Proud of you Andrew! Keep it up. Many said it would be easy to quit MJ, but you are seeing first hand that it’s not. Hopefully this experience will keep you away from that poison for life.

    Ru

    • Is anhedonia a post acute symptom ?

      • Yes. Anhedonia is the lack of ability to feel pleasure. It is definitely a symptom of post acute withdrawal. Over time, pleasure slowly comes back though! Just takes time and recovery effort.

  27. Im at the 11 month sobriety mark of a seven year opiate addiction. The last few years were such high doeses i would throw up sometimes. Wake up call was my bf of 13 years overdosed on oxy and adderal. The amount we would take of opiates just to get out of bed was to snort at least four 15mg oxy or five of the 20mg OCs. He took double that easily. That was just to get up and out of bed so ill leave the actual amount each day to your imagination. Anyway, he overdosed the day before his birthday. He had over 360mg of OC and two hundred and something mg of adderal. I am sure i was close to the same, my heart just didn’t stop before his thank god. I am wondering when the post acute systems will slow or end… i can sleep most of the time but still have insomnia, i still get rest less legs and body pains, but the worst is mental. I retried antidepressants… that made things really bad. I cried ALL the time and I really got into natural medicine aka, vitamins and sam-e and fish oil,magnesium, vit b, vit d and l-tyrosine with l-aspartic. I started with them three times a day when i first came off opiates, and now i take sam-e two to three times a day but the reg vitamins once a day now. I have these bouts now of severe agression, paranoia, cry a lot still and depression with bad suicial thoughts n even partial actions…. like lets see how many of the 50 mg diphenhydramine i can take and possibly not wake up or at least stop breathing. I love my pets ive had for many years and i love my bf even when he had hurt me recently needing to get out of the house no matter who it was with, which i understand after six months in bed recovering and three more in partial recovery. I just need to know if anyone’s experienced this or knows how long itll take for my head to get right, or at least some type of doctor… prefer a type of naturopathic that isnt a fake, or even if i need to see a therapist. Id rather it go away on its own, im just getting to a point where im proud of myself, but terrified of what i will say to hurt the ones i love and to physically and mentally continue to hurt myself. Please note this as a success to anyone in recovery or trying to get thru the withdrawals. The physical pain becomes so much more endurable after a few weeks, and the excitement to know u can beat something so few people ever can. Be proud that your conquering something so difficult, not just physical but mental and u can do it, u really can. I didn’t believe so for many years, and it took my strength to help him overcome his addictions or he swears he never would have(plus being the only one strong enough to crawl down two flights of stairs to make meals for us both for months) i am just curious for those who have been this far down the road if there is something i can do to better all those around me and myself. Thank u for taking the time to read this.

    • Lisa,

      First of all, 11 months clean after using at the level you were using and for the amount of time you were using is quite an accomplishment. So, congrats! Please clarify for me, did your boyfriend pass away or is he still alive? If he passed, I’m sorry for your loss. But, if he did not pass, are you still together? If you are still together, is he still using? Lastly, are you “working” any type of program – meaning, do you attend 12-step meetings, celebrate recovery meetings, or have any regular involvement with any spiritual program or addiction disease education? Also, are you taking any other medications?

      The reason I ask these questions is because if you are still engaging in any relationships with people who are using, this can lead to physical cravings that can present themselves as a return of withdrawal symptoms. Cravings are actually very biological in nature. Seeing things visually, hearing sounds, smelling smells, or exposing yourself to environments/people/places that remind you of your use actually can cause a release of dopamine (the pleasure chemical that can also get you high) in the brain and create a physical craving. You can read more about this by clicking on the various tabs of my blog. If you are exposing yourself to these reminder “cues” and having physical cravings (and a return of withdrawal symptoms – leg aches/restlessness, sweats, depression, insomnia), then the best way to fight that is 1. stop exposing yourself to “cues” and 2. work a program by attending meetings or engaging in other “recovery focused” activities. By actively engaging in a recovery program on a regular basis (daily, if possible), you will slowly be able to “re-train” your brain so that these cues no longer lead to cravings. This takes time and a lot of hard work, but it is definitely worth it. In the meantime, you’ll also gain a great number of skills for dealing with daily life struggles that all human beings struggle with – it will help with the mental aspects of recovery that you report struggling with. If you haven’t invested in a recovery program yet, I would strongly encourage you to do so. This disease of addiction is something that took a lot of investment (time, energy, money, etc) to get to this point. The same energy and motivation must now be put towards the recovery process.

      With all of that being said, it is still possible to have a return of symptoms at 11 months clean, but your symptoms should really be at the point where they have substantially subsided and, when they do flair up, they are manageable. The fact that this isn’t really the case led me to write the above paragraph regarding physical cravings and working a recovery program.

      Addiction/recovery is complicated. I would be glad to point you in a clearer direction if I had some answers to the above questions.

  28. Great article and congrats to everyone on their recoveries. I’ve used marijuana off and on for quite some time now. I cant say I’m a chronic pot smoker but I used to smoke heavily for short periods of time. I’ve never felt these types of withdrawals in the past but after this past summer, smoking for a month straight everyday…I definitely went through some very tough days.

    What happened was, I smoked from morning to night..also ate a total of 4 weed cookies throughout the month of May…for the whole month. For the whole month of June, I did not smoke at all and started having these anxiety/panic attacks which would happen only while I was on a treadmill jogging or had some caffiene. During this time I also started experimenting with the prescription drug modafinil but never really over did it, stopped using it quick. In July, I relapsed and smoked a very small bit..in fact, just one small hit..and had a bad high. So since that last bowl, I decided I’m done with marijuana for good. I’m on about day 40 today, I definitely feel better but as soon as I wake in the mornings I’m anxious and filled with worry for no apparent reason..also feel depressed.

    My questions to anyone are:
    How much did I set myself back after I relapsed in July?

    For someone like me who has only started having experiences of withdrawal after only a month straight of smoking, when should I get back to normal?

    I also have stopped drinking anything that has caffeine in it (energy drinks, soda, tea, coffee) will this play a role in what I’m going through at the moment? I used to consume a lot of red bull and coffee..not toxically but just more than I should have been.

    When will PAWS kick in for me? Dont know if it already has.

    I never thought just smoking for one month straight that this would happen to me, I can’t imagine what users who have smoked for years habitually are going through. Take care everyone and thanks for this page, helped a lot.

    • Hi Rawdood,

      First question: what would you consider a “chronic pot smoker”? You say that you don’t consider yourself to be one. I’m challenging you on this because people with substance abuse issues will find ways to fool themselves into thinking that their problem isn’t that bad. I would challenge you to ask yourself: “why do I feel I need to quit this?” Obviously marijuana is causing you some negative consequences – or you wouldn’t be trying to quit. So, my point is…don’t try to categorize your problem. It is a problem, plain and simple. You consistently had this substance in your life and are now attempting to NOT have it in your life – and it is somewhat of a struggle for you. That’s all you need to know. Addiction is a progressive disease. No one starts out as a “junkie”…it happens over time. Every “junkie” out there is a person who once said “my use isn’t that bad” or “at least I’m not as bad as _______” but addiction progressed for them to a point that they couldn’t stop on their own. You may or may not be at some point on that continuum of addiction. The point is that you are trying to quit and are finding it challenging. Just something for you to think about. The reason I’m encouraging you to see it as a problem is because if you minimize it as only a small problem, you are more likely to use again. Whereas, if you treat it more seriously, you are more likely to invest in quitting for good. The disease of addiction has many “built-in” safety mechanisms to ensure that you keep using – one big one is denial.

      “How much did I set myself back after I relapsed in July?”

      First of all, just to be straight…you relapsed when you used the modafinil. That’s a drug just like any other – so you may have stopped the marijuana, but you replaced it with another drug. Ask yourself: did you really have “clean” time if “clean” is defined as not using any substances at all (and not over-using caffeine too)? So, then you have to honestly/realistically look at how long you were consistently using substances to determine what your withdrawal period will potentially look like.

      I wouldn’t see the relapse as a set back. It sounds like it was a really good learning experience for you – and one that may further strengthen your resolve to stick to recovery for good. I would suggest reading the section of this website about relapse. It is a part of the disease – and oftentimes can play a positive role in a person’s recovery process. The best thing to do when a relapse occurs is to get back into recovery ASAP. Keep the period of use as brief as possible and seek help immediately. This will help this recovery period happen faster. I’ve seen patients who were using consistently for years; they sought help and went through that initial hell of withdrawals but stayed clean and sober for say 3-6 months and then had a relapse. They got help right away and got back on the road to recovery. This was a short set-back, but at least it didn’t take them as long to recover from the withdrawals as that initial withdrawal phase when they first sought help. And, in the meantime they learned some important lessons about their disease (that they are still vulnerable to relapse and need to do all they can to stay clean/sober).

      PAWS – or Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms – is just the term used to describe the withdrawals that occur after the most acute symptoms (the worst symptoms) have passed. So, PAWS starts after you stop feeling as miserable as you do when you first quit. I would say, on average, PAWS starts 3-7 days into being clean and can last up to 6 months or more. So, yes, you are probably well into PAWS.

      Good work on quitting caffeine too! But, I will say, as with any substance, the quitting part is EASY…it is “staying quit” that is hard!

      Good luck!

  29. Thanks for replying.

    What I meant by the whole chronic pot smoker bit was that I’d not smoke for months and soon as I get the chance, I’ll smoke for 2 weeks straight..stop again for a few months and the most I’ve smoked ..most recently was this past month of May. That night I relapsed and had a terrible high is when I realized that my substance abuse was a problem..i still feel terrible about it as I type this.

    So PAWS will last that long?? 6 months?? Even at the rate that I smoked?? Man, this is going to be tough. These anxious feelings and worry..and depressed feeling are really taking a toll on me.

    Thank u for your reply sir. I appreciate it.

    • PAWS can last 6 months or longer, but the symptoms should improve slowly over time. So, try not to awfulize the experience but do what you can every day to actively treat the symptoms (exercise, 12-step meetings, counseling, meditation, distraction, relaxation, breathing, ibuprofen, etc).

      Also, feeling shame about your use is normal, but as you educate yourself more about the disease of addiction (and come to understand that this is a genetic, biological brain disease and not personal weakness) that will help you cope with and change that feeling of shame. Coming to acceptance of the illness as a disease will free you from shame. This is key to recovery.

    • Oh, and I am a ma’am not a sir (but don’t call me ma’am, please! Makes me feel old!). 🙂

      • Oops..sorry, lol. Thanks again, downloaded the word doc about paws. Going to try it out.

  30. Hang in there Rawdood! Nothing is certain in this recovery phase except the fact that you cannot relapse. Stay off of it. I am staying off of anything that is mind altering in this phase because I have become super sensitive to anything. One beer and I’m depressed for the next 2 days. It slows down my recovery.
    Yes, the quitting part is easy. Staying off is the hard part. I would even go as far as to say that the PAWS part is even harder that the acute phase because it can be very long term as in my case.

    Hang in there!!!!

    Ru

  31. Ru,
    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I definitely plan on doing the same..not touching anything at all for a very long while. Reading through your posts made feel inspired to stick with it, can’t grasp how it must have been for you..good for you man.

  32. Thanks bro! Means a lot that the info helped! Yeah it’s sooooo hard. The worst I think is the unpredictability. But I can’t go back… I don’t think I can make it through this again. Still struggling, but I know that it has convinced me that my love affair with Mary is finally DONE.

    Always write here when u need help! We are here for u!

    Ru

  33. Rawdood, it may or may not last that long for you. It is very unpredictable. Everyone goes through different experiences with it. Heavy smokers like me can usually expect that much time at minimum. It also depends on how potent the stuff was that you were on. I was on medical stuff for about 6-8 months before I quit cold turkey. It definitely affected you in a bad way if you smoked for such a short period of time. I think it also depends on the level of addiction you have. I was definitely addicted. Couldn’t live without it. It wasn’t always like that, but after some time this is how it ended up. I used to smoke just like you back in the day… Month on month off. Now I have to deal with pretty extreme issues. Dealing with life on it’s own terms, not with drugs.

    • Yea, I’m pretty tripped out about that. I mean I’ve been smoking on and off for years but in the past, throughout doing the month not smoking, month smoking deal..I never got like this..sucks. Last thing I smoked was covered in crystals, pretty much all white. I had that same feeling though, needed to smoke even after months of not smoking, soon as I got home…I’d be dying to get my hands on some asap, calling everyone I know..thinking about it now, I’m kinda scaring myself..as if I were a fiend. Hope you’re right about that though (PAWS), I’ve really only used for a very short period of time, I’m hoping this stops soon..last night was hard.

      • Oh and you know that “covered in all crystals” stuff is high grade. Stay the fuck off that stuff. Actually stay off everything even alcohol til you get better bro. Any mind altering stuff you take in can slow down your recovery.

  34. Haha! I was wondering too! Regardless you are an angel on Earth.

  35. Most people I know that are going through this initially went to the doctor cause they had no idea what was happening. With all the rhetoric about how wonderful weed is, how could it cause sumn so horrible?! Well now we know. I went to the ER and urgent care and they found nothing. Just for piece of mind, if you have the means, go get a physical. Chances are you have “nothing” and the doctor is going to tell you it’s stress.
    You have all the symptoms of addiction bro. Craving and going out of your way to get weed is a sure sign that you are addicted. It will get worse if you don’t permanently stop now.
    What happened last night?
    I actually am on a trip to the East Coast from Cali and the 3 hour time difference has screwed me up bad. During these times it is so critical for me to keep a routine and now it’s thrown off.

    Stay strong bro… Trust me it’s worth it. I’ve heard.

    • I don’t crave anymore, hopefully never again. Lately I’ve been waking up with a feeling of uneasiness..like nervousness/anxiety I guess u can call it that. You feel that at all?? I hate it. Sometimes I feel like my body is hella cold then warm. Mostly anxiety man..pretty anxious/worried/shaky all the time. Is that normal?

      • Rawdood… we need an update. hope everything is good bro!

        Ru

  36. @rawdood waking up with the anxiety is a classic symptom. I don’t get it much anymore but got it a lot the first months. How is going for you now?

  37. Andrew and Rawdood! Hope all is well fellas!! Here is some motivation for you.. Stay strong!

    http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=760755#760755

    • Day 103 well i feel pretty good as of lately not completely normal but im getting there , lately all i pretty much have is alot of constant thinking and not being able to concentrate like on music and stuff, and i still cant feel like pleasure i guess its anhedonia :/ but the blog monitor said it will come back with time so im hopeful 🙂 rawd00d it sounds like classic withdrawal my advice would be to take some supplements to help you out a bit , omega3 ,multivitamin , and since you have have a bad case of anxiety take vitamin B , and get excercise to get ur mind off things , and most of all think positive it is the key to recovering and just hang in there man no matter wat happens stay sober , and ru thanks for ur help , and thanks to the blog monitor for this blog it helped alot 🙂 Andrew

  38. That’s awesome Andrew! And great advice! One thing to keep in mind. My symptoms disappear and come back in waves. I tell you this because when I think I’m finally free it comes back. If I don’t expect this then when it comes back it throws me into absolute despair. It has happened many times. It may not be the same for you, but just in case it comes back hard at times I want you to be prepared and know that it will pass again. The frequency is lessening and the intensity as well. Going head to head with PAWS in as positive a mind state as possible makes such a huge difference. Don’t resent the symptoms. Know that your brain is recovering and it needs some time for you to get back to normal. Don’t let it scare you if it comes back. It may not, but keep in mind that it may.

    One love to you Andrew! 103 days is effing awesome! You are a true inspiration!

    Ru

    • Ayy Ru did u ever have like random thoughts and like a bad memory and just not feeling like ur exactly here ?? And like were u emotionly sensative like overeact to thoughts , and blog monitor on average how long does it take for anhedonia to go away ? Day 109
      Andrew

  39. Sup Andrew.. I can’t comment much on the anhedonia cause it wasn’t one of the symptoms I had. You’re going to have to elaborate a bit on the random thoughts. I was definitely emotionally sensitive and overreacted a lot. You have to catch yourself when your overreacting. The emotional aspect I am still dealing with. Breathing techniques help a whole lot with dealing with all these issues. Congrats on the 109!!

    • Like a song or something , and how was ur memory ??

  40. Songs and stuff like that I think are related to minor ocd episodes. Remember that songs are created so that you can’t get them out of your head. That’s how you know that it’s a good song 🙂

    My short term memory suffered during the first 3-4 months but slowly improved. I think you should add Omega 3 to your diet. I take Cod Liver Oil. Works wonders. Just remember to buy it lol.. Sorry bad joke.

    You’ll be A-OK Andrew!

  41. I am grateful to have found this blog. I am at the end of day 3 withdrawal after using kratom for about 3 months. Kratom is very similar to opiates, and I know it’s not very well known. My doctor had to look it up.
    This is my second experience of withdrawal. 3 years ago I became addicted to pain meds and that withdrawal was very similar to this one, but I had xanax to help me get through the last one, and this time had nothing but tyrosine, Tylenol and time. Dragging on and on and on. I have a very high profile public job and can’t go away to detox facilities. I also can’t risk anyone seeing me at public meetings. I am going to see my doctor for a referral on Monday to see a one on one psychologist. I did that after the last addiction, but quit after a few sessions because I was “so much better”. I stopped a dangerous journey with alcohol in 2000, and for years was clean and healthy. I got married, have 2 beautiful kids and achieved my dream job. I have everything I have ever wanted in life, but still…. I find my way to a relapse. This time I used some of my daughters ADD meds after they were first prescribed in June. I have no idea what came over me that day, but the feeling I got opened the door all over again and since I couldn’t keep taking her stuff, I looked online for something similar and “natural and easy to get”. Kratom popped up and here I am, feeling like I want to kill myself and not understanding why I am doing this to my precious family and taking days off from work because I simply can’t stop crying, having diarrhea, body aches, lower back pain, chills and depression that is debilitating.
    I am so angry and lost and sad and scared and am just reaching out for any help anyone can provide.
    Thank you for listening, all of you out there who understand.
    Sara

    • Sara,

      There are phone meetings now that you can call in for and listen/participate that way. Do a google search for your area. There are also online meetings. I would encourage you to consider what you stand to lose if you don’t recover: your life. Addiction is a deadly disease. Your job is not worth your life. There are even top celebrities who find a way to engage in a recovery program…so it really comes down to how motivated you are and how much the pain has begun to outweigh the pleasure. You can’t do this alone. It is a process that will require you to put as much effort into your recovery as you have put into continuing to use (think about how long substances have been a part of your life and how much time, energy, money, and other costs/consequences have resulted from the use). This same amount of energy now needs to go toward recovery: finding/attending meetings, seeking out answers/support, reading/learning about the disease, looking at your behaviors, triggers, people in your life to avoid, places/situations to avoid and plans for how to react when you are faced with triggers, etc. it is an in-depth learning process and you’ll need the help of other people who have the same disease to help you through. You say you can’t go to detox/rehab and you can’t attend meetings, but rehab or worse may be where you inevitably end up if you don’t invest now.

  42. Day 116 well nothing bad really i dont get better nor do i get any worse , still no pleasure , but i havnt felt any improvements , ive been at one place for a while , everyday feels pretty long , and wen i think about like the past week feels like a ling time ago and i have these fuzzy tingly feelings in my once in a while like at the top of my head well thats it
    Andrew

    • Ohh and my memory is still kinda suffering

    • I just saw this. Hang in there man!

  43. Sara hang in there! And I agree with the moderator… A career is not worth your life. Not in the least! Be strong!!!!

    Andrew! How’s it going lil brother?? Long time no comment… I hope it’s cause you’re out there enjoying life 🙂

    Ru

    • Ayy Ru im still at the point where i have no improvements i feel like im in the middle, well thats pretty much it
      Andrew

  44. Wassup Andrew! Have you tried working out like lifting weights, boxing, hiking, running, etc?? I just started boxing and weight lifting daily and I swear I’ve had the best week so far. Still not at 100%, but I’m getting closer. How about taking up some hobbies??

    • 5 months and 3 dayz ive improve a bit but not much

      Andrew

      • Hey Andrew,

        How’s it going with you?

  45. Wow…what a great site!!! I am recovering from Methadone addiction. It is 12:43am and wish I was sleeping but instead I am educating myself about what is going on in my body. This is fascinating and so helpful to me. My legs feel like they are going to just jump off my body and I have put Icy Hot on them and wrapped them tight….It is helping but I am still wide awake. When will I sleep again? Oh, and I just had my last dose (only 2 mg) 4 days ago. I’ve had fever, sweating, chills, diarrhea, restless legs (AAAHHH), insomnia…oh, the insomnia. My dealer keeps calling and I keep ignoring because it would take an army to make me put that poison down my throat again. I will suffer as long as it takes but I am so wanting to sleep. I am trying Melatonin and it works (kind of). I’ll sleep for 3 hours and then I am wide awake again. I have downloaded postacute-withdrawal symptoms and am trying to follow advice. Any idea on how long I’ll have to live without sleep??? THANK YOU for this site!!!!

    • Michelle,

      First of all, congratulations and good for you for embarking on this difficult but worthwhile journey called recovery. Keep reading and learning about the disease, you’ll need all of the knowledge you can get. Just make sure you apply what you learn.

      The first thing that is somewhat concerning to me is that your dealer keeps calling you. You can stop this and you need to do so ASAP. Either change your number or have that particular number blocked so that person cannot contact you anymore. You never know when you will encounter a stressful day or a weak moment and the “f-its” take over. Better to be proactive now than to have to deal with being triggered then and risk the possibility or relapse. This is not about will-power, the disease is much more powerful than you probably know or can comprehend right now. It is biological in nature – read more about Pavlov and the “conditioning” that occurs with addiction (see the section titled “A DRIVE, Not a Choice”) and you’ll understand more of what I am talking about.

      As far as sleep goes…that is sort of hard to answer. The short answer is: eventually. The long answer is that it depends on a number of factors (how long you were using, what drug you were using, other health issues, whether or not you use caffeine now, etc.). A good place to start was with the Post-Acute Withdrawal Coping sheet that you downloaded. Post-Acute Withdrawal symptoms can last 90 days, 6-months, or longer…and trouble sleeping is a Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom. Just make sure you are following the advice on that sheet and you will begin to notice an increase in your ability to sleep (and stay asleep) over time. Working a good 12-step program will help as well because you will be learning how to cope with a multitude of other things that can interfere with your sleep (mainly thoughts, behaviors, emotions, etc).

      High Hopes for Recovery for You!

      🙂

  46. Thank you for your response…I have read just about every word on this site and it really does help to understand what is going and why the symptoms are so pervasive….I no longer have fever or chills, the restless legs have stopped, thank God, and sleep is getting better. The most annoying of the symptoms now are mental, anxiety is the major probem. I’m learning how to cope, I feel like a baby who wants a bottle that just isn’t going to be produced anymore.

    I have an extremely supportive bofriend who is helping me and has been shielding me from the dealer…the calls have stopped and I do believe they understand that I am done with it.

    I have a strong faith in God and have the celebrate recovery series of books…I just don’t feel the strength yet to go to any meetings because of the fatigue and anxiety I still feel.

    One very helpful thing that I have been doing is ‘rewarding’ myself with little things like a caramel latte or a chocolate bar or even a walk in the woods. I just focus on the small little joys and pleasant things in life that are free. It is an uphill climb but I know it will pass, there are definitely days when I feel a giant leap has been taken and there are days when I feel as if the suffering will never cease completely.

    I do know that I never want to go through this again and I don’t want to be a user all my life so steady as she goes…

    Thanks again,

    Michelle

  47. Congratulations Michelle!

    I am recovering from a totally different substance, but recovering nonetheless. I also feel as if I take a giant step forward on some days and on other days I feel as I’ll suffer for my entire life because I decided to use.

    My advice is to take things one day at a time. It may sound corny, but it is the one thing that has gotten me through this. Very early on I was trying to predict and fix the rest of my life in a day. OVERWHELMING! I’ve noticed that I really can’t predict how I will feel. The best days you have are sometimes after the worst. Today may be the worst I’ve felt in a very long time, but who’s to say that tomorrow isn’t going to be the best day of my life?? This is what keeps me going and what has gotten me through the last few very tough months.

    A big hug to you and KEEP AT IT!!!!

    Ru

  48. Thank you Ru and congratulations to you as well…I have read your posts and am glad to see that you are still going strong. That fact is proof that there is life after addiction and that it CAN be done. We’re doing it….

    You are so right on about ‘one day at a time’. It has even come down to one minute at a time some days. One of the biggest obstacles to my even starting to quit was the thought of how I was going to manage my life sick. But now I know that it won’t last forever (the pain) and the universe can handle itself without my assistance for a few weeks 😉

    Thank you for your encouraging words, the understanding of others is a huge help…I’m not alone.

    A big hug to you as well and I will keep on keeping on.

    Michelle

  49. Wow, this blog has been such a wonderful help and after reading every word of it I finally drew up the courage to face my drinking problem. So many times I have come back to your posts for encouragement and confirmation that things will get better, so I thank all of you for the support your stories and advice provide. I have been a drinker for many years but over the past year it has controlled me. I drink wine, rarely anything “harder”, but once I have that first sip I simply cannot stop. Drinking in moderation has become a distant memory. This really scares me. I drink every day. This scares me, too but I keep coming up with excuses why I should “just have one glass tonight and then I’ll quit tomorrow”, and then one glass becomes five. Lately I have felt compelled to have a quick drink in the morning, just to clear the hangover. I had my last glass of wine Thursday night and have started attending AA meetings, which are anxiety producing in some ways but each time I walk in to the meeting room I feel stronger and more comfortable there. So, so far so good. I could use help and guidance with withdrawal. Reading all that is posted here I have a good idea of what to expect, but at this point I haven’t experienced anything other than a mild headache. I’m not complaining! But I’m starting to get anxious that any minute the symptoms will hit out of the blue. I understand that withdrawal symptoms can come and go over time but I thought they would have begun by now. What does this mean? What is the time spread to expect to feel the effects of acute withdrawal? Thanks so much everyone, you have helped me more than you know.

    • Lucy,

      First, thanks for your post. It is so very encouraging to hear that the info you and others have found here has been influential in helping you make such a meaningful and positive change in your life. That makes my day every time I hear it. Good for you for seeking out the information and taking these first steps. You are taking your life in your hands, in a good way!

      As far as withdrawal goes, it depends on how much you were drinking, your age, your overall health, and other factors (are you taking any medications that may take the place of the wine or lessen the withdrawal symptoms? Be careful here, if this is the case). Remember that whatever a substance does for you when you use it, in withdrawal you will feel the opposite. So, alcohol is a depressant (meaning it slows the system down) but in withdrawal it speeds the system up, producing anxiety, trouble sleeping, tremors, racing thoughts, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, etc. It could be that your symptoms are mild, or it could be that you are finding other explanations for your symptoms (feeling anxious when you go to a meeting, for example – it may be a combination of actual anxiety and withdrawal). Often symptoms will worsen around certain “trigger times” – the usual time of day when you would begin drinking in the past. It also could be that you’ve lived for so long with the cycle of withdrawal during the day that you think this is your normal state and don’t feel much of a difference now, but as time passes and your body/brain adjusts (and you treat the disease by continuing to work your program) you will eventually feel the symptoms subside and feel much less anxious, sleep better, think clearer, and a much more relaxed state may become more “normal” for you.

      You are an inspiration! Keep up the good work…and keep posting when you need support and/or have questions!

      🙂

  50. Congratulations Lucy! Sounds like you are dedicated to this. 12 Step meeting are the way to go. Keep us posted 🙂

    Ru

  51. hi guys – i’m on day 10 of quitting weed and it’s reaaaally hard. A lot of the stuff on here has made it easier to work out what’s going on. I had no idea it would be such a long drawn out process- 6 months, a year?! that’s terrifying. I feel ok for most of the day but the evenings are really hard, especially just before I go to bed. i guess this is when i’m missing it the most.

    i have a definite drink problem and when i tried to quit that a few years ago i picked up weed. i found it great, but obviously just swapped the addiction. its drink that really destroys my life, and weed didn;t seem to do me any harm, but in the past week I’ve decided to give up both as it’s clear to me I’m an addict and shouldn’t touch anything.

    my partner has been wonderful but I hate putting these bad moods on her. this sounds mean to say but she’s tempremental herself and i think sometimes it’s hard for her to deal ith when I’m in a terrible mood for no good reason.

    thanks again for all your comments, i just have one question though, particularly for Ru and Andrew – why did you quit?

  52. Hey Flip,
    Congrats on your decision to quit! to be honest, I simply quit because my wife and I wanted to have a baby and I didnt want any of that crap in my system so I went cold turkey. The crazy part is that after I quit I opened up Pandora’s box and had to deal with an array of issues that the weed masked. I smoked so much and for so long that I was numb to any issues i had in my life. I also realized that the weed was the reason for my violent outbursts and very short temper. A couple of months after I quit, my temper seemed to go back to normal. Granted it was still bad in the first couple of months, but that was because I was detoxing. i havent had a violent outburst in about 7 months now and I had NO IDEA that it was my addiction. So a baby was the reason I quit, but I planned to go back to smoking after we concieved, but now that I know how much better my life is after that drug, I will never go back to it. it was a rude awakening. I had quit seceral times before, but my addiction was progressive so I hit a critical point that I really couldnt live without it anymore. I constantly lied to my wife about using 365 days a year. She doesn’t deserve that in the least.

    i was going to ask you if you went cold-turkey on weed and drinks simultaneously? that isnt recommended from what my 12 step meeting have told me.

    Hope you are doing well!

    Ru

    • RU and Flip,

      Quitting every mood-altering drug simultaneously is MOST DEFINITELY recommended. Although not fun, one drug tends to lead right back to another, so quitting one and not the other will likely lead a person right back to any other substances (for example, alcohol lowers the inhibitions, and makes it very likely that a person will do things they normally wouldn’t do, such as decide to use weed again). I’ve never heard of any 12-step program that would not recommend quitting all mood-altering substances at once (with the exception of caffeine and/or nicotine). So, Ru…it sounds like you might have been given bad advice by someone/others. Of course, the safest and easier way would be to detox from all in a medical setting with the aid of detox medications and medical supervision (heavy alcohol use/physical dependence can put a person at risk for seizure if the quit cold turkey) Good for you FLIP, for the steps you’ve taken! Keep it up!

  53. Day 23 and life is starting to be sweet again, more often than not….I love the fact that I no longer have the compulsion to use…I can go about my day and do normal things without having to chase a fix first. In high stress situations, my mind will try to take me there but I am learning how to stop that thought and distract myself with something else.

    I battle fatigue a little still but have been doing yoga which is an incredible way to exercise. I think this will improve things. I lost weight over the last three weeks and am now gaining again. (I am small, hold steady at about 115). My appetite is back and my body feels free of all chemicals….it is an incredible feeling.

    Good luck Lucy and flip. It can be done…..

  54. Thanks, everyone. Your comments, support and guidance continue to inspire me to keep fighting the good fight. I have spent 10 days sober and I feel pretty good. My sleep continues to improve and my cravings have been manageable, although yesterday I really had a tough time with one. Avoiding or minimizing triggers is the key for me, but sometimes they come out of nowhere! Which brings me to my question. Last Dec. 14th there was a horrific school shooting in my District. In fact it occurred two miles down the road from where I work. Tomorrow the full investigative report is being made public and of course the one year anniversary is looming in the background. Talk about a trigger! 🙂 I need your help. I certainly don’t want to pick up a drink to “take off the edge” but the shootings and the intense aftermath is what propelled me to drink too much in the first place so I know that I am heading towards a slippery slope. My sobriety is my priority but how do I manage this? I have 130 students in and out of my classroom every day whose emotional needs will intensify as we approach the 14th. I have to strike a balance between their needs and my own emotional (and therefore sober) equilibrium. What steps can I take to maintain sobriety through what I know will be a heart breakingly difficult period for the kids in my town?

    I attend three meetings a week and exercise more. I’ve begun taking supplements and change up my routine to avoid certain triggers. To answer an earlier question, I don’t take any medication other than an occasional Aleve or Claritin and my caffeine intake consists of a 20 ounce diet Pepsi every day. I’ll do whatever else you all recommend to make it through the next few weeks! Thanks so much, everyone. I feel better already just by putting my fears in to words.

    • Lucy,

      Under the “Relapse” section of the website, you will find a document you can click on called “Personal Plan to Prevent Relapse” – check that out – it may give you some structure and ideas.

      The good thing is, you are aware that this anniversary date is going to be tough for you, so you can plan ahead. The more challenging experiences tend to be those that hit us by surprise. I would suggest definitely hitting a meeting that day and, prior to that day, maybe get some numbers of people with some good, long sober time so that you can call them throughout the day if you need to. If you have friends and family who know that you’ve made this recovery change, involve them. Let them know that this day (and probably the days leading up to it and after) will be a difficult one and potentially challenging for your sobriety. You’ll want to let them in on it not only for the support they can give, but for accountability too. If you know that they are going to call and check on you, you’ll be more likely to do all you can to stay sober. Plan to be around friends and/or family that evening. You want to be mindful not to isolate yourself.

      You may have only 10 days sober right now, but you’ll gain some more days between now and then, and things may improve with each passing day. Stay motivated and stick with what you’ve been doing so far that has worked for you.

      🙂 D.D.

  55. Hi ive been using meth for 20years on and off. Ive used almost everyday now for the last 2 years. Before it was easy to just quite and i would only experience minimal withdrawl symptoms which was easy to handle. Now i cant get past 3 days without going through hell. I mean is it normal i have crazy epic nightmares every night ,disturbed sleep and all of the other usual symptoms. I also have night sweats that never happened to me before.has anyone experienced this and how could i get through this? Thanx u guys have been a great help. Keep doing what u doing.

  56. Thanks to Dopamindialogue for this site. It had/has some very important information and advice for me and I am sure for others also.
    I am on weed withdrawal. I stopped using about three months ago after on and off using of 20 years and a few months prior to stopping with very huge amounts of weed daily. I had to stop because of a health issue and didn’t know what hit me. Panic attacks, anxiety, restlessness, a complete nervous wreck. I thought I would go crazy any second. Stomach pain, no appetite (lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks), no sleep for days. After a few days I went to the hospital and they told me I was on weed withdrawal, but I didn’t quite understand at that point what it meant. I always thought I was going crazy and forgot about the withdrawal. The anxiety was really bad the first two weeks and I couldn’t sleep and when I slept I only could with the help of Tavor. I still didn’t quite get it, that I was a weed addict on withdrawal. Then the anxiety slowly got better and I had a few clear hours a day and started searching on the Internet for answers and I finally understood what was happening with me. But still when I was (sometimes I still am) in an acute anxiety phase I forgot the withdrawal and worried I was permanently insane, never would be normal again, worried about illnesses I might have and being insane with fucked up thoughts that I thought would never end, I also was and still sometimes am very unsecure and somehow don’t know who I am anymore or have to remind me who I am. But after a few hours they stopped and I felt better. It always came in waves for me also. The bad waves got shorter with time and the good waves longer, but I still can’t really feel anything, it’s not empty like in a severe depression, just not there. I can still laugh and I cried a lot the last weeks but I somehow can’t feel love or hate anymore. I hope it will come back and I am quite sure it will, but I still worry. I relapsed two times with a really miniscule amount, once on the 30 day mark, when I felt really good and it put me right back into anxiety and then again about 3 weeks ago and the anxiety came back and the symptoms got worse again. Today I feel much better but my sleep still is disrupted. I sleep for 3-4 hours and wake up, go to sleep again for 2 hours, wake up etc. and the dreams were really weird and real, I even had a nervous breakdown because of one, because it was so real and I couldn’t shake it off. The last few days I had no dreams I can remember so it’s also getting better. I started exercising, muscle relaxation, socializing, knitting, cooking, eating healthy, taking vitamins, treating myself and others better, cut down tv and don’t do any mind altering substances anymore. I definitely can say it is getting better and if I hadn’t relapsed I would certainly feel even better than I do now (today was a great day, almost perfect, except for the missing feelings) but tomorrow can be different, I never know. I will stay clean that I now know for sure, but it really is like someone already wrote, as if you lost a friend or broke a long term relationship. All the best to all and hang in there, it does get better 🙂

    • Albi,

      Wow! This literally brought tears to my eyes and I had to actually check that I wasn’t reading one of my own posts. You just took me back to probably the scariest moments in my life which was about 6-7 months ago. I felt EXACTLY how you feel/felt. The desperation and paranoia was so intense and so real that I was certain that the withdrawal from weed had nothing to do with how I was feeling. I was sure that something else happened and that I would feel that way for the rest of my life. For me it came in horrible waves, but mostly 1 after another. The good waves were rare, very rare. I would get depressed, then anxious, then paranoid, then couldn’t sleep etc etc etc. It seemed to have no end.

      I can tell you that I am now at 10 and a half months and I still get some waves, but sooooooo much better than my first 3-5 months. Soooooo much better! Don’t get me wrong, when they come I still have to fight to see reality and it is still hard, but I can more easily see the waves for what they really are. I never thought I would make it this far. I thought I would either relapse and just keep smoking or kill myself. Yes, it was that bad. I hope you keep posting on your progress and I wish you the very best. If there is anything I can do to help, please reach out. I always monitor this blog because it may have saved my life.

      Ru

      • Thanks Ru for your input. It is much appreciated. It sometimes is funny… Just after the great day I wrote about came an horrible day. Depression and anxious, crying and so on. Then quite good again and getting better the last few days, I almost had no anxiety the last two days or “out-of-it” phases and when anxiety came it only lasted a couple of minutes and I felt better again. What a ride this is. Thanks for your offer to help, I would say come here and hold my hand for the next few months but I think that isn’t quite possible 🙂 If it stays like it is now, I will start going to a self help meeting, maybe it is also a good idea.
        I will keep on posting my progress and wish all the best

  57. Hi all,

    I relapsed over the christmas period – I find it really embarassing to come back after that but this blog was so helpful I didn’t know what else to do.

    My behaviour became more and more addictive and I nearly lost my realtionship because of it, I am now about 3 days sober and finding it really hard. Very irritable, having weird dreams and huge mood swings which must be a nightmare for my partner.

    Ru – you are inspirational and I think what a great reason to give up because of a baby. one day i want to have kids and cant carry on like this.

    thank you all for sharing your experiences it is so so helpful

    F

  58. Hi Flip!

    So sorry to hear, but guess what?? That relapse is now in the past and you must move on. You will be ok, I can promise that as long as you stay clean. No matter what you’ve heard, recovery is harrrrrrrdddddddd! There is no easy fix and for some of us it’s even tougher. I hope your partner understands what you are going through, but then again if they are not in recovery how can they understand? We can’t blame them for that. You have to be strong, incredibly strong. Your relationship will help you in this hard time, but only if it’s healthy, so try your best to keep it that way. You have not failed by relapsing, you’ve just made it a bit tougher for yourself and have to pick yourself off, dust yourself off, and keep fighting! That’s what this recovery thing is about. Not everyone can beat an addiction. This is the time that defines you. Will you give in or win over the drug? I get the feeling that you’re a fighter and will beat this. You have to want it. Is being clean and sober important enough for you to go through a relatively tough period? How important is your happiness? These are the questions you must ask yourself on a daily basis to put things in perspective. This period in your life is just a drop in the bucket, even though it seems like an eternity. God bless you Flip and YOU WILL BEAT THIS!

    Ru

  59. Thank you Ru. You really are an inspiration! I wish that I could send myself off to rehab or some nice place in the country but unfortunately life goes on and I have to keep working and holding things together, my moods get so bad approaching work but at least I have started to notice when the cravings and the moods happen so that I can beat them.

    I just don’t know when I will see any improvement and this is demoralising, the idea that this could go on for months is really scary. I will keep it up though and keep checking back here to see if there’s anyone I can help out.

    big hugs to you all and all the strength in the world – i think that the fact any of us are posting on here means that we want to fight these things, and therefore WILL win in the end.

    • Hey Flip!

      Updates please 🙂

  60. Yes I wish I could’ve just disappeared to a rehab center as well, but like you said, life goes on. It will get better and you will learn how to manage it. It is important to deal with your recovery one day at a time and not months at a time. Tackle today and today only. Don’t tackle tomorrow until tomorrow. You’ll see that it is so much easier to handle. It’s not an easy habit to adopt because we are used to the opposite, but we must learn it. You will be making incredible and positive changed in your life and these changes will stick with you. This is a rebirth. Dealing with life on it’s own terms is very tough after an addiction. Work is tough too because it’s many people’s largest source of stress and anxiety.
    This shall all pass and what you will learn about yourself in the coming months will help you live a much happier and fulfilling life 🙂 Stay strong Flip!! and keep us posted on your recovery!

    Also, you don’t know if tomorrow will be horrible or the best day yet! If it’s bad, then it’s just bad and you’ll relax, breathe and deal with it. You can’t rush recovery, but you can manage it.

    Ru

  61. Yes, the days can change in an instance. Joining a support group would be an ideal decision! What country are you located in? Keep us posted!!

    Ru

  62. Hi. Thanks for the forum. 🙂

    I am attempting to taper myself off of 11 straight years of 24/7 opiate use due to pain. I was at 270 mg last summer. I’m now at 25 mg and have been for a week. I’m taking a 15 mg ext release morphine sulfate tab at 9 pm and then 10 mg of immed release spread over the day. By 8 pm I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms and they have yet to back off much even after 7 days. Why???? I thought I would adjust to this dosage after a week. Any thoughts on what is going on? I thought you become used to a given dosage in 6-7 days. Why hasn’t that happened yet? I appreciate any comments.

    Symptoms are labored breathing and a feeling of heat in my chest when I breath. Horrible brain fog. Some yawning/sneezing. Breathing gets better when I take the 15 mg ER. Yawning and sneezing are uncommon.
    Brain fog is always with me but worse during worse withdrawal.
    Thanks!
    Charlie

    • BTW… I am not an addict but I am horribly horribly dependent on this drug.

  63. I wanted to give a update… My sleep is getting better, I had a few days now in which I could sleep 3-4 hours without waking up and then going back to sleep for another 2-3 hours and I can also sleep in the daytime for an hour or so. The dreams are still strange sometimes and nightmarish but I don’t remember as many as I did a few weeks ago. I dreamt of many childhood friends and had two quite funny dreams that were super realistic and I didn’t know I was dreaming and thought it was real and I always kept thinking what strange things were happening but never realised it was a dream. And another one was also realistic and I realised I was dreaming and I then started to fly around knowing it was a dream, quite cool. And I even had a few nice and happy dreams. Well enough of the dreams 🙂 The days are sometimes still broken up in different parts where I feel a bit anxious and am a bit paranoid and worried but the phases are are getting shorter again, but it still is lingering in the background at times. Especially in the evenings I sometimes feel alone and get a bit anxious. Never had that before, maybe because I always lived with people at least in the same house but now I am alone in a house and nobody is around. Never had that before, that I felt lonely, I always was quite comfortable with myself, but then again I also was high quite often, so I was comfortable because of the drugs probably.
    I am learning a lot about myself at least and slowly I am not so insecure anymore and am finding back to myself. It can take a while till I post again, I am without internet the next weeks. I am located in Germany. And you Ru?
    Have a nice time and best wishes to all

  64. That’s great news Albi! I am less than a week away from my 1 year anniversary and I can honestly say that I am a much stronger person today than I was a year ago, or EVER for that matter. I atill get mild episodes, crazy dreams, and the very rare sleep issue, but It’s soooooo much better. Not even a month ago I was still having extreme episodes of despair. These days they are som mich lighter. My wife notices and always tells me how incredible I’m doing considering that I was just about suicidal in the first 3-5 months. There are still certain people, smells, weather temperatures, music, you name it, that triggers mild cravings. I fight them and remember how horrible a time I had and Im good to go again.

    Keep on fighting Albi. I know it seems like a loooonnngg time when it’s really just a drop in the bucket compared to how long the rest of your life will be. Let’s be the success stories that we dreamt of being when we first quit! It will happen and you will be that much stronger when you make it to the other side!

    Ru

    • Hello Ru,

      I too have been a 20+ year heavy smoker. I smoked morning, noon & night. I would grow my own hydroponics. I enjoyed growing as a hobby. About 3 months back every time I smoked I would get major anxiety as soon as I took a hit. This started roughly at the same time that
      I was offered another Job that sounded to good to be true and guess what, it was and I had to leave. I have a wife and 2 Children to support and the job issue put me into depression to the point that I couldn’t leave the house but had to force myself to as we have bills and house payments to make. My doctor put me on Paxil that helped my anxiety and depression. It’s now been a month since I have stopped smoking completely and little use two months prior. I felt so depressed as I had to go back to a job that I was doing 15 years ago for little pay as I couldn’t go back to my last job that I was at for 8 years in sales that payed well. I felt that my life was going backwards.
      My wife didn’t know that I was a heavy smoker she thought I did it on occasion but not every waking minute of the day so I cant tell her what I’m going through. Your post scares me as I never thought that a year later you would still be recovering. I feel that I have lost the last 20 + years of my life to this harmless drug. I start a new well paid job back in sales next week and it’s worrying me to death too as the economy is bad at the moment here in Australia. I don’t think I could have got through the last three months with out paxil helping me. My hat is off to yourself and any other recovering addict as I couldn’t even begin to explain how hard it’s been for me to coverup the pain I feel inside. If I get through this I want to help others as you have helped me by inspiration.

      Thank you

  65. Hey Dans,

    Glad you decided to quit. Depression was a big symptom for me when I quit. Unbearable at times. The anxiety was really tough as well. I attempted to get on Zoloft after I quit, but it made things ten times worse. The side effects were unbearable. Before I quit, maybe 5-6 years ago I took Zoloft (Sertraline) with no problem at all. This was probably due to the fact that it was counteracted by the thc.

    My story is similar to yours. Smoked about 20 years and my wife knew that I smoked, but had absolutley no idea how much. I also smoked a whole lot daily and some strong stuff. As difficult as it was, I told her the truth. I told her that I lied to her and that I was a chronic smoker. She was not surprised, but still struck with the reality that I had just admitted this. Telliing my wife was one of the best decisions I ever made when i first quit. The weight I had laying on my shouldres suddenly lifted and it made my chances of recovery that much better. To this day she has given me support any time I needed, as long as I never went back on my word and used again. It truly set me free.

    My case is an extreme one and it may not be your experience. However, if it is, I always thought it better to know and be prepared than to be caught off guard and fail miserably.

    I invite you to also check out http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewforum.php?f=10&sid=77b728a87274a2619437f6877bc7df10

    You will find a HUGE populatuion of people that are fighting marijuana addiction.

    Best to you and congrats on your decision to quit!

    Ru

  66. Therapy is great. I believe that everyone should see a therapist whether they are addicts or not. You will learn some really valuiable skills and important things about yourself. I would make sure that the therapist you see has experience in working with addiction. Not all therapists understand addiction and they may just prescribe more drugs that may make things worse. When you start to feel better start to exercise. Eat a well balanced diet. Omega 3’s and multi-vitamins may also help.
    I just started eating Mediterranean food and it is very healthy and I feel great afterwards.
    For now, go on walks, take up a hobby, go to the movies and dinner with your wife. You must learn to enjoy things without weed again. This is tough, but necessary to your recovery and to your new life. When the cravings come on, substitute the weed with something fun. During this very, very difficult time, be good to yourself. Quitting an addiction is a HUGE step that most addicts are not strong enough to undertake! You are already a winner. The pain, confusion ,and all other symptoms you are experiencing are a sign that your mind and body are healing and trying to return to balance. They are good things and will pass. That much I can promise.
    Keeping a journal/diary of how I felt on a daily basis was an immense help as well, because it helped me see my progress on the days that I felt like there was none and things were getting worse.
    Relapsing once erases all of the progress you have made. Please remember this.
    Look into the Post Acute Withdrawal tips on this page. Big help 🙂

  67. Today marks my 1 year anniversary since quitting marijuana. It has been an incredible journey. I never knew how addicted I was to THC until I decided to quit. The grip it had on me was serious. I didn’t do anything unless I had a blunt and when I didn’t have one, I was an angry and highly reactionary person.

    February 14, 2013 was my quit date. I quit only because my wife and I wanted to have our first baby and it was going to be a temporary quit. I would smoke again after, but in “moderation” like I planned to do countless times during my 20 year love affair with Mary Jane. Immediately after I quit, unlike most people I’ve spoken to, I felt relatively ok with very mild anxiety, and minor sleep issues. A month and a half later on April 1st, and the day before I started my new job, something happened that landed me in the hospital and urgent care.

    That night I woke up in gasps of air at least 20 times, heart was racing uncontrollably, headache was insane (mostly around my forehead and pressure behind my eyes), and the back of my neck was stiffer than I’ve ever felt. Got out of bed and went to my first day of work. Not a good day at all. Head was still throbbing all day, eyes burned, confused, depressed, anxious, and almost literally brain dead. 2 days later after absolutely nothing got better, I went to the ER. My wife was pretty scared as well and luckily I had insurance. Doctor said it was anxiety just by looking at me and told me to go home. this went on for about 2 weeks straight with absolutely no relief. I had no idea what was happening to me and began my paranoia OCD that lasted for about 2 months. The derealization lasted for about 8 months and would hit unexpectedly and with no obvious triggers. I Googled to the ends of the internet. In hindsight, I realized that Googling my symptoms was the worst thing I could’ve done, but I needed answers. The PAWS was real and still is for me today. I was also suicidal at times. I couldn’t take anymore and my brain was playing so many tricks on me.

    The acute phase finally went away after about a month. I was on Zolpiderm to sleep and even tried Zoloft for the extreme anxiety and depression. I took about 8 ibuprofen a day, just so I could function at work. I even took Ativan, a Benzodiazepine, for 6 months straight under my doctor’s strict supervision and only at night before bed. He knew how to prevent me from becoming addicted to the Benzo as long as I followed his instructions to a “T.” I weened off of it for 2 months with absolutely no ill effects. The only thing I didn’t take was THC. My drug of choice.

    I finally found out that it was an extreme case of THC withdrawal. I found an ex-Hippie, major weed head, PHD addiction therapist in Berkeley, CA and he finally provided all the answers I needed. He said he had seen hundreds of patients suffering from THC withdrawal (Northern CA is the Mecca for weed in case you didn’t know), and he stated that he had never seen a case as extreme as mine. I fought the diagnosis, because I could not fathom how THC could cause this. But is twas the THC. and after a year, I think I’m at about 75% recovered. It can take up to 2 years. I am half way there. Part of my recovery plan was to join a Marijuana Anonymous group immediately. Marijuana Anonymous?!! Yep, I thought the same thing, but in the Oakland area there are about 12 active groups each with about 20-30 members seeking desperate help. It was a game-changer to me. I was finally around people that understood what was happening to me. Not one was surprised at my symptoms. Many were already in their 60’s and still battling the addiction. Many of them even started smoking around 6-8 years old. They start early in Berkeley.

    Today, I celebrate a milestone that I never thought I would make it to. I wondered and dreamt of the day i would be here. How many times did I tell my wife that I wouldn’t make it and how many times did smoking bud cross my mind to rid my life of the pain I was experiencing. One of the things that kept me away from it was when my doctor told me that if I relapsed, then I would have to start again from zero.

    This recovery has been a gift and a curse. It had to be tough, because this was the only way I would quit for good. But I also know that an addict is an addict for life and I must always be cautious. Once a pickle, one can never be a cucumber again. Life is beautiful and now I can finally appreciate it without the fog.

    OSR

  68. I smoked a whole joint of weed and a couple minutes later I had a really bad panic attack and for 6 months after that day I was in and out of the hospital and I was scared to get out of bed or even walk because I panicing 24/7 and having bad panic attacks and then after them 6 months I kinda got better and started getting out and doing stuff but I got presured into smoking again and had another bad panic attack I was okay after that panic attack but know I don’t even leave the house I panic alot lately I get scared if I notice like a bump or something I don’t even feel like I’m in reality I really want this stuff to stop I want help please help me tell me something please I don’t wanna live with this curse anymore please help

  69. Hello,
    My name is Trina 🙂 im 3 days post fentanyl abuse. The terrible withdrawals have stopped thank The Lord! I was just wondering what sort of vitamins my body is lacking and what I should take? I dealt with depression my whole life so stopping this made it ten times worse. I just want it to stop as soon as possible so if you could tell me what my body is lacking so that I can start a healthy road to recovery.
    Thanks 🙂

  70. A new short update from me: I am now at about day 140, I feel much better and the mood swings have gotten “smoother” and I don’t worry as much anymore. Anxiety in the evenings is gone, but I still am insecure on occasion, some days sometimes a few hours. My sleeping problems got a lot better again, now I can sleep 5-6 hours without waking up most of the time, but I still have days where I can’t find sleep, but much better than a few weeks ago. A couple of days ago I even slept 7 hours and couldn’t believe it when I woke up in the morning with the sun up! The dreams aren’t as real anymore and as disturbing and I don’t remember them as I used to in the beginning.
    During the days I am now very exhausted mostly and tired often which is completely different than in the beginning and I sometimes sleep in the day because I am so tired. I still am paranoid on occasion and have stupid thoughts (kind of ocd) but they are much better to control and it only lasts a couple of seconds or rarely minutes now) so all in all everything is much better, but still not alright and I know it will take much longer to cope again “normally” but I think I can now also say to others: Hang on in there, it does get better 🙂
    Take care

  71. Hi, I smoked pot occasionally and for first time last week tried coke and i mixed it with alcohol, well I felt like fainting, got pale and had tachycardia, then it went away. Now I’m on 7th day of literally quitting everything including smoking cigarettes, the only problem I have is blurred vision. weird feeling, sensitivity to light during day and at night headlights and signals aren’t the same, just feel weird in general…is this normal?

  72. I been using opiates for past 8 months, about 3-5 grams daily of herion.the last few weeks I have been skipping a day going into severe withdrawal thinking it would be easier to go cold turkey.last night I began to flush my body and will finish today I. Hope withdrawal symptoms are manageable.will flushing help,how long does it take to get dopamine,serotonin to begin production.

  73. I wish I came across this earlier.

  74. Hello there Ru.
    I am here because I am helpless now. I am 22, and I smoked weed for 2 yrs only on weekends but with month long breaks between. last year i took a weed cookie and it gave me my first panic attack that got me to er. So I quit for some time then went back to rare weekly smoking, and most of the timss it was not a fun high anymore, more like anxiety filled one. I smoked with friends in college btw. During the last week of last month though I smoked heavy from a bong for 5 days and then went home for long holiday. so I was fine all along, nothing that concerned me healthwise. so after the 2week mark I went to a friend and took a puff of mj and it got me happy high for 1hr. I then got to my normal state and went home. I was completely fine. then suddenly after a week I started feeling weired. I soon realised they were withdrawal symptoms, and now i’m free of weed for 30days. so here is a list of them:
    -insomnia for 1st 2 days but now I am able to sleep though for a very short 4hr average deep sleep.
    -loss of appetite for 1st 3days but now I’m ok.
    -very little but noticable anxiety. it has now reduced
    -pressure at the back of my head that went away the 1st week, as well as sore throat and a little difficulty reading.
    -depression that really affects me now on 3rd week more than before especially in the morning.
    Now my biggest concern is my brain fog. it started only during withdrawal and it impaires my memory recall and mental clarity. Basically I cannot remember things well it’s like I’m stoned.
    The brain fog, being a withdrawal thing for me, I thought would be lessening with time but 3weeks down and it’s still the same if not even worse. Could it be a permanent thing that i should now get used to? It is really frustrating me since I’m still in college and I’m very sure I will not be able to do my 3yr successfully if this persists. I cant bear tge thought of letting down my parents who really love me and do the best for me.

    Please advice me. can brain fog dissapear if it came as a withdrawal symptoms?

  75. Hey Tony! Man! I’ve heard this happening more and more and more. Short term smokers getting serious withdrawals. It definitely has to do with how potent it is these days. You are actually doing very well compared to others I’ve chatted with. The brain fog seems to be a huge problem for many people withdrawing from THC. I can assure you that it is NOT permanent. The thc is in your fatty tissue and take a while to completely leave that part. I can’t tell you how long you’ll have the fog, but I can assure you that you will recover fully from it. You can’t rush recovery unfortunately, but eating healthy, drinking at least 8 cups of water per day, exercising in moderation and trying to stay on a good and consistent sleep schedule will help a lot. My brain fog stayed constant for like 7 months then disappeared and comes back rarely in waves now. The longer you go, the better you’ll be able to cope. What helped me a lot was Magnesium and Omega 3’s. I’ll post some stuff on the brain fog in a bit for you. STAY OFF THE WEED!! Rule #1

    Stay strong!
    Ru

  76. thanks ru….so I’m slowly recovering, and I don’t know which is which now between brain fog and derealisation and anxiety. somehow my symptoms fit in to derealisation and I have a lot of anxiety but I hope tgat they all will go away.

  77. Hi all,

    Not sure if people are still monitoring this this blog/comments section, but here goes…

    So I’ve been a heavy MJ smoker for about 15 or so years. The last three of which have been particularly bad as the weed in the UK has been getting progressively stronger and stronger and in my opinion more and more addictive. So in about March to April of this year I started noticing that I was getting extreme episodes of anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety and depression when I was smoking. I was basically so bad that I spent most of my days smoking all day every day in a comatose state, locked away in my room with a bare minimum of social interaction (I was studying a Masters and am now studying a PhD which allowed me to do so – which is also a large part of the problem which I will explain later…).

    I had one of those epiphany-esque type moments when I went on holiday to Thailand and I was sat in the most beautiful, idyllic hotels on the coast and instead of enjoying the amazing surroundings and being happy, I was sat in my hotel room having intense panic attacks, basically thinking I was dying. It suddenly dawned on me that I had to stop, and I had to do it now (I’m 31).

    So I have stopped smoking weed and am on about day 40-50 (I honestly can’t remember the exact day as my head is so atrociously f**ked up right now that I can barely string sentences together, let alone remember exact dates) and herein lies the problem.
    I’m guessing it is the PAWS, but I’ll just list what I am experiencing and the struggles I’m having to contend with: acute depression, brain fog, electric headaches, what I have been calling brain/cranial buzzing (literally feels like my skull is statically charged and buzzing all day every day), blurred vision, extreme confusion, a severely diminished intelligence, a diminished vocabulary, panic attacks, lack of any pleasure whatsoever, diminished sex-drive (not that I got any anyway lol), crazy mood swings (never good…) and a non-existent smile. I never have those almost euphoric moments of happiness and I’ve lost all interest in things I love like reading, movies and music (which is so disheartening). Also, I am a very passionate person and I feel like all that passion is gone.

    Are these all normal? Basically I’m studying a PhD in Creative Writing, and I’m paralyzed with fear that I have done permanent damage to my brain. I’m trying to read and I can’t remember what I’m reading sentence by sentence. I struggle to string a sentence together, either mixing up words or losing my words entirely. I seem to have lost all my reasoning skills, I can’t think straight for the life of me. Whenever I try and think about something, the only way I can explain it is that I run into a brick wall. There is nothing there. I have always written under the influence of MJ, and it has sadly become my creative crutch. The thought of writing without it fills me with dread. I tried giving up a year or so ago when I was at the tail end of my Masters degree and I had to write my dissertation. I had none of the symptoms I have listed above to such degrees of severity, but the one thing that drove me back to smoking was having to write. I had the most insane writer’s block at the worst possible time. I ended up smoking weed again and it was like someone destroying a dam that had built up in my head and suddenly the river burst through and flowed again and I wrote a dissertation that not only got a distinction, but won me a prize for the best dissertation in my university. INFURIATING!!! It’s like my brain won’t allow me to believe that I can write without it. Hell, I have been on this website four-five times and started writing this comment. Only to get so frustrated with stopping and starting and struggling with words, grammar and spelling (when I know I know the correct words, grammar and spelling etc) that I become scared and just stop. It’s become a complex… and I find myself here again, 1 year into a PhD, unable to read, unable to write and feeling like I have quite literally forgotten everything I have ever learnt – including my love for reading and writing in the first place.

    And then the worst part is being socially active. Because of the depression, the social anxiety, and the difficulties I have in speaking/conversing, stringing sentences together, being able to listen to people and take in what they say and recalling anything, I have basically become a social recluse and am scared that along with everything else I am going to be stuck this way forever. I have read a lot of comments from people who were/are lucky enough to have the support of husbands/wives/partners and I envy them so much, as I feel like I’m going through all this completely alone. Most of the people I know just don’t understand what I’m going through. Doctors say it’s depression (and subsequently prescribed citalopram – I took one pill and had the worst side-effects I could possibly imagine and so stopped instantly – when I went back she seemed angry that I stopped taking them and said there’s nothing more she can do for me), friends either smoke weed themselves and don’t get it, or don’t or haven’t smoked weed and don’t get it. I’m kind of at my wits end here, and each day becomes harder and harder to endure. 😦

    I have joined a gym and have been regularly exercising, I am taking multi-vitamins and omega-3 supplements and am eating a lot more regularly and healthily.

    I guess all I’m looking for is some reassurance that I’m not losing my mind, or that I haven’t given myself permanent brain damage. I’ve smoked for so long now, and from such a relatively young age that I have no idea who I am when I’m not under the influence of weed, or going through PAWS. It would be nice to hear someone tell me that life will actually be better, that I will not lose parts of myself, and that maybe, just maybe, it will all be worth the insane suffering I’m putting myself through at the moment. I never thought weed could do this to someone…

    Apologies for the essay… lol

    Cheers,

    Rich

    • Rich,

      I apologize for the delay in approving your comment for posting. I’ve been away for a month-long military training in the deserts of California and was without access to the internet for much of this time. I am just now getting around to weeding through a great many emails and have a lot to catch up on. I’ll let others have a chance to respond first. I’ll respond at a later time, once I have more time to give your post the attention it deserves. I hope you are hanging in there!

      • No problem, and yep :p just about hanging on here. I haven’t smoked anything either which is a small miracle, lol. So that would be on or near the two months mark now. Still pretty deep in it and stressed up to the eyeballs with it all, but deep breath eh? I await your response.

        Rich

    • Rich,

      First of all, it is not an easy thing to stay clean for 40-50 days, so that deserves some props. Good for you. Recovery is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but I know you will find it well worth it in the long run.

      The longer you stay clean, the better these symptoms will get. Hopefully you have read some more information about symptoms of MJ withdrawal by now and the length of time these symptoms can last. The irony of marijuana use is that people have always thought it makes them more creative and use this as a justification to use, but marijuana’s impact to the brain is just the opposite. Remember that whatever a drug does for you when you use it, in withdrawal it has the opposite effect. It does not mean that this effect is permanent, but it might feel that way because it can last a long time. Post-acute withdrawal sounds like what you are experiencing…and the length of PAWS varies depending on a lot of factors. But, with each passing day, your brain is healing…so keep it up!

      I can’t encourage you enough to find a support system somewhere. The best place would be some sort of 12-step meeting. Many people pick Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, even if they didn’t use that specific substance. It is the same 12-step process…and everyone with a substance problem has the same disease, so all should be able to relate in very similar ways (just different details, different stories). So, find yourself a group and start going. You can’t do this alone, period. You might have to force yourself to get out of the house at first, but this will get easier with time and practice. Addiction causes isolation, but you can change this by slowly practicing engaging with your environment and others.

      Re: depression, YES, you are likely depressed right now. That is a symptom of PAWS. You don’t have the dopamine that marijuana released in massive quantities flooding your brain anymore, so you don’t have pleasure, you have the opposite. Anti-depressants might help a tiny bit, but a majority of what you need is TIME. Time for your brain to start producing dopamine on its own again and then time for it to get back to a good level. You have chemically altered your brain for a long time, it is going to take a while for the brain to wake up and adjust back to the way it used to be. Luckily, your brain can and will bounce back from this…but it took a long time to get you to this point, lucky for you it won’t take you as long to bounce back. Research shows that the brain makes some really good progress with this around the 90-day mark…and continues on after that. At 6-months to 1 year you will likely start to feel like a new person. Exercise, vitamins, and eating healthy will do you a lot of good as well!

      Stick with it Rich! Every moment that you spend not using gets you closer to your goal of feeling better!

      DD

      • Thanks DD!

        And everyone else on this forum. Ru, and Dan, cheers for your comments also.

        I did go to an NA meeting, but I found it very difficult to be around a lot of people I don’t know. They were very welcoming, and extremely friendly, and I was my usual shy, awkward self (which I guess they are used to). The only two problems I had with NA was the spiritual/God (higher power) aspect and the complete abstinence from everything (even alcohol). I always get uncomfortable when people invoke “God” and with things like praying. I know it’s supposed to be the whole “higher power” thing which I guess is what I make of it, but for some reason holding hands and praying to God freaks me out.

        And as for the abstinence from everything, this leads me to another question. I personally wouldn’t say I have a problem with drinking and I don’t think I ever have had. I drink once every one to two weeks in a social setting (about 3-5 pints of lager or a bottle of wine in a sitting) and generally don’t feel the need to binge when I do – not like I did with weed. And at the moment these nights are my only social events and I’m not sure I’m ready or in the right brain space to be able to even try these sober.

        I have found though that the hangovers I get are pretty severe regardless of drinking water etc and these seem to exacerbate my PAWS symptoms something chronic. The questions I have regarding drinking are 1) will me drinking responsibly and only socially once a week/fortnight effect/slow down my recovery process (my dopamine production etc)? 2) If I were to continue going to NA, would they expect me to quit drinking also? 3) Do you think that stopping drinking would speed up my recovery? (may sound like silly questions, but I don’t know the answers myself). I guess part of me would love to be happy and content, sober 100% of the time. But when I find social interaction so hard atm, especially sober social interaction, it is nice to have that one night with a helping hand (ie a few drinks). But I would probably give stopping serious consideration if it was harming my recovery.

        If I don’t continue with NA, I will definitely start therapy or something. I am, as we speak, looking for therapists who have experience with withdrawals (would be nice if I could find an ex MJ smoker, but that is seeming impossible). I’m still having trouble convincing anyone that this is all related to withdrawals and PAWS. Everyone I have spoken to thinks that I am just depressed, and that’s all this is. ARGH! lol

        I did try anti depressants, but they sent me round the bend (and not in a good way), so time will have to be my healer.

        Thanks again for answering DD. As I’m sure has been said many a time, this site has literally been my only lifeline atm. I don’t really have anyone to talk to about all this right now, so this has massively helped. The light at the end of the tunnel, as it were. If only people were more aware of this.

        Cheers,

        Rich

      • Rich,

        Well, first I would say that it is VERY hard to get the feel of a 12-step meeting by going to just ONE. I would definitely recommend trying 90 meetings in 90 days and THEN forming an opinion about it. I would encourage you to go to a variety of locations because every meeting is different and you might feel uncomfortable in one meeting but feel totally at home in another, just by the “feel” of the crowd there. And, A LOT of people who have been users of MJ experience social withdrawal and social anxiety when around others. This is extremely common. The chances are that many others in the meetings with you feel the same way. You will need others throughout your recovery, so the best way to deal with this is by pushing yourself to go.

        With regard to your concerns about God/Higher Power – I will say this: when a substance has become a very important thing in your life (oftentimes the MOST important thing) and you’ve turned to it, sometimes multiple times per day for physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual relief, that DRUG has become your higher power. The DRUG had power over you – you did not have power over the DRUG. Now when you are encouraged to give your power up to someone, something, some higher power – for spiritual, physical, mental, emotional relief – NOW you are uncomfortable with that? 🙂

        The higher power idea is very simple – all the 12-step program asks is that you put your trust in something or someone else. Your higher power can be a Group Of Drunks (G
        -O-D) or your higher power can be a counselor, a sponsor, a friend in the program, or a website like this one. A higher power is simply that – a power greater than you that you call on for support, advice, information, etc. It does not have to be God, Buddah, Jesus, Jehovah, or any other. You get to choose who/what your higher power is and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Spirituality is a very personal thing – your own journey. Other people in 12-step programs might use God or Jesus – they may pray during meetings. If you want to do your own meditation during that time, do it. If you want to replace their GOD with your GOD during the prayer, do that. If you do not want to pray at all – that is your choice – so follow your heart. The bottom line is that the meetings are going to help you. There is a popular saying: Take what you can use and leave the rest behind. Get what you need to get out of the meetings and what you don’t need or want, you leave behind. I guarantee you that you will leave each meeting with at least something you could use to stay clean/sober for that moment or that day. And, you desperately need all of the tools that you can get – if you truly want to stay clean.

        As for use of alcohol – please read the part of this site titled Cross-Addiction for your answer. If you have any other questions about this, let me know. And, just to add to that, alcohol releases the same chemical (dopamine) that MJ does. And, although you may have never had a problem with alcohol in the past, at the time you were probably getting a dopamine boost other ways (MJ use? other pleasurable activities/compulsions?) and your brain did not “latch on” to the alcohol. Now that you are decreasing/stopping your use of MJ (and decreasing your boosts of dopamine every day), your brain is more likely to enjoy the boosts of dopamine that alcohol gives you. I would encourage you to try to see the bigger picture here — this is about mood-altering. Mood-altering is seeking a different feeling through the use of a chemical. If you are truly motivated to stay clean – then you might consider what your definition of “clean” is? If you’ve had problems with one substance, you have a really high chance of developing a problem with another substance – maybe not right away (after all, it is a progressive disease), but eventually it all comes down to dopamine. If you are placing importance on hanging on to any substance right now, I might question whether you are really ready for recovery. I’m not saying that you aren’t ready – maybe you haven’t thought about things in this manner. It is important that you consider what I am saying because cross-addiction is a real thing. Why take a chance? You will need to deal with your social anxiety and face people “clean” anyway in the future…why not try it now?

        One other danger with continuing use of alcohol is that alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes you more likely to do things that you wouldn’t normally do (like relapse). Also, research shows that alcohol is actually the “primer” for all drugs of choice. This is why crack cocaine users typically relapse on alcohol first and then find themselves using crack cocaine again. Alcohol releases chemicals that start cravings for other substances (this has been proven especially so with alcohol and crack cocaine). So yes, using alcohol will make it harder for you to stop your use of MJ. The other concern is that if you are using alcohol, you are more likely to find yourself in situations that may trigger you (people, places, things) with regard to MJ use (more likely to run into users of other substances or situations in which other substances are present). Your use level (3-5 pints in a sitting or a bottle of wine) is already at the borderline of a moderate-to-high level. The recommended limits are no more than 4 drinks per occasion for men. If you do decide to continue alcohol use, I would recommend keeping it to less than 4 drinks per day and less than 14 drinks per week. But, honestly, my recommendation would be to stop the use of any/all mood-altering, mind-altering substances (and compulsive behaviors, like gambling), period.

        Therapy might be a good idea – however, I might recommend avoiding any really deep emotional struggles right now. Best to keep yourself as stable as you can for as long as you can. So, if you do attend therapy, you might keep the topic on your recovery and building tools/adding sober days. I would reserve the heavier topics for when you have a good 6 months of recovery under your belt, just to be safe. Heavy emotional stuff can be a huge trigger and your brain is also not yet chemically equiped to handle heavy emotional stuff (your natural levels of dopamine that can help you with depression have not reached their baseline levels yet). Also, working the steps is a lot like therapy…and it is FREE.

        Best of luck to you in your recovery process…

        DD

  78. I can’t begin to thank you, Dopamine, and all the other posters here, especially Ru, for the excellent advice and insight into a problem I never felt I’d face. One I never believed existed. Oh how wrong I was!

    Like so many, I believed the lie of mj not being addictive. Over the course of my life, this lie was reinforced through my own experience. I’d go months or years without, then binge when I happened upon some. I never had any noticeable problems stopping other than maybe a week or two of being irritable (though in retrospect I now realize I did have withdrawal symptoms – I just didn’t recognize them as such).

    My life changed recently, however, when I turned to mj to help deal with my aging father, who’s mental illness has always made my life miserablel. Unlike prior episodes in my life, I had unlimited access to very high quality product, and before I knew it my use and tolerance were both ridiculously high.

    About 4-5 months later, my unlimited supply became limited, and I stopped cold turkey. That would signal the start to my living hell – one magnified by the fact that I didn’t know what was happening to me! So convinced that mj was not-addictive, I refused to put 2+2 together as my mental and physical health took a nosedive. I had horrible insomnia, nightmares that were so disturbing it would take me hours to forget them after waking, a non-stop sore throat, non-stop headaches and facial pain, non-stop stomach pain, bloating, and indigestion, incredibly painful back pains and muscle spasms, night sweats, hot flashes, cognitive problems, unimaginable anxiety, constant ringing in my ears, dry eyes, afternoon fatigue, and more.

    The next year saw me seeing doctor after doctor trying to find the cause of my host of troubles. Of course no answer was found. The closest I came to a solution was when my back doctor suggested I might have fibromyalgia. When I went online and looked up the symptoms, I started crying, because that described my condition absolutely! So, convinced that’s what I had, I looked for relief. And guess what’s popular now for treating fibro? Yeah – you guessed it. Back to the devil I went.

    Going back to mj gave me instant relief of some problems, but others remained or intensified (like anxiety). I’m not sure when I began to suspect mj might be the culprit, but eventually I worked up the nerve to try quitting to see what happened. My suspicions were confirmed when EVERYTHING I had experienced the first time around happened again. Only worse. I quicly reverted to a taper down because I feared that if I continued cold-turkey my physical problems would overwhelm my ability to function.

    I’m still not sure if this all has to do with mj. Perhaps the stresses in my life contribute. I’ve never heard of anyone having such severe symptoms as myself, and even reading comments like these there are still things I’m struggling to explain (I’ve never read of anyone having the kind of back pain and muscle spasms I’ve experienced – I literally get knots in my muscles at times when they’re at their worst). But at this point, looking back, it seems to be the most reasonable explanation. Everyone is different – but I sure would love to read someday that someone else has these same problems attributed to withdrawal from mj. The uncertainty and doubt are by far the hardest hurdles to face.

    I’m in the thick of it now – pretty miserable most of the time, and making everyone around me the same far too often. But I’m committed. I thought I had conquered the world when I quit nicotine. If someone had told me back then that cigs would be a breeze to quit compared to mj, I would have laughed in their face.

    Once again – and I’m sure it won’t be the last time – I’m rethinking everything I thought I knew.

  79. JR,

    You are farrrr from alone on this! Check these out!

    Uncommon Forum’s “Addiction” thread is like 99% THC

    http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=90072

    A couple you may like to read as well:

    http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=89664

    http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=90205

    Bless you JR!! Your story gave me chills. Hang in there!

    • I already have! But thanks so much for the links. Are you olschoolru on those forums? If so, I’m already a huge fan, though I’ve only lurked and never posted.

      Bless me? NO. Bless you. Your comments on this blog page alone have already served as a source of inspiration, courage, and hope. And if that’s you on the uncommon forums, then ditto that times 100.

      I hope that in time I can do the same as you – serving as a wonderful example of hope to those who wonder if they’ll ever be happy and healthy again.

      • That’s me JR. Glad it helped. one learns sooo much about oneself by helping others. It has helped my recovery tremendously.

  80. RICH!

    Sorry brother! I was just notified of a new post here. You’re case sound IDENTICAL to mine. The weird brain electricity feeling??!! Crazy. I actually heard my brain/head making the weirdest sounds and vibrations during my first 3 months. My wife and I thought I was brain dead. I was a 100% different person for at least the first 6-8 months. You’re old self will start coming back! Slowly, unfortunately, but I am a year and a half in and feel more motivated than I ever have been. My intelligence, sense of humor, and social skills are back and stronger than ever.

    I highly doubt that you need to smoke to write. Weed doesn’t write, you do. Once your brain is used to not needing this substance then it will reward you. You are training your mind right now. You have to learn another way to live. A way that your brain and body currently HATE you for and will do everything to get you using again.

    Check out this thread. Literally thousands of posts on how thc has destroyed people and how they overcame it.

    http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewforum.php?f=10

    Ru

    • Hey Ru,

      That’s all good, a response of any kind was worth the wait.

      That’s such a relief to hear. Although still so hard to believe at this point. I read one of your posts on the linked forum and it’s so true. I’m sat here reading everything and thinking, I’m just going to be stuck like this. Like it feels permanent. Like the only way to fix myself is to smoke again (not that I will do it, but my mind keeps thinking it nonetheless).

      What’s really hard is no one I know believes that weed can do this to people, so everyone just thinks I’m depressed and stressed (which I am, as an effect, not the cause) and they just look at me like I’m crazy.
      I’ve even had one guy on a forum I tried joining telling me that it’s definitely not the weed (as weed is harmless apparently) and getting really angry with me for saying weed was the cause of my anguish, and that I was obviously the problem, not weed. *sigh*

      I know that logically the writing is coming from within me, and that I’m able to write without weed, and fully committed to essentially learning how to do it all over again, I’m just incredibly frustrated with myself and my brain constantly screaming at me that I can’t do it without the weed (which is what it’s doing with everything else I guess, as well). It feels like I’ll never enjoy anything again. Which is nonsense really, but I can’t help get carried away with this complete lack of pleasure all the time.

      I think the hardest part for me is these weird headaches and cranial buzzing and definitely the brain fog. The brain fog and the seeming loss of intelligence. Did you find it hard to just talk to people, remember things/words and stutter? Honestly, it’s like I have a speech impediment now. It’s so bad that I shy away from almost all social interaction. Which makes “getting out there” one of the hardest things I’m finding at the moment. Messed up thing is, I’m training to become a lecturer for university, and I struggle to talk to/make eye contact with a checkout person at a bloody shop, let alone a group of judgmental young adults.

      Someone needs to invent a time machine so I can at least jump forwards a year, just for a second, and just to see that it’s all okay, and then I wouldn’t mind coming back and being like “It’s all good! It’s royally shit now, but I will be okay.”

      So hard to be positive right now.

      Thanks for reading and responding. It has helped a lot 😀

      Cheers,

      Rich

  81. good to know JR!

  82. Hang in there Rich.
    I was a 20+ year smoker (heavy use) I have been clean now for 7 months and I can say the first 5 months were the toughest 5 months of my life. Major anxiety and depression, doctor put me on strong anti depressants ( Paxil ) which helped with anxiety but caused other problems. I have now stopped taking them altogether. I still have good and bad days and never seem to get a good nights sleep I’m thinking it may take me 2 or 3 years too get over my addiction. If it helps I found fish oil with omega 3 a good thing for when I stopped taking Paxil. Look at it this way Rich you enjoyed your time smoking but you can’t do it for the rest of your life. It takes over your life and becomes a priority above all else. I have had no help other than this forum, I have hidden the truth from my wife and children as I’m sure they wouldn’t understand. 7 months in to my recovery I still get cravings every now and then but they soon pass. Dealing with everyday life without an escape is hard but keep something to look forward to and you will be OK.
    Best of luck with you future endeavours and know you are not alone.
    Regards…..Dan

    • Thanks man. It helps a s**t load just to know that others are going through or have gone through the same. It’s a massive weight off my shoulders just knowing that I’m not going crazy or what not.

  83. I am a senior citizen and a practicing psychotherapist who is so grateful to have discovered this blog!!!! I am one year off of Klonopin after being prescribed 20 years ago during a tremendously stressful period. I believe I am thru the worst of withdrawal, but struggle with cognitive problems such as brain fog and short term memory. I still work daily, but am frightened going forward that my cognitive problems will remain.
    This blog will be my “best friend” for awhile and I am praying that I will be better in another year. You are doing a wonderful service and I urge you to continue………Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! carol

    • Carol,

      Posts like yours always make my day and help motivate me and others to keep going. I’m glad you are studying things and making good decisions. After all, this blog was created to help, but you have to read it, understand it, and implement change in order to truly benefit…and that’s all YOU. So good for you! Keep up the good fight!

      DD

  84. I am glad to have found this sight as I feel it has given me some insight as to what is happening to me. Reading through some of the other testimonies has given me comfort at least knowing that I am not going crazy or dying.

    A bit about me:
    I am a 37 year old male, and have been a cannabis user for the past 20 years. I started using to alleviate the symptoms of chemotherapy which I had been given for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 17. Having been a fairly anxious, worrisome person in my youth, my oldest brother, whom is a doctor now, suggested I try it to help with anxiety. And, I must say, it helped me immensely. I was no longer on edge and worrying about everything. I was mellow, calm, and more agreeable. My use the next ten years was mainly smoking it. I had sampled pot brownies from time to time, but never really got into edibles. My main means was to smoke it. Anyway, soon I realized I was no longer using cannabis to remedy my anxiety and other ailments. I was using it mainly to get high.
    About 10 years ago, I discovered vaporizing cannabis. It felt so much cleaner on my throat and lungs, and I had enjoyed the experience so much more. I believed it to be a much safer method of delivery and decided I was going to try to phase out smoking cannabis completely. I must say that vaporizing cannabis also happened to be much more potent for me. I felt like I got much higher than smoking, and could take many more hits without ‘crashing’. This I believe to be one of the major dangers of vaporizing, in that there is no real way to tell when you’ve had enough.
    So, about 5 years ago, I was successful in completely eliminating smoking cannabis. I only vaporized, while maybe smoking or eating cannabis 2-3 times a year. I had felt I had made a big stride in improving my health by only vaporizing. Unfortunately, I would vaporize 3-5 times a day, at least 10 hits per session. I would also like to note that I have been clean from alcohol for the past 2.5 years, as that had really played havoc with my health in my 20’s. I have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and felt that alcohol really exacerbated that condition. I do not smoke tobacco, and have never used any other hard street drugs. I also am not on any prescription meds, and really have a hard time putting any pills in my system, unless it’s a vitamin.
    Well my epiphany came exactly 44 days ago. I was vaporizing to start my morning and had the worst experience of my life. About 10 minutes after my session, I became very faint and my vision blacked out for about 10 seconds. I fell to my knees and began to have a horrific panic attack that lasted about 3 hours. My entire body went numb, I felt like I was no longer in my body, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was having very demonic thoughts, and I felt as if my time here was up. I also want it to be known that I had begun using cannabis concentrates and hash for the past year and really feel that this changed my situation for the worst.
    So, I am now 44 days clean of cannabis and I honestly never want to touch the stuff again. But I must say, this has been the worst 6 weeks of my life. I feel as though I’ve experienced every withdrawal symptom that has been described on this forum. The first 2 weeks were horrible. No joy, extreme fatigue. I felt as though I couldn’t get myself out of bed most mornings. Very vivid, dark nightmares. strange numbness through out my body from time to time and extreme panic and irritability.
    As time has gone on, I feel that my symptoms have improved, but I still am miserable. I still am stricken with dizziness and spacey head. I awake in the middle of the night around 3 times a week in severe panic. I have aches and pains in my neck and head. I feel no pleasure in pretty much anything I used to do. I get about 3-4 hours of sleep a night if I’m lucky. I have strange numbing, prickly sensations throughout my limbs that come and go. Overall, I feel like a functional human, but I just feel like I’m going through the motions of life on autopilot.
    Today I had a slight panic attack at breakfast and a seriously throbbing headache that hasn’t seem to have gone completely.
    My concerns are that I will never feel normal again. I feel that 44 days should be more than enough time for me to feel half way normal. I admit some days I feel better than others, but 3 of 4 days are spacey, dizzy, drab days that I can’t wait to be over. I have been taking extra special care of myself. I exercise more than I used to. I eat extremely healthy. I’m on a large regimen of vitamins and mood balancing supplements. I take a very high quality protein powder to repair my brain. I meditate and do yoga every night for at least 15 minutes. I drink tons of water and green tea. I just feel like things have really not gotten much better. I am trying to hang in there, but this has been the most difficult 6 weeks of my life and I’m on the verge of going crazy. I have been to the doctor 3 times and the ER twice in the past 6 weeks and all things check out normal!!?? They gave me 20 1mg of Ativan for anxiety and I have only taken 8 in the past 6 weeks, as I do not want to become dependent on any other substances.
    Thanks for listening to me vent, and I hope for a brighter future for us all.

    • Hey Nate!

      HANG IN THERE!! 44 days is just the start. You have to be in it for the long run. It’s going to be tough, but you will be normal again! There is no doubt in my mind at all. You just have to believe it and want it. Vaporizing is serious business and your body has to first get everything out of your system. All the THC. Please read ALL of my posts because I think you will find all the answers there. Also, notice my progress from post to post. There is hope and you will make it through and be ten times stronger than you’ve ever been.

      Bless you!

      Ru

  85. I believe you will help, i have taken crystal meth for about 6 times Taking after a week or two weeks, but it feels like i am addicted, a day doesn’t go by without having havey cravings of meth and i want to stop taking as early as possible. What must i do? Please help.

  86. Hey everyone,

    I just reached my year and a half milestone and wanted to give everyone an update.

    Today, the only day that matters, I feel AWESOME! About 3 weeks ago I had my last episode and didn’t sleep for about 4 nights straight. Anxiety was bad, but not that bad honestly. My mind tried to put me in a panic by telling me that I was going to be like this forever.. AGAIN! Soooo tough to battle one’s mind. So,I picked up my journal and went through all the times early on that I felt that way. I read “this will NOT last forever… It’ll pass very very soon” and voila. I knew it was an episode and dealt with it accordingly. Before that, it had been about 4 months since I had any problems sleeping. I am ready for it to happen again. I recognize the early signs when it’s starting again and I get ready for it. The last episode was particularly tough, but I powered through it.

    If I had known I was going to feel this way last year, it would’ve been so much easier. The uncertainty was sooo hard to deal with. My mind was in OCD mode and I really believed that I had ruined my life forever. That was soo hard to deal with. So effing hard.

    When Robin Williams committed suicide last week, it really hit hard. I literally live across the bay from him. That could’ve been me or any of us. Robin Williams was fresh out of recovery when he hung himself and I can’t help but think that if he just would’ve made it through that particular epsiode, that he would be fine and smiling today. He was depressed and going through extreme withdrawals from God knows what. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was also recovering from marijuana on top of the cocaine and alcohol. The diagnosis of Parkinsons probably threw him over the edge. I am in my mid-30’s and he was in his 60’s. That is 30 more years of addiction than I and I have to keep in mind that one day that could easily be my fate if I don’t stay off of this stuff for life. Our minds are too fragile. I felt suicidal many times in my first 5 months. I just wanted the pain to go away. Never felt like that before quitting marijuana. It was too much to bear.

    Hang in there people!! I am PROOF that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It all boils down to how much you really want it. A year and a half, in my case, is a drop in the bucket for making the rest of my life as beautiful as it can be. I am stronger and happier than I have been in a very very very long time.

    OSR

  87. Thanks for the reply, Ru.

    It has been 61 days without and I feel miserable still. Insomnia, anxiety, quivering chest, numbness and tingling limbs, dizziness, depression, fatigue, and headaches are the main symptoms that plague me at this point. I felt a week ago that I was actually feeling half way decent, but this past week I was stricken with the worst spacey, foggy, dizziness I’ve felt throughout this withdrawal process. These symptoms have really left me detached from my body and make me feel like I’m wandering through the days a zombified sloth trapped in time.

    It is very reassuring to read your story, Ru, and to know things are going well for you and that my future will be bright again. I wish only the best for anyone having to endure this and pray that very few people have to go through with these severe of symptoms withdrawing from cannabis. I would have never thought that 2 months of time was only the beginning.

    I am a very strong willed spirit who has endured cancer, alcoholism, and now this. I will not be using cannabis again and I will vehemently attempt to educate people on the hardships that extreme cannabis use can instill. I will make it to a better day, this I know!

  88. Hi, I’m pushing 8 months clean of a 20+ year addiction of heavy use. I have my good and bad days. My biggest issue is depression and anxiety. Having to fight everyday. It’s comforting to know that all will pass one day but at this stage I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. I woke up this morning in a panic. I can’t wait until I reach the point your at now. Thanks to all for sharing your experience as I feel better knowing I will feel better one day.

  89. Dans,

    I was an absolute mess at 8 months. It seemed like a very long time at the moment, but it wasn’t. I started to feel better at the 1 yr mark. Keyword “started.” I had a lot of those mornings and now that level of anxiety is pretty much gone. Can’t wait til you post your 1 year anniversary!

    Ru

  90. Hi Ru, feel like I have gone backwards, was feeling ok for a bit no stress, but now feeling down again depression has found its way back. I was on Paxil for 4 months then stopped taking it. Felt ok after getting over the side effects of Paxil. If I get worse I will have to go back to an anti depressant.
    I appreciate your support. Thank you

    • Sorry, but I wasn’t notified of your reply. You will most definitely feel like you went backwards. It won’t last and you’ll be on the upswing again. There is no doubt about it. How’s it going now?

      • Hey i been smoking since 20 to 21 off n on n around 22 is wen i started to blow heavy cuz my mom passed away n i am now 25 bt last year around 420 i quit for like 3 months bt picked it back thinking i can control it bt end up smoking every day bt the symptoms are the same bt a lil more worrying. Im day 37 some days after my 30 day mark and my symptoms jus came out if no where n took away all of my energy n my appetite went back down i was jus eating like a hog bt around friday my sleep haven’t been the best lastnite i can say was atleast decent bt was shaking today to and wonder wat could b possibly going on here jus last week n the week before i was ok n i found this site in need of motivation every morning since my paws came back it feels jus wen i stopped the beginning of last month n ru seeing that u went the worst how long did each symptom last for going into your 2nd month reading these post helps me cope with it bt if u have any enlightenment on this can u help thanks.
        Romell

  91. Hello Ru, mornings are tough but it gose away mid morning. I have started back on Paxil 20mg. Only a 1/2 tablet in the morning. Work stress has backed off a little so im going OK. Time is passing quickly so I know that i will be over it soon. Thanks again…..

  92. Thanks for the blog. I found it after researching tobacco withdrawals on Science Daily today. After months of hell and lack of information I recognise and must accept my dopamine deficiency. For tobacco. I particularly note that tobacco gets no mention at the start of this blog tho. So delete my comment if N.A.
    Symptoms on Champix were severe; cut by half then had to cut out. At last I could get up to 3 or 4 hrs sleep and the mood swings became less dangerous. Not going onto NRT after desensitising for three months (been there before; I’ll only start smoking again) but now I know many of my remaining symptoms are dopamine related, what should I do? Another 2 years of brain sluggishness while dopamine production may or may not recover? Prescription meds? Smoker for 40 years. No other dependencies.
    Any ideas?

    • Deb,
      Certainly tobacco is a drug and it does impact dopamine levels and can lead to increased depression after quitting. However, I don’t feel I have enough information to respond. How long have you been without nicotine? How old are you? What exactly are the symptoms that are bothering you so badly?

      Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal:

      Withdrawal is different for every smoker‚ but here is a list of the most common symptoms:
      •Feeling down or sad
      •Having trouble sleeping
      •Feeling irritable‚ on edge‚ grouchy
      •Having trouble thinking clearly and concentrating
      •Feeling restless and jumpy
      •Slower heart rate
      •Feeling more hungry or gaining weight

  93. Hi, nice to hear back from you. Late 50s, smoker for 40 years, cut down to 1 daily since early May, last smoke 26 June. I am trying to deal with adjusting my PhD thesis after examination process. Sleeping improved after stopped Champix 26/8, but still very poor mental function. Anxiety-depression oscillations reduced but still present. Always been 52-53 kg on a small frame, but physically active and strong. Now gained 8 kg, but eating/appetite had not increased. Elimination of the few treat foods I eat made no difference. Jumpy, poor physical co-ordination, dropping things, loss of physical strength, blurry vision/difficulty focussing, speech dysfunction (speaking in spoonerisms; inability to call up words; reduction in vocabulary), fatigue. Lack of concentration, poor memory, social withdrawal. Immune system challenged: two common colds followed by two bouts influenza with only 2 1/2 weeks in between the flus. Very rundown now, can’t keep up usual physical life and fitness. After some concerted research, I’ve started on St Johns Wort and am making home made chocolate, seems to smooth things out so far. Dropped coffee months ago. Over to you.

    • Wow, it certainly sounds like you’ve had a rough time of it. Since it hasn’t been quite 90 days since your last use, I would first suggest giving it a little more time and note if there is any improvement at all. In my experience with other addictive substances, these symptoms do tend to slowly subside over time. However, I am not a doctor – so I would always recommend seeing a doctor if these symptoms are bothering you to the degree that they seem to be. The symptoms you’ve mentioned seem to be ones that definitely could be related to nicotine withdrawal, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a physical and be more certain that nothing else is going on. Have you been to see your doctor and had lab work? Sometimes something as simple as a vitamin deficiency can be the culprit (it is quite common now for most people to be deficient in vitamin D and you sometimes have to specifically ask for this to be tested). Low Vitamin D can contribute to depression, weight gain, poor energy levels, brain functioning, etc.

      The other issue that might be complicating things is your recent discontinuation of the Champix. Champix triggers the release of dopamine, so this could have impacted your dopamine levels and thus, when you stopped it, contributed to symptoms of depression and other “brain-related symptoms”. So, the real date you might need to start counting the 90 days from may be the date that you stopped the Champix (Aug 26), which has only been 3 weeks ago. The Champix site does warn people about potential changes in mood, thoughts, and behavior. Technically, it could all be related to Champix, unfortunately. 😦 How long were you taking the Champix?

  94. Hi again,
    It’s great that the depression-anxiety swings are much better. That’s important.
    Yes, I realised I should get enough sunshine, I have been taking in sunshine 10-30 mins daily, most days for the last two weeks. The multi-vit capsules I’ve started about 2 weeks ago contain Cholecalciferol (Vit D3) 200 IU.
    I did recently find out about Champix’s moderation of dopamine deficiency, indeed this is what set me off on a new line of concern. That I might be headed for 2 years of feeling like this before my system starts to produce enough dopamine again, or worse, not be able to recover capacity to produce it.
    I started Champix on 1st May, halved dose 6th June, ceased 26 August.
    I have to give my body a chance to correct itself before asking about pharmaceutical options. My doctor seems disinterested in my problems. I have been thinking about changing doctors or getting more assertive.

  95. Im on day 37 n im experiencing paws n Friday night was hard for me to sleep jus lastnite was decent but i have no energy no motivation my appetite was threw the roof Friday n before then bt by Friday night only had like a total of 5hrs of sleep Saturday night the same. Found this site n it has been getting me threw my ups n downs n hearing people have been smoking 20years + n recovering ik i can n actually this is my 2nd time quitting last year i quit around 420 n started back 3months later thinking i can control my habit bt end up using heavy again around August 2013 bt now stopping cuz i’ve been winging myself off n September 1st was day one for me bt multi vitamins been my bf even healthy foods, reading, movies, my girl n my son have been my motivation bt still no energy of any sort any advice would be real helpful thanks
    Romell….

  96. Good article ut can tell u haven’t experienced withdrawls first hand.
    I guess it is all relative. I a dmitt I laugh at withdrawls from less addictive drugs, but know I should t, jus being honest. I have been withdrawing rather intensely from methadone for 40 days now. These withdrawls are like waves of pain rape followed by adrenaline shots of complete panic for no reason. Sorry to be so graphic but a lesser description jus doesn’t do it justice. Any real sleep is a blessing but at least a this point can sleep and notice things slowly one percentage point at a time getting better. They say it takes 90 days to notice difference and I dont doubt that for a sec.
    I have quit just about every drug out there, but this is a whole other ballgame.
    stay away from methadone at all cost. If w ithdrawling from lesser opiate know it could be so much worse. Draw strength from this. I know if I make it thru this I make it thru anything. I have talked who have kicked methadone and they all say 10 times harder than having baby. Men who have have broke there back say they would rather break there back again than what they went thru. Not trying to scare anybody jus want them to be prepared for war when ready. Constant pain. At a level 7 or 8 is worse to me than a 9 or 10 for short period. Will be hardest thing ever do but is what is needed to make the brain/ body want to puke when thinking about opiates.
    I know I will never take again. Screw this, will never do this again. Would seriously consider a bullet if had to.

  97. When you day that you laugh at “withdrawals from lesser drugs” you must mean marijuana- you know the drug that stays in your system about a 100,000,000% longer than methadone. I’ve done methadone and got off of it with absolutely no problems at all. You must understand that different drugs are more addictive to others. Some people have horrific withdrawals from caffeine as well. Do you laugh at that also? Maybe your issue is that you need to grow up and stay in your own lane before you jump in other’s.
    So whatever badge of honor methadone and heroin addicts think they should hold because they made it through that, no one really cares. I bet you smoke weed and swear that you used it to get off of methadone and that it’s not a problem. I’ve heard it all before.
    Congrats on your decision to quit methadone and sorry that you believe you’re stronger than other addicts.

    Ru

  98. Day 50 and I’m feeling better but just got hit with insomnia again couldn’t sleep lastnite and a slight panic attack. I’m trying to cope still to get through my withdrawal symptoms and these have been truly helpful through my situation. Jus hoping and wishing everybody heals and get through this with ease and im not 100% but there are good days and bad days we just need to stick it out for the best. By the way good job on everybody’s recovery and god bless lets jus get through it.
    Romell

  99. So I am now 127 days abstinent from cannabis after about 10 years of daily use. I have been vaporizing hash concentrates and oil mixed in with the buds for about the past 2 years daily. My initial post is above, so you can gather more from that, but let’s just say that I believe that I really messed myself up. I think I may have triggered some kind of brain dysfunction or anxiety disorder during the last time I used. I must admit that about 3 weeks ago I felt almost half way normal. I was sleeping decent, my mood was decent, and most of my physical symptoms had gotten much less severe. However, about 2 weeks ago, I was awaken in the middle of the night in full panic mode. My body floating, hands and feet tingling and numb, shaking and quivering. Plus, I was unable to get back to sleep for almost 6 hours. So, now for the past two weeks I have had varioations of these same night time panic attacks and insomnia. About 3 nights out of the past two weeks I have gotten decent sleep. All the rest of the nights have been either wrought with insomnia, panic, or both. At this point i feel like I have gone backwards. My mood has gotten more depressive, I can’t get proper rest, and i seem to have a generalized anxiety all day and then wake up in a panic attack of some kind. I would also like to add that these past two weeks have left me quite fatigued, which has prevented me from working out at the gym with confidence. A month ago, I could push myself pretty hard at the gym without worry. But now the past two weeks when I work out harder, I get woozy and light headed and fatigued. I am really concerned that something else is permanently wrong with me. I am now a little over 4 months clean and really don’t feel close to normal or happy. I know others have taken much longer to start feeling well, but this is just tormenting. I feel like I’m missing out on life everyday and that time is just passing me by. I would also like to add that I hVe been taking better care of what I eat, drink, and also am on many supplements in hopes of speeding my recovery. I have researched the HPA axis of the brain and how withdrawal adversely effects the homeostasis of this system. I believe that it is severely broken somehow and was wondering how long it takes before it gets back to normal, as I believe this to be the source of all my symptoms. I had to take .5 mg Ativan last night just to sleep. I’m not really panicking as much as a week ago at night, just major insomnia. I’m usually halfway decent during most of the afternoon and evening, it’s always an hour after I goto bed that the panic attacks begin…anyway. I’m done. Good luck to everyone.

  100. I am in the process of producing a documentary on the negative effects of marijuana. Please support this effort. Promo video is at http://www.othersideofcannabis.com. Website has great articles too.

  101. We are looking for ethnically diverse interviews for the documentary. Anyone who has had a history with marijuana abuse and is Hispanic, Black, Asian, or other diverse ethnicity and would like to be in the film, please get in touch: info@othersideofcannabis.com
    http://www.othersideofcannabis.com

  102. MJ withdrawal is not easy, your brain tries to trick you at times – like thinking, i’ll just have a little each night or just tonight with my friends. The truth is like many things in life it depends what you want because most potheads don’t reach for the stars, even though they are sky high. I have realised this, and i want it bad, it has held me back for too long, i am willing to crush my phone… forget my homeboys because ‘Sometimes you have to change everything about yourself, just to be somebody’. Its a long road but you must assume the control over your mind you have lost and remember the smokers you know – what have they got… 90% of them are crows, if you want to be an eagle you must soar alone… until you meet other eagles. Do not give up, deny your brain, fight it, laugh at the weak cravings because you are angry with MJ, angry with yourself, you know people who are pathetically wasting their time – f*** them too……… they are not strong enough to Quit, they want to, but can’t because – ” I’ve tried, i can’t do it.. i can’t sleep ” – which one of my old friends told me. LoL. He never will with that attitude. They ALL want to stop but they can’t and don’t even consider it because they are weak, YOU are strong, YOU are able. I know you are, just to be on here reading this. I would advise anyone to research the following Herbs and supplements to ease your fight and strenghten your resolve -Green Tea, to cleanse your blood and brain – Lemon Balm, to calm your mind – Choline for your brain and to stop racing thoughts/paranoria – Vitamin C to strenghen your immune system and balance your mood – Rhodiola, a very important adaptogen for re-calabrating your whole system – Last but in Noway least – The mighty – Kudzu, a root from Japan with dramatic effects on your cravings and it has a powerful effect on brain receptors, to shut those little b****** up good – also drink pure lemon juice in hot water- Allday. Your brain has declaired war on YOU because it can’t get what it wants, these supplements are your Legions to take the fight to your brain and as you start to Win you will understand that you are in the process of controlling your brain, not the other way around. Do not start getting your fix from other things like porn or alcohol, control your other vices too. If you do relapse with MJ – because we are human, make it a one off, get back on the wagon the next day. You are trying just reading this thread, you will do it because You are Strong. Repeat in your mind, ‘I am calm, I am strong…’ in difficult moments.

    • If you can’t sleep research Magnesium, Lemon Balm and Green Tea, it works for me. ”Look into my eyes… you are feeling very sleepy… you can feel your eyelids getting heavier and heavier… everytime you breathe out you are falling deeper and deeper into a relaxed state”… K? 🙂

      • Well I have stopped after a good 8 or 9 months of heavy usage…like 3 to 6 times a day…its now day 28 and has been hard…the depression anxiety stomach pains goes on. Reading all the comments have helped me a lot and best of luck to every one going through withdrawals of any kind…would like to know if me being at home continuously could be the reason that I feel worst cause I smoked at home most of the time

  103. Yes, I have thought the same thing at times, because I often feel so much better being out somewhere. It’s easier to keep positive and not get too agitated, because there are different sets of things happening. D.

    • Thanks debhunter8…from tomorrow I will be going out for driving Lessons hope that helps me and yes being in the place where I smoked can be a problem

  104. It’s now 5 months and three days in tobacco withdrawal; and 3 months and 3 days since quitting Champix (varenicline). I have been using a herbal medicine and St John’s Wort infused oil prescribed for me by a herbal practitioner. Due to delay in mail order, I went off the herbs for four days two weeks ago and agitation, anxiety and depression returned big time. Blood tests revealed vit D deficiency, been taking that for 3 weeks. Increased physical activity, at least I sleep well the night after lap-swimming, and that’s good. But the gaining of 11 kg in the first few weeks since quitting varenicline has not really shifted- I have lost only 2 kg and it’s been steady for nearly 2 months. I was only 52 kg all my adult life. I have asked my Doctor again for dopamine testing but he refused and wrote me a script for seratonin. I won’t take it because I do not fit the profile for seratonin deficiency. Bit of a hard decision to change doctors, though.
    Should I change doctors and chase dopamine treatment? Any discussion welcome.

  105. I smoked marijuana multiple times a day for 15 years since I was 14, I’m now 29. I recently quit because I experienced a panic attact one day and after that smoking gave me anxiety. It’s been 75 days so far and it’s definitely been the hardest thing I’ve ever went through. Everything comes in waves but the worst is the depresssion. All the things I normally do that make me happy or excited I have no interest for. Sleep has been a lot better lately and the anxiety comes and goes. Even when I break out of the depression for a few days or a week I don’t feel happiness or any other feelings, i don’t really feel anything. Very little emotion. I know I’m never going to go back to smoking again because it doesn’t make me feel good anymore, just gives me extreme anxiety, so that’s not an option. I’ve been working out and running atleast 5 days a week and I really think that helps a lot. Every time the depresssion hits it’s hard for me to convince myself that it’s just withdrawl and I’ll get over it. It feels like I will be miserable forever and it’s pretty scary. I’m starting to forget what being normal feels like. Hopefully everything eventually gets better. I’m recently married and have my first baby on the way so I want to get better and be able to be the best husband and father I can be. This should be the happiest time of my life but is just the opposite.

  106. AJS,

    You are doing the right thing! It’s now or never. Hang in there buddy! Your wife and child deserve it!

    Ru

  107. Thanks Ru, I read your posts when Im feeling low sometimes and they always seem to make me feel better. Hope you are doing well, Thank you

  108. My story is very similar to yours except I didn’t stop until I turned 36. I found the only way to stop the anxiety and depression was to get on to paxil anti depressants. The first 6 months was unbearable for me. I have 3 children and decided enough was enough. Paxil saved my life. I’m now 13 months clean and starting to half my dose of Paxil each day. I will hopefully stop paxil in the next month or two.
    Hang in there it will get better. But if the pain gets unbearable talk to your GP about Paxil. Good luck.

  109. Just a brief disclaimer to add to Dans comment. Dans, I’m glad you found something that was so helpful for you. However, every individual responds differently to each antidepressant. What works for your particular brain chemistry might not work well for someone else. Oftentimes it is a “trial and error” game to find which one works best for each individual. It is best to consult with a psychiatrist or, better yet, and addiction medical professional (addictionologist), to determine #1 if an antidepressant is needed, and #2 which one might fit best for the individual and their symptoms/medical history.

    AJS, hang in there! You are doing the right thing. Depression is a completely normal and expected thing for those whose brains are used to being bombarded with chemicals that induce dopamine. Your brain will take a while to re-adjust, but it will get better with time. It has only been 75 days – it should start to get progressively much better at 90 days…but you can still expect some rough patches. The longer you go, the better it will get. Keep exercising and taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and you’ll get there.

  110. Thank you very much for the support. I appreciate everything. I’m confident I have what it takes to get through this.

  111. You are correct, I tried 3 different antidepressants before finding one that worked for me. If someone is suffering its worth a try. I had to stop cold turky after 22 years of heavy daily use. The pressures of a new job, big morgage and 3 children just about drove me mad. I feel that an antidepressant that helps with anxioty might be the difference between make or break.

  112. I have heard your story numerous times in filming our documentary. You are not alone!
    http://www.othersideofcannabis.com

  113. Greetings everyone –

    Long time lurker here. Whenever I go through another attempt at stobreity from weed I come here for help. This time though I need more help than usual!

    I’ve been weaning off since the first of the year, from experience I know cold turkey isn’t the way to go. Last Friday was my first day without. I went until Sunday night and had a few tokes, then nothing yesterday or today.

    But today I worked too long and hard without much food and fell ill this afternoon. Took me 2 hours to make the 20 minute drive home, then threw up bile (empty stomach) just before getting home. I’ve been resting since but 6 hours later still have a bit of a headache and just feel lousy. I’m dreading what might happen tomorrow if I can’t make it through the work day.

    Long story short, I don’t want to toke again but know I have a big day of work tomorrow. I really can’t get sick on the job withiut causing a whole lot of grief, so I’m thinking a few tokes tonight to hopefully let me get through tomorrow, then back on the wagon.

    What do ya’ll think? How long to taper off? I’ve gone a month on half ration, two days without, then a few tokes, and then a day and a half without. I hate to drag this out any longer than I have to but really have to reduce these acute symptoms at least through tomorrow.

  114. Great that you’ve taken the first step which is deciding to quit.
    Unfortunately, cold-turkey is the only way to quit marijuana. Moderation does not work for an addict.

  115. I was wondering if someone could answer this question. Is it bad to have a glass of wine once or twice a week while recovering from marijuana addiction. I never really over drink or drink everyday. On day 92 right now and throughout that time i’ve had maybe 1 drink a week. Was wondering if that would undo any progress I have made. Thanks

    • Hey AJS –

      It doesn’t look like anybody else is answering so I’ll give this a shot. Mind you I’m no expert on the matter.

      Weed has always been my weak spot, alcohol not so much. So for me, a drink here or there doesn’t hurt anything. I bought a 4 pack of Guinness around the beginning of the year, drank one the first week, then had another last week. And gave the other two away to a friend.

      I figured I would want them to help with the insomnia that I usually get with MJ withdrawal, but the symptoms haven’t been that bad this time around.

      Personally I think as long as it doesn’t become a habit it should be OK.

      • excellent reply FiveWeeks! Glad you are doing better!

        Anthony, I really cannot add anything more to this, except how critical an age you are in the development of your brain. Don’t let weed limit your greatness! And don’t let it come bite you in the ass when you are an adult! Quit now and don’t look back!

        Ru

    • I apologize for not responding sooner, AJS. Certainly every person has to decide for themselves what is best for their recovery – and some figure it out along the way through “trial and error” – and then learn that way what works best for them. I will give you some insight on the science behind it — then you can decide from there. Alcohol releases the same chemical in the brain that any other addictive substance does (dopamine, the pleasure chemical). If you have a propensity towards addiction to a substance, you likely have a propensity for addiction to ANY substance (and possibly to behavioral addictions such as gambling, sex, food, etc). So,, alcohol could become a new problem very quickly if you use it to try to help with getting you off of the old problem. It is a pretty classic, common strategy that has gotten many into trouble. If you were to consult with experienced professionals who work in inpatient treatment or regular members of 12-step groups…or addictionologists, I believe their answer would be that you are likely to be taking a gamble with your recovery by using alcohol. Also, if you think about it, alcohol lowers the inhibitions – that is, it makes us more likely to do things that we wouldn’t normally do if we weren’t using alcohol. So, it might set you up to use your original drug of choice, marijuana. In fact, there is research out that that shows that alcohol is the true “gateway” drug – because it releases other chemicals in the brain that make it harder to resist your drug of choice. Research has shown a HUGE connection between alcohol and cocaine – and many in recovery from cocaine addiction will tell you that their relapses often started with alcohol. Check out the NIDA website for the actual research on this.

      I guess I would also ask you to consider – is it worth it? Is it worth taking the risk? And, if you really find it that difficult to quit marijuana on your own, there are other ways without resorting to using alcohol to cope with the symptoms. Perhaps trying an outpatient program would help? Attending more 12-step meetings, seeking support from friends or other professionals may help. Distracting yourself with positive activities is another healthy option. There are also inpatient programs that do assist with detox and treatment for marijuana dependence, if you want to go that route. There are options, it might just take a little more work/effort on your part.

      Good luck with it! Keep up the fight. Every day you go without using is a day that you are beating this awful disease, so, good for you!

      Dopamine Dialogue

  116. Hello ,

    I met your blog through the RU, he is a member of a forum that you probably know, called ” uncommonforum “. I came here to look for some help and would like to post something to have some advice, but reading all that RU posted and Your answers I do not see any reason to do it.

    I’m recovering from marijuana addiction, I smoked for 1.8 years and I decided to stop cold turkey 6 months ago and since my quitting I am suffering from PAWS. Things have improved over time, but in the last 4 days got worse again, I’m quite depressed, thoughts racing, anxious, headache and bad/strange feelings.

    Anyway I would like to congratulate your blog and all the help you provide.

    Thank you!

    Fiveweeks

  117. Welcome fiveweeks!

  118. Hi fiveweeks
    all i want to say to you is do not let people make you insecure about paws and tell you that there is something wrong with you because what you described sounds like exactely like paws i am going through the same thing i cam to trust people like Ru who has shown the way through real experience we will come out of this be strong i wish you the
    BEST

  119. hi my name is anthony I started smoking weed when I was 13-14 now I’m 16 and I stopped about a month ago & I see no changes. I still feel lees motivations and alot of brain fogs when I’m in a conversation with someone. I am socially depressed & I have badly insane deoression and a I just want to know if I will get better & will my brain heal after smoking weed. Please write back ! I need good advice.

    • Anthony,

      First I want to say that it is such a huge step that you have taken it upon yourself to stop using. Many people don’t even get to that point, so, good for you. And, Fiveweeks is right…what you are experiencing is totally normal for someone who has just stopped about a month ago. Decreased motivation, brain fog, and depression are probably some of the more common signs. The good news is that each day that you go without using, your brain is healing. It will just take time – give a good 90 days total for you to start to feel significant changes…and even then it may take a while longer. Things will get better. Also, a big part of recovery depends on what you do during this time as well. Try not to isolate yourself from other people or activities. Try to engage as much as possible. Push yourself to get out and exercise if you can, that will help a great deal. The suggestions made by Fiveweeks were really good. I would also add that you should avoid alcohol or other chemicals. Talking to someone on a regular basis who can understand what you are going through would be great too. Feel free to post here whenever you need to do so — you do have support!

      Keep up the good work!

      DD

    • Anthony, would you be willing to let us use your post anonymously or with just a first name for our website comments page? http://www.oscdoc.com.
      Thank you for your consideration. It would help others.

  120. Hey Anthony,

    Please read the comments of this blog and you will see that what is happening to you is a “normal” process for some people who are quitting MJ. This depression and brain fog are part of the healing process of your brain. I’m in 8 months and I can say that things will improve with time, this journey is a roller coaster, very bad times and other not to much.

    Some people quit marijuana and do not go through it, others take three months, others six and up to 2 years for everything to return to normal.

    I went through really bad times during this period and eight months later I still do not feel 100%, maybe 70-75% … other times i think 60% i don`t know, as i said it`s a roller coaster…

    What I can recommend you:

    – Patience
    – Faith, practice something, go to a church or something that makes you feel good
    – Go to the gym
    – Practice sports
    – Ride a bike or something
    – Talk always about what you are thinking or feeling with someone, no matter how absurd it may seem.
    – Take vitamins L-theanine and Fish Oil, it helps.
    – Stay away from drugs such as antidepressants and benzos, only if it is EXTREMELY necessary.
    – Eat healthy.

    Also visit this forum: http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewforum.php?f=10

    You will see that there are many people going through it and it is also important that you look for success stories such as: Olskoolru, Amoeba, Bobthebuilder, Biggiesize and others …

    Your decision to quit is very important my friend, you were really brave. You are young and have a lot to live yet, so stay strong in your decision, for sure this is one of the best decisions you’ve made in your life, because there are many people who spend 15-20 or more years smoking marijuana and then realize they lost a lot of time in a world of illusions, then lets go to reality!!

    God bless~

  121. Hi is anthony again. Ever since I started smoking weed my interaction with people is really bad. When I have a conversation with someone my brain just go blank. Is really hard to explain but before I started using I was never like that I can have periods of long lasting conversation with someone no problem. Ever since I started using all of that changed it feels like my brain is dull and I’m not the same guy anymore. I just wanna know if it germts better by the time? By the way I’m 16 now & I started smoking when I was 13 and I stopped about a month ago. Please write back.

  122. Hi Antony,

    Happens to a lot of people. I would certainly try to see a therapist that specializes in addiction to help you through this very difficult time. That happened to me as well.

    I think you will definitely be back to your old self after you are through this.

    ru

  123. I’m new to your blog but not new to withdrawals. This is my third time withdrawing cold turkey from narcotics. I was prescribed them by my PCP since 2009. Each time is worse than the last with this set of withdrawals being particularly awful. I think I am over the worst of it physically, now, on day 8. I’m even sleeping (with the help of benadryl and melatonin). However I have zero energy. I can barely take a shower. Eating is a chore. My brain also feels tired and confused and unable to cope with all this. I know you can’t answer how long until I feel myself again- but do you know why this withdrawals are so severe compared to the past? Same dosage- but each time I started back on hydrocodone, it took less time for physical dependance to occur, and the coming off is worse. I was prescribed these for a type of rheumatoid arthritis.

    • Lily,

      When I worked detox, we typically gave people who were coming off of opiates a time-line of about 2 weeks for the worst of the withdrawals to pass. That is different for everyone, but I know with each passing day your symptoms will improve. Look for the document at the bottom of the “withdrawal” section of this blog called “post-acute withdrawal coping” and consider doing any number of those things to help yourself get through this time and the days/weeks to come as you enter the post-acute withdrawal phase. I would say that the answer to your last questions isn’t a simple answer, but I’m sure you’ve heard others talk about how addiction progresses/gets worse over time. So, your tolerance continues to go up, meaning you also will likely be more sensitive to withdrawals and experience them more intensely. If you think about it from the “evil disease” perspective, this is the disease’s way of trying to get you using again by making it harder and harder for you to quit. Biologically, if you understand that addiction has now become a pleasure drive that works on the same pleasure pathways as other natural pleasures that are key to our survival (food, sex, etc), you can understand that this is a natural occurrence and is designed to keep you alive (but it is actually bringing you closer to death – that’s the crossed wire that has occurred in the brain). This is the twisted nature of addiction at work and it is what makes this disease so horrible and, as they say, so “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” Hang in there! And, good for you for writing on this blog and seeking out help. Please keep us posted on your progress and don’t hesitate to reach out again if you want/need to do so.

  124. Thank you for your response. My physical issues are much better now. Still not sleeping well and I am getting more and more worn down. My husband points out that I am doing a little better each day.

    There were points in the past week that withdrawal was so bad I was very tempted to go back on narcotics and try to taper down. I think that I wasn’t even using them fully for pain relief anymore, but to manage withdrawals. My body would start hurting with stomach issues and widespread aches and pains. For a long time I thought it was my arthritis pain saying- ‘hey, I’m starting to hurt again and ready for the next dose! ” which got higher and higher as physical tolerance developed. I now know that this was not pain I was feeling, but withdrawals. So I was stuck in a cycle of taking pills to avoid feeling withdrawals. I was miserable. I am certain that had I given into temptation to go back and try to taper down, I would have been unsuccessful.

    I have been starting to feel depressed in addition to lethargic. I read that your brain makes many more receptors to deal with the flood of opiates and dopamine. And when you stop taking opiods, the brain cannot produce enough to satisfy all the new receptors, which can cause many of the things I am feeling. I am looking forward to the day I can start to feel normal again. Thankfully my brain IS still able of making small amounts of feel good chemicals on it’s own, still- for instance when my husband massages my legs, etc- I feel good from it. I’ve read cases of people being unable to manufacture this on their own and I am fortunate my case is not as severe as that.

    I’m feeling totally depleted. I;m taking vitamins and still resting. I feel as tho I have been sick / resting forever. I’m grateful for this blog 🙂

  125. Lily, it sounds like you are really doing the right things – good for you for sticking with it! You are also doing well to educate yourself about these things and recognize that so much of this is related to withdrawal. Keep up the good work! Hang in there…it will get better with time!

  126. hi
    I was drinking hash in the te’ for 8 months twice a day, I aI stopped cold
    Turkey 60 days ago but since then I am suffering evey day in fact I don’t
    know If I am in paws or acute, a day I have anxiety an other day dizziness
    light headed that feeling that you are going to faint or losing counsciuness but you are not, an other day panic attack day, sometimes headache at night couple of times sleep paralisy when waking up,vivid dreams, feeling of being space out, all this symptoms the go in cirlce, I couple of time I was drinking alchol and using hash at the same times not a good idea but I just did it 3 times,I went a lot of times to the doctor they check my blood, blood pressure but they said I don;t have anything,they gave sertraline but I never took it, when I will come back normal? now it 2 months that I stopped using it in, I am 2 months free when I was used for 8 i am 2/8, they time to recover should be less than the time that I spent using it isnt? they only good things i can sleep now but most of the time in the morning I can’t at night

    Thank you for your help.

  127. I had few bad trips during the times that I was using it, I did not plan to quit but I gradually reduced the dose because because I was everyday high without need to take more hash, but suddenly a day I was almost fainting and quit 60 days until now but I don’t t he reason why I had the feeling to faint, I did not think about the hash i thought I was just sick so I left and the fist week was terrible I went twice to the hospital but they though It was just anxiety but until now I am still space out.I hope my brain will be ok.

    • Kop, what you are experiencing is exactly what I went through. I was a heavy user for 10 years of highest grade medical cannabis and hash. The last 2 years straight I vaporized hash and flowers multiple times daily. I quit cold turkey after the worst panic attack of my life in which I though I was going to die.

      The first 2 months are the worst for symptoms. I had everything you described. Headache, dizzy, light headed, fainting feeling, anxiety, panic, body aches, head in a daze, vision problems, sleep issues, sleep paralysis, etc.

      I am about 13 months clean. I am still not fully healed, but most of the worst is gone. I still get anxiety and a little dizziness sometimes but mostly I feel ok. I never took an anti depressant, and I would suggest avoiding them. You will have some good days, but mostly bad for the first 6 months. I did not notice significant improvements until a year clean.

      Stay strong and take it day by day. You will get better but you must be patient. Peace!

      • I have not much to add, Nate said it all. All of these symptoms you described are classic of marijuana withdrawal cases. I was a heavy user for 2 years, but from the moment I decided to quit smoking marijuana I exprimentei different kind of horrible symptoms and some of the worst days of my life. Now 10 months later I can say that already I feel much better, but still do not feel completely healed, still occur anxiety and depression episodes, but after 10 months I’m learning to deal with these situations. Has no doubt that what is happening to you is directly related to the use of cannabis, my suggestion is that you stop use and move away from any kind of trigger that makes use again, if you’re already doing it, great, continue your journey, be very patient, talk to those you trust about everything on your mind, eat healthy and practice exercises and gym, however difficult it may be to have courage, and as Nate said, stay away from antidepressants, because the withdrawal of them can be worse than marijuana. Move on buddy, see you are not a single case.

        God bless~

  128. Can I ask why I constantly see people say avoid anti depressants? I’m sure the effects of an 8 month habit should pass soon but we never know what another person is feeling. I can tell you that after a heavy 20+ habit if I didn’t have anti depressants to take the edge of my anxiety and depression that I wouldn’t be alive anymore. Worst case take them for 6 – 12 months then slowly tapper off them. In all cases there are other issues that compound. Why does a person stop using? There is usually a reason or more that adds to the overall stress of quitting. I couldn’t tell anybody of my situation and battled alone like manny others have done im sure if anybody becomes suicidal seek help immediately.

  129. My recommendation for anti-depressant avoidance is multifaceted.

    First of all, I actually had amino acid therapy done to restore neurotransmitter imbalance. Serotonin and dopamine work in concert to orchestrate virtually all functions of the body as well as all emotional states of mind. I had my neurotransmitter levels tested and the results came back in the normal range after my therapy was complete, yet I was still was experiencing symptoms to some degree.

    My practitioner believed that my endocannabinoid system was still in repair even though my dopamine and serotonin levels were fine. The endocannabinoid system also orchestrates all sorts of bodily functions; ranging from blood pressure, thermoregulation, heart rhythm and rate, mood, appetite, etc. What this means is that taking an anti-depressant to reuptake serotonin or dopamine is doing nothing to actually fix the problem. Though it may make one feel better, it is not actually ‘healing’ your endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system also regulates the binding of serotonin and dopamine, so it is understandable how an endocannabinoid dysfunction could be mistaken for a serotonin or dopamine deficiency.

    In the best case scenario, anti-depressants temporarily relieve symptoms so that your body can do what it needs to in order to heal itself. In the worst case scenario, symptoms are made worse because you are actually allowing too much dopamine or serotonin into the brain which can throw off the delicate balance of these neurotransmitters. Of course anti-depressant withdrawal has it’s horror stories, though I’m not sure that those individual testimonies apply across the board. Ideally, if one can properly taper the dosage and come clean, all the more power to them.

    My personal belief regarding use of anti-depressants for cannabis PAWS was essentially ‘what is the point’. They are not fixing the problem. If they relieve symptoms temporarily, I still need to taper and perhaps withdrawal from them still while going through PAWS!? When do I know when to stop anti-depressants? Why do I want to put more mind altering substances into my system? I seriously went through hell with my PAWS and still am to some degree. But, I never wanted to turn to something that was going to cause more addiction/withdrawal issues. I don’t want to tell anyone what to do. Like I said before, if anti-depressants work for you and you are able to come off clean from them in the end, then good for you! The problem with most neurotransmitter altering/fixing drugs is that they fundamentally change the nature of your brain networking and chemistry. They are also usually long-term therapies. My therapist told me that I’d have to be on them for at least a month before noticing any effects (good or bad). And then, I would most likely have to stay on them for at least a year before tapering off cleanly. I have friends and relatives who have been on anti-depressants for years, and missing just one dose can make their whole day miserable. In my opinion it was not worth the uncertainty and suffering. I figured I’d rather just tough out the PAWS until the end and be clean of it all.

    • I had the pack of sertraline in front of me I was going to use it but when I read the possible” common” side effect I changed mind and did not start the medication. I don’t know why doctor are prescribed so easily this kind of medication.my doctor spoke with. Me 5 minutes and the he prescribed this medication, he told me that at the beginning it can make me more anxious,I was like”what did you say?” I am already enough anxious” and. You. Even didn’t check if I have hormones imbalance or tiroyd problem and after 5 minutes he is given me an.
      antidepressants.

      Thank you

  130. Hi all,

    I can only talk about my own experience with Paxil. My anxiety was at the point of being unbearable as I was a heavy all day user for over 20 years. I need to work as I have 3 children and a morgauge. My anxiety was was at the point of not being able to leave the house and with a new job this was not possible. With in a few days of taking 20mg Paxil my anxiety had halfed, 3 weeks in and no anxiety at all. I stayed on Paxil for 4 months then spent 3 weeks tapering off, I did have some mild dizziness for a week but all was well for about 6 weeks then the anxiety crept back in and I was back to the same point that I started at. I did another run of Paxil for 5 months and tapered off again. This time mild dizziness and the odd headache for 2 weeks. I have now been clean for 19 months and all is well. Apart from putting on 40kg I won’t go back to my old ways knowing what I went through recovering. I still think I need another year or two to recover completely but I guess it was my fault for using heavily for so long. My life revolved around using, family and friends came second and it should never be like that. All the best to anyone that has gone down the same road and having a forum like this helped greatly knowing I wasn’t alone.
    Thank you.

  131. Hi

    It was 8 months that I was using hash but this is very hard it’s not easy
    I don’t have any cravings but it really takes time for the brain to recover
    I hope it will be soon now it’s 61 days since I quit,I have dizziness and anxiety
    sometimes headache, I did not know about any withdrawal symptoms when I
    was using it or I would not had started,

    Thank you

  132. Becoming more Anxious is the last thing that you need at the moment. Depending on your situation if you can get by not taking meds you will be better off for it I’m sure. Anti depressants will always have some side effect but in my case weight gain, headache and slight dizziness was easier to deal with V’s not being able to leave the house. Doctors don’t really care they just want to line their pockets with your money. When I tried to speak to a doctor about my habit he asked me if I had lost my job or family over my addiction. Not yet was my response. Doctor then told me he can’t help with MJ and to find somone that could. No other advise bar a stupid look on his face. Just do your best, take it day by day. You will be a better person for it and know you can achieve what ever you really want to in life. Don’t become a slave to intoxication. Feel better knowing many on this forum have been down the same road and all are champions for deciding to clean up and not look back even in the toughest times.

  133. My take on prescription drugs, especially ones for mental health, it’s trial and error, but should be an absolutely last resort. A general practitioner should never prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, imho. They don’t know enough about addiction to make an informed decision. Prior to quitting marijuana, I was on Sertraline/Zoloft for years and it seemed to have worked. That was until, i quit smoking and then got back on it. BIG MISTAKE! Either my tolerance for the drug just went down to zero or the marijuana was counter acting the drug to the point that it was rendered non-effective. After quitting mj, I did the whole 6 weeks waiting for it to kick in and start working. I stayed stuck in the HORRIFIC initial side-effect phase. Horrible anxiety. Much worse than I had before taking the Sertraline. I had to quit it because it made me feel 10x’s worse. And if you’ve read my testimony above, you’ll see that I went through a hell of a time.

    Not to say that you will have the same effects. You may not, but I highly suggest you DO NOT get on these drugs unless prescribed be a psychiatrist and under the supervision of a mental health therapist trained in addiction. These drugs are no laughing matter.

    Ru

    • My Doctor prescribed me Sertraline after 2 minutes and an online quiz.
      I trust zero doctors now most of them I don’t even know if they studied.
      Am I wondering,how much damage I did to my brain after 8 months of abuse on and off,Now I am 63 days off and the same symptoms that I had at day 8 are coming back that is worrying me,I thought that day after day I would start to feel better but the same symptoms are coming back in vawes in circle,it’s frustrating the only improvement is that I can sleep,One thing that I noticed when my stomach is empty I am more anxious when I eat a lit bit better

    • How are you feeling now Ru?

  134. Don’t stress over 8 months of abuse. As far as addiction goes your body will heal quickly and adjust back to normal soon. It seems that some people don’t bat an eyelid at stopping others go through hell. But it will pass. Just be optimistic.

    • Just a curiosity about addiction,does it mean that if someone goes back to use the substance the withdrawal symptoms will disappear because is he given what the body wants?

    • Ativan tapering down to .12 after using since december coming off this med has drained my spirit cns is so sore some nights i cant lie down. Every time i take a dose it makes me sick it seems it has turned toxic on me.want to power down quickly 😨 dont see no reason to draw it out longer dont want to have a seizure

  135. I got alcohol withdrawal from an extended weekend long binge almost exactly three months ago in may. I still feel like my brain is just totally out of things. Earlier in the summer I was having panic attacks, doctor gave kpins and Lexapro. How long until I feel normal again? I only drank twice a week before the four day binge

    • Klonopin is alcohol in pill form, so it may be that if you are taking the klonopin it could be causing you to still experience withdrawals from it OR it could be causing you to experience cravings for alcohol (which might also feel like withdrawal).

  136. Well I was having these feelings before so he gave them to me, I’ve been feeling out of things and foggy since I took them (which has been on an as needed basis, so not all the time)

    • Until you safely taper off of the klonopin, you will likely continue to experience symptoms. Benzodiazepines (klonopin is a benzo) are highly addictive and people with alcohol issues are cross-tolerant to benzos…so that means you will have a high tolerance for benzos and a high likelihood of becoming addicted. Klonopin can be used on a very short basis to treat withdrawal, but after that should be tapered down and discontinued. May not be what you want to hear, but you asked.

  137. Ok thanks I want to hear the truth and facts regardless if it’s painful! How about with the Lexapro? I took it for about a month, month and a half then started being sporadic with it which has been working like a taper. I take it about every other day now. Do you think that also has an effect?

    Finally, do you think the fact I had withdrawals from a shorter term amount of drinking as opposed to a hardcore alcoholic that was drinking everyday for years will help shorten my recovery time, and do you have any generic guesstimate on when i will be recovered if I get off the kpins and Lexapro? 3 months removed from the binging at this point.

    Thanks for all your help man! I hadn’t t found a person be able to give me answers like this yet!

    • Lexapro is an antidepressant and is not habit forming, although there can certainly be unpleasant side effects, as with any drug. Taking it every other day is not a good idea because antidepressants don’t work that way. They are meant to be used daily in order to maintain a steady level. Taking it improperly could certainly have a role in some of your symptoms.

      How long were you actually drinking and how much alcohol did you consume? Not all alcoholics drink every day. It is more about tolerance and withdrawal and what happens when you drink (loss of control, negative consequences and continued use, attempts to stop drinking without success, etc).

      • Well I drank like a typical college student schedule.. 2-3 times a week but that particular weekend was the one before finals and I drank for like 12 hours four straight nights. I was told by the University counselor after lengthy discussion that I mainly use it as an anxiety relieving mechanism. Partially true. I think it’s moreso out of boredom and cuz everyone else I’m friends with does it and gets hammered every weekend.

        For the amount.. A lot, like almost a fifth each night. Last day was about a whole case. I literally don’t even recognize myself I was like waking around doing crazy shit to people like singing and stuff..so yeah. That night I had a hard time sleeping.

        Also, when I get back to school in a few weeks what can and can’t I do as far as drinking? My apartment with the guys I’m living with will be having parties and they’re both big drinkers.

        Thanks!

  138. I don’t know what a “typical college student’s” drinking level is. When I was in college, I saw a huge variation in levels…and many I saw have probably now had a few (if not more) stints in rehab. It is a pretty well known fact that alcohol use in college is a big problem…and I can tell you from a decade of experience working in addiction that college is often where the disease really takes off. So, here is where I would start, if I were you:

    First, take an honest look at your family history. Do you have anyone in your blood line who has suffered or continues to suffer from compulsive overuse of substances or behavioral addictions (gambling, sex, etc)? I might also consider significant obesity and food addiction as a possible “addiction” to question because the disease can hide there. But, if you have any significant family history, you may want to consider seriously cutting back or quitting. There have been studies of sons of alcoholics – one study in particular looked at these men over decades and what they found is that those who had a mother or father who had alcohol problems were 4x as likely to develop the problem themselves. Also from the study was another outcome: those college-age men who could “drink everyone else under the table” (had a high tolerance for alcohol early on in their drinking careers) – these were huge predictors of future alcoholism. So, showing such a high tolerance for alcohol (a fifth per day is a very high tolerance) is very likely a major sign that you could be headed for real trouble. You have an opportunity here to change your life path. An opportunity to avoid major future suffering and life consequences.

    And, the counselor you spoke with may not be well-versed in alcoholism/addiction. You need to remember that whatever a substance does for you when you use it, in withdrawal it has the opposite effect. So, alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it relaxes the body (and brain). Many alcoholics report that they drink to “releave stress” — but what they don’t get is that in withdrawal from alcohol they will experience the opposite of alcohol’s effect (so they are actually inducing worse stress) – anxiety, tremors, trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, irritability, depression — the extreme opposite of relaxed is seizure…and that’s what happens to alcoholics who stop drinking abruptly. By the way, these are also the same symptoms that will occur with withdrawal from benzos like Klonopin (also ativan, valium, xanax, and drugs like ambien, lunesta). So, you could have been experiencing anxiety FROM the use of alcohol and then you were drinking to help reduce it (temporarily). Of course, you also likely had some anxiety going on due to finals and chose alcohol as a source of relief, but in reality it was the worst choice to relieve your anxiety that you could make.

    So, what do you do? That is a question to ask yourself. Changing who you are hanging out with might be the best solution…but I would consider finding other things to do when you know these major drinking episodes are going to happen. If you really want to get serious, you might consider moving and finding a peer group who are not so focused on alcohol as a source of fun. It will likely be extremely difficult for you to say “no” and remain abstinent as long as you are around it at all…and I think, if you are truly honest with yourself, you could be headed for some serious trouble with alcohol if you don’t take some drastic measures to get it out of your life.

    • Right, I get what your saying. I mean I rarely drank a fifth normally 10-12 drinks or so. For what it’s worth, I generally don’t have trouble avoiding drinking when I’m home on the weekend or home for breaks. It’s not like I would crave it all the time. One of my parents is a smoker I think mild level of addiction runs in it. The biggest thing I notice is when I don’t drink I usually don’t have a big problem but when I start and I have that “mindset” where I’m like “I’m gonna get fucked up!” is when the issues happen.
      I just wanna get over these symptoms I’m sick of them. And I don’t even want to drink I liked how I felt before I started drinking (which started in college). I really need to get through this withdrawal hurdle it just feels like it’s never ending. The foggy brain and loopy feeling is the worst part I feel disassociated from reality.. Like everything is a dream

  139. The recommended limits for adult males is no more than 4 drinks in one sitting and no more than 14 drinks per week (a drink is 5 oz of wine, 1 regular can of beer, or 1.5 oz of liquor). So, your 10-12 drinks is about 3 times what is recommended. It would be considered binge drinking…and binge drinking is indeed very common amongst college students but it is also common in those who may present with future alcoholism. All I am saying is that if you keep that up, you might find yourself with a serious problem. Also, it is very likely to impact your life in major ways: how are you able to keep up your studies (are you doing as well as you could if you weren’t drinking?)? It is obviously impacting your mentally, emotionally, and physically…so why continue to do it? Does alcohol seem to have a greater importance in your life than it should? Alcoholism is defined by 1. tolerance 2. withdrawal 3. consequences to your life (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, legal, etc), 4. unsuccessful efforts to cut back or quit despite consequences, 5. inability to stop once you start…and you don’t have to meet all of these criteria to determine if you have a drinking problem. I’m not saying that you are an alcoholic…but it could be said that your drinking is problematic. Everyone with a substance use issue is on a different point in the spectrum of the disease…but it is a progressive disease and, if you do indeed have it, it only gets worse, not better. You have ever reason to consider cutting back or quitting…it just depends on how important being happy and healthy is to you vs the importance of having a “good time” with your college buddies.

    • You are right, you have just about convinced me that I indeed should stop. My final question is how much longer until i feel normal again? It has now been 2+ months sober. And I have described to you the amount I drank. Also I forgot to mention, my acute withdrawal lasted 3 full days. Monday through Wednesday and that night all of a sudden I took a twenty minute nap and it was like a huge weight was lifted off. How long do expect these post acute symptoms to last?

      • At this point, I would consult with your doctor about the klonopin and lexapro. It may be that these meds are interfering with your recovery.

    • Will do, this week. Thanks for everything.

      • You’re very welcome. Best of luck to you!

      • Well after being good without the pills for over a week (and tapering before then) I was in the sun working out a lot and training for my tennis season at school the last two weeks and ended up with many heat exhaustion symptoms and started getting really scary anxiety where I thought I would faint (i couldn’t even stand up or move without head dizziness and pain). At that time I took a kpin which didn’t make me feel great but i was able to at least communicate and not be freaking out and get home (I was with my family visiting my aunt and uncle at the jersey shore about two hours away from my house). This all came after spending five hours at the beach. I haven’t had much anxiety in weeks until this. So This morning the doctor said it’s because I haven’t been taking my pills and said I really need to see a psychiatrist who specializes in this stuff. I agree a psychiatrist could better diagnose me, but I just don’t get what is going on and why.

  140. Hi,

    I’m a french guy of 21 yo. After 1,5 year smoking weed on a daily basis, i first stopped 9 months but PAWS were too intense (depression, fatigue..) and i wasn’t aware of them, so i started smoking weed again for 7 months and stopped again. Here I am, 9 months later without smoking weed. What afraid me is that I smoked just once (2 sticks in a night) 4 months ago. Do you know if this single time smoking maked me start back to zero ??? will I have to struggle with PAWS for another 5 or 6 months ?? or is it not grave and will I just have to wait one or 2 months to be ok again ?? I have to add that I quit cigarettes 2 months ago, and have a healthy lifestyle since then. Before quitting cigarette I was ok,still a bit depressed and very tired but nothing compared to the first month quitting weed…
    Thank you so much for your answer

  141. Does anyone can help me ? …

  142. Hi Leo,

    You are asking questions that cannot be answered with timeframes. What you need to know is of you are having withdrawals this bad already at the young age of 21, it is VERY safe to say that you must stay away from marijuana at all costs. Who’s to say that if you continue, you won’t cause permanent damage. You may or may not. That is a risk not worth taking. In my experience, after relapsing, you do take steps backwards. If it is backwards to absolute zero, no one knows since marijuan withdrawal differs so greatly from case to case.
    What I do know is that the more you quit and relapse, the harder it is to quit later and the harder the withdrawal symptoms. The answer to your questions is simple- you MUST stay away from marijuana. The process is difficult, but well worth it. Maybe you’ll go through 2-3 months withdrawal, maybe you’ll end up like me and have a horrific 2 + years withdrawal.

    Whatever it takes to be clean and sober is what you have to do. Another thing that I can assure you of is that your quality of life will improve dramatically in all aspects.

    This is not a common cold type of situation. Their is no antibiotic pill to take and an accurate 1-3 week time frame in which you should be cured. Recovery is a life long process, and your individual withdrawal time will be however long it takes.

    Live day to day. Conquer today, today. Conquer tomorrow, tomorrow. Don’t conquer the next 5 months in one day.

    Stay strong and keep in touch,

    Ru

  143. Hi Ru,

    It’s great and inspiring to see people like you helping others that went on the same path. Thank you for your reply ! I don’t think anymore about smoking weed since a long time already! And I know for a fact that I will never smoke a stick again. I just wanted to know if having smoke one only time is considered as a “relapse” ?? The chemicals of my brain (dopamine, THC, or whatever it is) could have been fucked up again ?? after 5 months of no weed, with just those 2 sticks ? Furthermore, I feel a lot better than at the beginning, this is why I had the strenght to quit cigarette 2 months ago and stay away since. Could it be a sign that PAWS will not last more than 2 or 3 months ? I know it’s hard to say, but still with those elements what do you think ? The last time I smoked was 9 months ago (if i don’t count the one night I “relapsed”)..

    Léo

    • Hey Leo,

      Unfortunately, there is no saying whether this time or next will be better or worse. I know it’s not the answer you may be looking for, but it’s the only one I can provide. The only way to be 100% that you will not damage your brain with the marijuana is to not use it at all.

      I quit many times in my 20’s and never had the withdrawals that you had.
      No withdrawals at all from what I can remember. You’re brain is telling you very early to stop. It took me untl about 35 years of age to hit the worst withdrawal and recovery ever and it came with ZERO warning. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. It wad the worst 2 years of my life and incredibly traumatic. My words cannot do it justice. So, I say to you, whether it takes 1, or 10 years from today for you to hit rocl bottom like I did, is it worth the risk? I hope not. Quit now 100% while you are ahead and never, ever, ever smoke, eat, or drink marijuana again. Or next time it may be too late. It was too late for me to turn around at my withdrawal. The weed caused me immense anxiety and the withdrawal caused me immense anxiety. That’s where I eneded up. I just had to be strong and let nature run it’s course. It was too late to do anything else.

      Ru

      • Well after being good without the pills for over a week (and tapering before then) I was in the sun working out a lot and training for my tennis season at school the last two weeks and ended up with many heat exhaustion symptoms and started getting really scary anxiety where I thought I would faint (i couldn’t even stand up or move without head dizziness and pain). At that time I took a kpin which didn’t make me feel great but i was able to at least communicate and not be freaking out and get home (I was with my family visiting my aunt and uncle at the jersey shore about two hours away from my house). This all came after spending five hours at the beach. I haven’t had much anxiety in weeks until this. So This morning the doctor said it’s because I haven’t been taking my pills and said I really need to see a psychiatrist who specializes in this stuff. I agree a psychiatrist could better diagnose me, but I just don’t get what is going on and why.

      • Leo,

        Withdrawal from benzos like Klonopin can take a long time to get through. It is possible that any or all of the following was going on: 1. you were still in withdrawal from the benzos and this contributed to your anxiety level (so taking a klonopin fed your body/brain what it was craving and only prolonged your withdrawal because now you have to start the process again), 2. your time working in the sun and over-exerting yourself also made matters worse by depleting your body of electrolytes and vitamins that were already low to begin with, leading to a physical (and then emotional) struggle, 3. other emotional things were also going on (training, school, being around family?) that might have led to a panic attack/anxiety attack (and then klonopin was the one and only way you know to deal with it). 4. Something triggered you – perhaps your brain associated some aspect of what you were doing with your using experiences in the past and just like Pavlov and the dog, your brain started salivating for klonopin and it induced a panic attack to make it more difficult for you to resist using (classic addiction craving through conditioning-based experiences).

        There are numerous other ways to cope with anxiety that can be helpful besides taking a drug. Drugs like Klonopin can initially help with anxiety, but over time they become addictive and then end up CAUSING anxiety, thus leading to overuse of the drug. It becomes a vicious cycle. As I’ve said before, just like with alcohol – most alcoholics think they are drinking to relieve stress, but what they don’t realize is that they are making their stress worse and worse due to the cycle of tolerance/withdrawal from alcohol. Benzos are alcohol in pill form, so the cycle is the same. So, I would recommend that you really try some other ways of coping with your anxiety. Here are some ideas:

        -talk to someone about what is going on with you (I agree with RU that 12-step meetings of any kind would help!) and they may have suggestions for how to think about the situation (any situation causing anxiety) differently or thoughts on how to prevent the anxiety attacks in the first place.

        -breathing exercises – square breathing is a popular one. With square breathing, you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and repeat this 4 times. Slow deep breaths are great for anxiety because when we get anxious we tend to forget to breathe!

        -mindfulness/meditation exercises. Here are some great links to various mindfulness resources. This stuff is researched and proven to be highly effective with treating numerous issues (anxiety, depression, chronic pain, etc) most of these will work via your smartphone (get a cheap pair of ear buds and you are all set: http://www.mindful.org/audio-resources-for-mindfulness-meditation/?utm_source=Mindful+Newsletter&utm_campaign=8fcd4c9e52-MF_Weekly_Aug_118_11_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6d03e8c02c-8fcd4c9e52-21662161

        There are also great resources for relaxation/mindfulness/meditation on youtube by searching those terms.

        -yoga
        -exercise (taking a walk or a run)
        -distraction – focusing on something else – a task like cleaning your house or a hobby like playing guitar.

        Basically – anything that you can try without reaching for a substance (or another addictive behavior like gambling or something compulsive) would be great. Learning how to cope with various FEELINGS is what recovery is all about. In our “quick-fix” society, we want to feel better immediately and that can be the trap that leads you into addiction. Facing feelings and working through them is what is called coping with life…something everyone must learn in order to be successful in recovery.

        Keep trying – you are a work in progress (as all of us are)!

        DD

  144. You need to quit for good. There is no such thing as occasional use. It always leads down the same path. Don’t fool yourself that this time will be any different. Why tempt fate? Will it be worth it? No.

  145. I’m assuming your doctor is a general practitioner. I agree, go see a psychiatrist. Half the time general practictioners are not qualified, and shouldn’t be allowed, to prescribe benzo. If you can, try to find a Marijuana Anonymous group in you area. They can be a great source of knowledge and resources. https://www.marijuana-anonymous.org

    • Sorry I meant to ask the expert on the topic. This is actually an extension of the conversation I had with the author a few weeks ago. Also, mine is alcohol related anyways (the conversation is just above this). But thanks for your idea!

      • Well after being good without the pills for over a week (and tapering before then) I was in the sun working out a lot and training for my tennis season at school the last two weeks and ended up with many heat exhaustion symptoms and started getting really scary anxiety where I thought I would faint (i couldn’t even stand up or move without head dizziness and pain). At that time I took a kpin which didn’t make me feel great but i was able to at least communicate and not be freaking out and get home (I was with my family visiting my aunt and uncle at the jersey shore about two hours away from my house). This all came after spending five hours at the beach. I haven’t had much anxiety in weeks until this. So This morning the doctor said it’s because I haven’t been taking my pills and said I really need to see a psychiatrist who specializes in this stuff. I agree a psychiatrist could better diagnose me, but I just don’t get what is going on and why.

    • My bad I don’t know why it keeps replying to your conversation here I can’t reply to my old conversation for some reason

  146. Gotcha! Sorry for the confusion. If it’s alcohol related, then an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting would be excellent! You would meet people in the same boat as you that can recommend certain doctors/therapists as well.

    I’m assuming you were speaking about benzos when you mentioned “pills.” I highly recommend going to see someone that is experienced in addiction. They will understand your situation and help you manage your intake. Gen Pract are rarely focused on addiction and can make things worse.

    Bless you and good luck!

    ru

  147. Hi I’m 67 years old, and been on 90 mlg. Oxycontin for 13 years. Weaned dn.in a month. Had with withdrawl at 40. And slight at end.
    I am on blood pressure pills and it controls good. I did 4 hrs yard work before I’m in ok shape work fast. But since I quit which is 13 days ago, my heart is racing every time I walk. I have work to do. Is there anything I can take to regulate? Please respond Thanks Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      I’m afraid this question is for a medical doctor (something I am not). Due to your age, the length you’ve been taking Oxycontin, blood pressure issues, and recent symptoms involving your heart, I really think it would be best for you to consult with a physician. These symptoms may or may not be related to withdrawal and your doctor can best assess what is going on. I hope things get better for you!

  148. Hello olskoolru!I started reading your posts on uncommonforums.You and biggiesize are role models for me!i smoked MJ from 2008 to 2014.i quit on the 22nd of april 2014.couple of years before quitting, weed usage induced depression and anxiety!i never had such problems in my life.actually i was a very happy and relaxed person.Since quitting weed hell broke loose!i had all the PAWS symptoms.though my good days were very few.just after my 1 year mark i started being on AD’s which is kind of stupid because they improved life just a bit.You are right,there are very few therapists who actually are aware of weed paws.you are lucky with your therapist.I live in Greece and everybody says that my symptoms are typical bipolar symptoms.i know myself and even 3-4 years after i started smoking i was 100% normal.i am at 1 year and 5 months after i quit and slowly good days become more frequent.What do you think i should do?i am 32years old by the way.Thanx for reading!

    • Hey Savas, check my response below. This site doesn’t post replies where they should go.

      Ru

  149. Hey Savas!

    So happy for your decision to quit! You have no idea how great a decision it was! The AD question is a tough one. You have seen a little improvement, but not an improvement that you may have been looking for. It is fair to ask yourself if the AD could’ve helped so that your withdrawal wasn’t worse. It’s very hard to tell. If you decide to come off of the AD, it must be under strict supervision of a doctor. Your mind is in a fragile state and you should be careful. I can’t tell you whether to proceed or stop the antidepressants since I am not a doctor. It is very good that you are seeing a bit of improvement and the AD did not make you worse, as was with my experience. The AD will not make you feel incredible or euphoric, it should just make life a more manageable. It is of utmost importance that you look for things that make you happy- drug-free things.

    I couldn’t imagine life without weed. I did EVERYTHING high! Now I love everything I used to do and don’t have to be high to enjoy them. It took me a long time to get here, but I got here and it was sooo worth it.

    Although Biggiesize never responded to any of my messages, his posts were a great source of inspiration and strength! It was the first time that I understood all the scary shit that was happening to me and that I wasn’t alone.

    please, write to me at olskoolru@gmail.com anytime.

    Congratulations on reaching the next chapter of your life! I know it’s not perfect yet, but if you nurture your mind and stay positive, you will be there! I promise! Never ever ever lose hope!

    Ru

  150. Hi my name is katelyn I went to rehab not long ago about two months ago I recently started back at school I was. On my pink cloud and thought nothing could stop me
    Recently I started using suboxone from my friends everyday over time getting addicted I have been doing them everyday for a month not long but I have withdrawals and I’m on my 4th day how long will it take and what should I do they are not as bad as they used to be considering I used over a year compared to a month this time but still don’t want to feel like this I have no darreah just aches and chills I’m going to the beach Saturday which would be my 8th day I heard it could last up to two weeks please help thank

    • I’ve been 5 months clean without smoking weed, I started smoking when I was 13 & now I’m 16. I’ve been reading online if you start smoking at a early age you’ll never get back to the way you used to be, Is this true cause if it is I don’t know if I’m ever able to live with myself. I need HELP!

      • My reply to you is at the bottom. The site is messing up out threads for some reason.

        OSR

  151. Hello, I am Kady. I have been doing heroin for about 8 months now. I work all the time as a janitor, I work 8 hours, 6 days a week, so you can see how horrible having to go through with drawls would be working. I’ve actually gone two days now without smoking any, except I had a weak moment today and I hit the heroin once… Can you please tell me if this ruined everything. Is the whole detox process going to start all over again? Or did only hitting it once not do anything? Help please!!

    • Hi Kady,

      It is likely that the answer to your question is somewhere in the middle. Every person has a different experience in terms of withdrawal. So, you had a slip and used again. First of all, this is really normal. Most people do experience “slips” – it is part of the disease (read the section on relapse on the blog). Just like other diseases (diabetes, hypertension, cancer) are called “chronic relapsing diseases”, so is addiction. Most people go through periods in which their disease is more well-controlled and then experience periods during which they struggle – that is more common than not. It doesn’t mean that you have a free pass to relapse, but it means that recovery can be a long learning process. People with diabetes struggle with regulating their blood sugar and can “relapse” into high or low blood sugar episodes that they find difficult to control or “get right” due to their need to have a better understanding of how to treat their illness. The same is true for addiction. So, all I am saying is — don’t beat yourself up too badly over this. Yes, you want to take this seriously and look at what was going on when you experienced the “slip” and get right back to doing what you can do to stay on the healthy path to recovery (meetings, staying busy, talking to others who can be supportive and guide you appropriately, exercise, etc).

      With regard to withdrawals, they likely won’t be as bad as they were when you were using at a higher level and for multiple days at a time. If you used less than your usual amount, it would make sense that your withdrawals will be less intense. However, the use may lead to more frequent experiences of craving — and this can feel a lot like withdrawal. So, you aren’t starting over from the point you initially started, but you definitely need to do everything you can to remain abstinent now. Remember that recovery isn’t a “thinking thing” it is a “doing thing” and you’ll need to take action to avoid using. Taking action comes in the form of doing whatever works for you to stay off of the stuff: again, staying busy, going to meetings, talking to a sponsor or someone else in recovery, avoiding triggers, making sure you get enough sleep, eat properly, exercise, in general just taking really good care of yourself and your recovery.

      Best hopes for continued recovery!

      DD

      • After 3 years of smoking weed I feel like my brain will never heal like how it used to be. I feel depressed. When I try talking to someone my brain goes dead or it comes out sounded stupid. I wasn’t like that before it all started after smoking weed. I smoked on & off. I stopped a couple times & after 3 days of not smoking I felt open minded but I was addicted & I kept on smoking. Then I finally quit. 5 months & I haven’t had that feeling of being open minded like the first coupl times I stopped. Now my brain feels completely dead I feel like I fried my brain permantly. Now I just wanna know if I really damaged my brain permantly. If not how long will it take for my brain to heal fully like how it used to be? So I can get my life back on track!!! 😦

  152. Hi Anthony,

    Congratulations on the huge milestone! 6 months seems like a long time, but is just a drop in the bucket. All you answers, you’ll find in all the previous posts on this blog. You are going through a classic case if withdrawals. I know it’s tough, trust me, but you gotta hang in there!

    I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you are making huge progress! It just takes time.

    OSR

  153. Once I go through alcohol withdrawal, in a medical setting, including Delerium Tremens, how soon am I at risk for Delerium Tremens again?

    • Hi Tom,

      It depends…how long and how heavily were you drinking before stopping? Delerium Tremens is a withdrawal symptom that is associated with alcohol withdrawal specifically. So, technically you shouldn’t go through DTs again unless you drink again. However, sometimes some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can last for a longer period. For instance, hand tremors, anxiety, trouble sleeping, etc. Extreme DTs can include seizures, but this risk typically dissipates within the first few days or so. With a long history of use, some symptoms can become more permanent, but this is fairly rare and only with really heavy drinking over a very long period. Sometimes alcohol induced dementia can develop, also with a very long history of heavy use. I’m not a doctor, and this question would be a great one to ask your doctor, especially concerning the risks involved. Any time you are at risk for having seizures, you are at risk for death…so this is serious business. Also, alcohol withdrawal can have an effect on other medical issues such as heart issues, hypertension, diabetes, etc. which can also be life-threatening because they put you at risk for heart attack and stroke (among other things). So, when in doubt, consult with a physician!

  154. After smoking for 10 years straight everyday…I was put into a very bad situation for a month straight and was not allowed to smoke weed ..drive a car ..slept on a thin mattress on the floor..out of my element and living somewhere I never been before..no, it was not jail..it was at a friend of mine..one day I just lost it and went crazy..I was hearing things..I was dreaming weird stuff..got very angry and did some damage to her stuff…way out of character not me..it was someone different..I was arrested and put into a psychiatric hospital and they diagnosed me Bipolar..they over drugged me and gave me the wrong medicine…I am back home now..off the medicine and smoking weed again…but I really want to quit..could my bad situation and not smoking weed cause me to go crazy for that time I spent away?? or could I really be Bipolar??

    • Kelly,

      I think if you read the information on this site, it will help you answer your own question. However, I will briefly give you a summary of what I think might help you understand. You’ve been bombarding your brain with a chemical that changes key areas of the brain that have to do with pleasure, emotional stability, sleep, impulse control, etc. Then, all of a sudden, you removed that chemical that your brain had come to depend on to supply dopamine (the pleasure chemical that is responsible for helping us experience pleasure). Before you used marijuana at all, your brain was able to produce dopamine and other neurochemicals involved in brain/emotion regulation on its own. However, once you introduce these chemicals from an outside source, your brain stops making its own supply because it is self-regulating. So, this is how you become “dependent” on a substance over time. At this point, your brain is so used to receiving this supply of chemical from marijuana that is is “dependent” on it for dopamine (or pleasure). When you abruptly stopped using, your brain no longer had its supply and it takes a good long while for your brain to start producing dopamine again…and then it takes longer still for your brain to produce dopamine at its natural, healthy levels for you to feel “normal” again and not seek out a substance in order to feel normal. The longer you go without using, the better you will start to feel…but at first it can be extremely difficult for people to sit through the struggle. And, yes, the brain is missing something it thinks it needs for survival (dopamine is key to survival), so it is going to send you into a state of deprivation and this is when the cravings can be very powerful. This can make a person look and feel “crazy” for a while. And, this is a big reason that many people with the disease of addiction get misdiagnosed as “bipolar” — because using and coming off of substances is an emotional roller-coaster ride. For chronic users – they often experience use and then withdrawal, use and then withdrawal, use and then withdrawal on a regular basis because their tolerance levels for the substance is constantly rising. This will look like extreme mood swings: when they use they feel normal or good or “high” – when in withdrawal they experience depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and extreme mood swings. Whatever a drug does for you when you use it, in withdrawal it has the opposite effect. What I notice in chronic marijuana users is that they use marijuana to “mellow” them out or to relax or take their mind off of something, but when they are craving or experiencing withdrawal, they are some of the most angry, irritable, anxious (racing thoughts) people I’ve ever seen. Again, the opposite of the drug’s effect. So, they return to using marijuana because they think they “need it” to help mellow them – when actually it is CAUSING their anger and irritability in the first place. They don’t typically see it this way, usually because of some life issue or excuse they have convinced themselves is going on and is instead causing them to be unhappy (denial). Typically when people get into recovery and spend a long time without using (90 days or more) and start to work on coping in healthy ways (12-step or other programs can help), their attitudes and emotions stabilize and they are no longer struggling with these intense symptoms that make them feel and look “crazy”. However, my disclaimer here is that there are also people who are truly bipolar and also use substances. I think it is highly likely that what you experienced was very much related to your withdrawal though.

  155. We can’t diagnose you, but it is highly likely that the withdrawal triggered
    something. Coupled with a bad situation, very likely.

    Ru

  156. I find the withdrawal symptoms of weed very similar to that of quitting a nicotine addiction. I dipped a can a day for about 5 years. The amount of nicotine of 2 cans a week is equivalent to 1.5 packs of cigarettes a day — so my nicotine intake was equivalent to about 3 packs of cigarettes a day.

    I am about 76 days into my quit and still feel like I am about to pass out, I still feel extremely anxious, and I have been battling depression off an on throughout this process. I have seen my doctor twice, been to the ER once and have had blood work done on two different occasions and everything has come back normal.

    I know this is not a nicotine quit site but I believe all of these drugs affect our dopamine levels greatly. My main issue is that my mind constantly thinks I’m about to die. Every time I get dizzy/foggy I feel as if death is right around the corner. Why is this? Maybe just anxiety?

    • John,

      You are totally on the right track with your thinking. Dopamine is released with nicotine – and nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs there is out there – so yes, everything you have said is right. And, I do think you can attribute your symptoms to anxiety. Your brain is really craving nicotine and pushing you to the limits to get you to use it again because it thinks you have to use nicotine to survive.

      • Thanks for your quick response, Dopaminedialogue. One last question. I have been feeling pretty shaky every now and again. I have had a small – what feels to be a tremor – in my left hand. Not too sure if this is another anxiety thing or if this is one of the symptoms from coming off a stimulant/addiction. I’m 27; so, I don’t think it could be the early stages of Parkinson’s. Thoughts?

      • Remember that your brain chemistry has been changed due to use of addictive substances. It is now without those substances and is starting to heal…which can lead to some disruption in the areas that were impacted by substances in the past (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)…so this can translate to what appear to you to be some odd or unexplainable symptoms. It is likely that it has a lot to do with withdrawal. Tremors can always be a part of withdrawal, for sure. My guess is that it is not Parkinson’s. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a check up with your doctor and explain all that you have been experiencing. The doctor may have some suggestions for how to cope. Exercise may help along with relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, other support.

  157. Hello everybody, I have smoked for 10 years pretty strong weed [Haze from holland ] and mostly 3 joints at the evening, I have quit the habit a month ago. The first three weeks were incredible difficult with most of the wellknown withdrawal symptoms. I am feeling a lot better now after 4 weeks. what i want to know is : Are mouches volantes [ floaters in the eyeballs ] and hazy Eyesight also withdrawal symptoms ? and also restless legs? I also have tinnitus [ a fantomsound in the head] and i am hoping it will go away in time when i am long off the weed.? anyone ? Goodluck everybody with getting your life back ! thanks Bas

    • Hi Bas,

      First, I want to congratulate you on remaining abstinent for a month. That is a huge accomplishment, so keep it up!

      I’m not sure if you have done any google searching re: your symptoms, but if you do you will see that there are many comments like yours re: floaters, eye pressure, and blurry vision. This most-definitely seems to be related to use/withdrawal from MJ. Definitely restless legs, tinnitus too. There is some evidence that MJ can reduce circulation to the eye, so this may be what is happening. If you consider that extreme stress can cause blurry vision in some, withdrawal can fit that category as something that stresses the body. If you are concerned, I would encourage you to see your eye doctor about this. It may be that there is increased pressure in your eye that you need to get checked. It could be related to your withdrawal, but it also could be a coincidence and something you need to have checked. You don’t want to mess with your vision – that’s pretty serious. Please keep us posted on how this is going.

  158. P.S With Hazy Eyesight i mean : blurry vision and pressure behind the eyeballs.. Sorry for the many questions… thanks again Bas

  159. HI .I had checked my eyepressure a week ago at the hospital [ i work there] and it was fine, so i guess it has something to do with the withdrawal of Mj.. I remember that Biggiesize on another site talked about distorted vision along his recovery. So i have hope this will go away after a long time also. Now in the fifth week my complaints are headaches and sleepdisorder. My guess is that these are the last to go? 5 weeks is nothing, when i read about how long it takes for most people to completely recover. So time is on my side… Thanks for your kind words and your support. You are doing a great job with this site ! Bas

    • Yes – headaches and sleep issues seem to be some of the longest lasting post-acute withdrawal symptoms. However, withdrawal seems to impact everyone differently – each experience can be unique, with some similarities, of course.

      Keep up the good work! Thanks for the positive comments. Much appreciated!

      • Hi there, good work, Bas. Talking of PAWs, I’m sure I’m not the only one still having dopamine deficiency at 18 months after quit? Really agitated/wired if I am not constantly busy. Thinking and remembering is difficult, and I hang out for a drink every evening. My GP wanted me on antidepressants, which I took for 6 months so I didn’t get him offside. Thank goodness I have finished the course, but my agitation is still bad. I tried GABA, but while it kept me asleep better, it added to the daytime dopamine deficiency agitation. (it is a dopamine inhibitor). Am now trying mucuna pruriens, also known as “velvet bean.” Quote: “an 800 mg dose will contain as much as 120 mg of L-DOPA.” Early days. Any other ideas welcomed. I fear that I may be one of those who suffers permanent damage to the dopamine pathway.

  160. Through my research and filming my documentary, I met many people who suffered psychotic symptoms from marijuana. The potency is so intensely strong today that it is causing some very serious issues–including triggering mental illness: bi-polar, schizophrenia, etc. It is critical to get sober and stay clean. The brain can often heal, but it needs to be nourished. Depending on your age, the brain can rebuild neuropathways–even at later ages, but it gets more difficult. Eat healthy, exercise, stay clean. Get support. http://www.oscdoc.com. Check out my film on what today’s marijuana is doing. I interviewed 20 individuals and 13 professionals.

    • Jody, I second everything you said. Thanks for posting!

  161. Jodey, if your truly out to help why are you DVD’s so expensive? I understand the costs associated with making such documentaries but it appears that they were made purely for business reasons!

  162. Hi everyone, Hope you are doing allright . Question : What causes the headaches as a withdrawal of weed? They are quite heavy and I have them everyday. Is it a sign of adjusting of the brain or whatelse? Thanks Bas

    • Hi Bas,

      The headaches were very common for me and horrible. They will eventually go away, but it may take some time. Things that help with the headaches are warm shower, eating protein, sugar (maybe a lollipop, but don’t overdo it), caffeine (if you don’t have a problem with it of course… it may also make them worse when you don’t have caffeine), exercise (may also make them worse, results vary) breathing techniques, and staying busy. If you have a bad headache and are sitting down resenting them, they will hurt more. You have to get up and do something. Usually, relief comes from not letting them get to you. Also, don’t let them stress you out, you have to be relaxed.

      Ibuprofen, as directed, can work wonders for you headache. Fix the symptoms because they’re usually temporary. You’ll hear a million things about not taking pills and bla bla bla. Do what you want to do. Just always do it as instructed.

      I had headaches for a year straight. It was the worst part of my recovery. Then they just went away. They come back rarely, and I know exactly how to deal with them.

      I don’t think anyone knows why they happen. I feel like it may be the same reason why caffeine withdrawal causes headaches. Don’t kill yourself over the “why.”

      Hope this helps!

      Ru

  163. Thanks Ru, At least I know that it certainly has something to do with the recovery.. So I must be happy with them for the time being. haha Greetings Bas

  164. I’m on day 90 of my quit and have ringing in my ears, feeling extremely shaky… almost like i have a tremor but my whole body feels shaky, especially my neck…

    I’m wondering if these symptoms are normal. I have decided not to take anxiety medication from my psychiatrist for now.

    Side note – I’m not happy with my current job and keep wanting to go back to medical school but the time it would take to get finished (10 yrs) is daunting! Maybe that’s contributing to my anxiety as well… Sorry for the rant!

    What do you guys think about my symptoms? Thanks for all your hard work and great advice, in advance!

  165. I suffered ringing in my ears from day 5 of my taper and still have it some 6 years later, it’s not terribly common from what I can tell but it does happen
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3357564/
    http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/10/28/can-antidepressants-cause-tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears/
    I also suffered and continue to suffer from occasional autophony which is where you hear your own voice in your ear whilst talking.

    I quit smoking last year and shortly afterwards had a massive spate of headzaps / akathisia / plmd and later developed an essential tremor, on top of that I had massive nausia inducing headaches that cost me my job. I’m thinking ( can’t prove this of course) that the excessive reaction to nicotine withdrawal might have something to do with the previous antidepressant withdrawal.

  166. I’ve been on methadone for 8 yrs I did a 24 hour detox which was still hell but I’m off and clean. But I feel numb inside like my feelings I can’t cry i feel like something is wrong with me inside

    • Candi,

      What you are experiencing is VERY much related to your detox and very normal. Nothing is wrong with you except that your brain is struggling without methadone to supply it with a steady source of dopamine (pleasure). Your brain chemistry has been changed (temporarily) by the drug and is now having to slowly adjust to not having it and making its own natural supply of dopamine again. It will be important for you to read the information on this site to have a better understanding of this. Also, you will need to find ways of coping while your brain slowly heals. This process can be somewhat long and challenging, especially for someone who has been on methadone for 8 years. That’s a big shock to your brain to go without. Staying busy, attending meetings (online, by phone, or in person), exercise, engaging in hobbies, finding support…all these things will help you through. Keep fighting…it is worth it!

  167. I have been on and off weed for so long now, I don’t even know how long I smoked this sh#t all together. Right before I turned 28 this December though, I finally decided to draw a final line and put an end to this destructive cycle. Now, I often find myself thinking about the days my brain was so active and smart, and words came at me like thunderbolts. And although I have been off MJ for about a month, I still feel like a retarded two-year-old zombie who can’t even put together a single sentence without drawing a blank at some point. I feel this latching fatigue that weighs down on my ability or motivation to socialize, get in touch with family members, and wake up on time for work… BTW, I’m late to work pretty much every day, but still haven’t been fired thanks to my super awesome boss who knows what I’m going through and believes I can make it. I don’t get headaches, nor have hallucinations, but I sure feel sad and exhausted. I work hard get rid of negative thoughts, and be more positive about life in general, but it’s mad hard. I’ll find myself thinking about sad stuff w/out even realising it. Luckily, I notice these episodes have been subsiding with each passing day, and I have had my boyfriend’s support and understanding from the day I decided to quit cold turkey. I still get odd dreams pretty much every night, but have been managing to dream about nice things also. I’m still sleeping all day during the weekends, but at least now I have gotten back to cooking a nice meal or two per week, which is something I have always loved doing. Overall, I am optimistic about my recovery, even though I am having a hard time with withdrawal symptoms. Thanks to people who share their stories online and to my BF, I can look at the big picture and know that things will get better one day. My advice, STAY OFF WEED!!! I could write more to share my experience, but am too tire to do so, I’m sorry.

  168. I wrote quite a long time ago, so i thought i might write something again.
    I stopped smoking Cannabis 2 years ago now and it has taken almost two years that I can say that I am almost completely back to “normal”, that means I have almost no anxiety anymore, my mental problems are almost gone, my depressions are almost gone, my confidence in myself is a lot better, I can fall asleep again and sleep good again and I feel that I am going to be ok again. During the first year it was pure hell, especially in the first few months, sleep was terrible etc. But even after 1 year I still had anxiety problems and occasionally sleeping problems. Mentally I wasnt as stable as before I quit.
    I would recommend to people that quit an yearlong addciton and happen to be a hypochondriac like me to be careful to go to a psychiatrist who has no real knowledge of cannabis addiction, because it can really bring difficulties that could be avoided because one really is very fragile and can get onto the wrong track in therapy or rather I should have taken it easier and not listen to my psychiatrist too much.
    Your mental state will get better over time but it will take a lot longer than you think and you should take it easy and not panic.
    It is very hard but not impossible and it is a great feeling when you feel you are healing and getting better and get confidence again.
    All the best to all

    • Well said Albi! Congrats on a huge milestone.

      Ru

      • Thanks Ru, I hope you are also getting better. I wish you all the best

    • Just reached 18 months this week, & I still don’t feel close to normal. Daily I have symptoms of dizziness,fatigue, depression, strange weird surges of panic and anxiety, and overall malaise. I want to say that I have gotten significantly better since the beginning of my quit, but I still do not feel happy or confident in my health by any means. It means a lot to hear you guys say that things have gotten much better after two years. And, it is very big of both of you to come back after all this time and help others out in their quest to become normal and happy again. Thanks and peace to all!

      • Thanks for your kind words. I hope you will feel better soon. I wouldn’t say that I am happy now, for that I have a too melancholic view and pessimistic outlook on our society, but I have gotten a lot more stable and “stronger” in the sense that I don’t take stupid thoughts too seriously and myself too seriously anymore. I wouldn’t say I am happy but more content and accept more. It’s hard for me to write it in English or write it at all, it would be easier to talk about it, but I hope you understand what I mean.
        All the best

    • albi i smoked cannabis only 2 3 months and i stopped smoking past 3 months (86) days!
      i have bad depersonalization and derealiztion .plz help did u ever felt dis dp dr? when dis will go? i feel world is fake shitt help

  169. 8 Months and still no sign of improvement after stopping smoking weed completely. I just want you guys to be honest is the brain damage permanent?

  170. Very good n interesting n helpful

  171. Anthony, For some people it can take one to sometimes two years for the brain to fully recover from weed abuse. I have read that so many times. So keep on going. Time is your friend… all the best Bas

  172. Hi people, I posted on here a while ago after experiencing some pretty severe withdrawal symptoms after years of smoking heavily and I recently found out some stuff and so I wanted to share it with all of you in the hopes that it can be of some help – so bare with me… 6 months after giving up and experiencing nightmarish symptoms, things started to get worse and worse (rather than a gradual improvement). I was exhausted, constantly, had nausea all day, every day, confusion, blurred vision, anxiety, my mood was non-existent, zombified, mad heart palpitations and chest pains and dizziness (the list goes on). I, like many others, started thinking something was seriously wrong. So I went to my GP (general doctor in England) who did some blood tests, which came back clear, was told it was depression (despite telling him about weed etc) and was given antidepressants. These made things 100% worse. Then started a year long journey which involved several more visits to the doctors, more blood tests, chest xrays, endoscopies, mris on my brain (twice), all coming back clear – note: after 18 years of smoking heavily, the last 4-5 years of which was the strong stuff, the MRI showed there was no structural damage to my brain, which is encouraging. Anyhow… after a year and 3 months, and things getting worse, I decided to get an exhaustive set of blood tests done privately (originally my mum – who has been with me the whole way – had done some research and wondered if I had hypothyroidism which matched a lot of my symptoms). The tests came back and it turned out that my B12 and folate levels were extremely low. Now, B12, I have since found out, is an extremely important vitimin, it effects every cell in the body, your blood, and acts as a kind if lubricant in your brain which helps your synapses pass information between each other efficiently. If your levels are low enough, it can cause serious issues. Doctors are generally ignorant of this, and often misdiagnose it as depression – I have since found out that the three sets of blood tests the GPs did checked for 3 things (the same three each time – diabetes, hydration levels and something else… exhaustive my a*s). Here are a list of things that can effect your bodies ability to metabolize B12 – folate defficiency, poor diet, smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, megoblastic aneamia (a disease which stops your body metabolizing B12) and, you guessed it, smoking weed (more research needs to be done on this, but I have found two websites that corroborate this). I have since been put on a series of B12 injections and other supplements, and though it takes around 4 months for your body to regenerate and heal with the B12 reintroduced, I have noticed a vast, VAST, improvement in both psychological and physiological symptoms. I have been reading all the comments as they come in, and I started to wonder, how much of withdrawals was just natural withdrawals and how much could be something else, in my case the B12? I found it interesting that severe alcoholics are given B12 injections if they give up, to help the body and more importantly the brain, with the healing process. Now I’m not saying that the withdrawals aren’t real, and I’m not saying that this will be the case for everyone. But it seems logical to me that the stronger the weed, the more pronounced it’s ability to effect the chemical balance in the body and brain. Now if you eat healthily, cut drinking and smoking, your body will slowly build the levels of B12 back up (but this can take a long time with just the right food alone) which may be why it’s taking so long for people to heal? Granted, if you pummel your brain with something like the strong weed, your brain will need time to readjust and get things back to normal, but it is an incredible organ and it will heal, over time. What I would say is, if you can, if you have a good doctor or the money to do so, get your B12 levels checked (it wouldn’t hurt to get more tests done, like a MOT just to check your levels in everything – as it would be helpful for anyone in recovery to know if they are deficient in anything, but this is not always possible). Again, I don’t want to get peoples hopes up, it’s not a cure for withdrawal, and it may not even be the case for you, but I know what it’s like to suffer for such a long time, and if there is anything that can even help a little bit, I had to share it. Also, a high fat (the right fats – ie fish, meat (not processed), nuts, seeds, coconut oil, hemp oil (ironically)), stone age diet is ideal for your brain and will help your brain’s recovery a lot. Apologies for the lengthy comment, there was a lot to say and it’s all rather complex. If anyone has any questions or would like information on where you can get decent B12 supplements (if you can’t get injections you can buy supplements online – the supplements, however, contain about 3% of what the injections would give you, so aren’t in any way as effective) I can give you links etc. P.S. there is no danger in taking B12, it can only benefit you. If you have too much, like protein for instance, your body will just pass it through. And one final thing – one of the reasons I found giving weed up so hard, was because I thought that in some way, weed made me who I was, who I wanted to be, and so when I stopped, I felt like a large part of me was missing. Now i’ve experienced windows of clarity, I’ve really seen just how much weed was suppressing the very part of me that I thought it was enhancing. There is hope people: and when you get there, it is a beautiful thing to behold. Stay strong and peace!

    • Thank for your advice, Rich, I am currently approaching 19 months cannabis free after 18 years use, 5 of which were daily, high-grade with hash, etc. To this day feel awful. I have a constant pressure in my head, I usually have a headache or burning sensation in my head. I feel dizzy and light headed from time to time still. I cannot exercise strenuously without feeling faint. etc, etc you name it I have it. Saw all the specialists and done most all the ‘usual’ tests and nothing is out of the ordinary. I thought I found the answer when I started high doses of liquid magnesium supplementation, but I have been doing that for 4 months and still don’t see a real improvement. The magnesium helped tremendously with my heart palpitations, but I still have all these other physical symptoms as well as waves of severe depression and surges of panic, anxiety, and depersonalization.

      I guess I am curious if you inject yourself with B12, or do you get it done at a clinic. I just bought some sublingual methylcobalamin B12 @ 3000mcg to try, so I hope it helps. I plan on getting a blood test done soon in hopes of ruling out deficiency, or finding a cause for all these shitty symptoms. This is seriously no way to exist. I cannot hold a job, I feel like I am out of touch with everything. I feel like time is passing me by. And I feel like I cannot get better and no doctor will help me find a solution. I am continuously told to try anti depressants but have heard way more things about them being harmful than beneficial. I am also alcohol free for 4 years now and take no other drugs.

      How long have you been cannabis free, Rich? How long have you been taking B12 supplemental injections to feel ‘vast’ improvement? Thank for your contribution and I hope you can find true peace and well-being very soon.

  173. All the symptoms listed are very common for cannabis effects. For more info you can check out articles on my website and/or get the documentary. http://www.oscdoc.com. Things WILL get better. Stay clean. Eat healthy. Get exercise. Redirect stinkin’ thinkin’ for positive affirmations. Get support. Find a sponsor. Don’t isolate. Just a few of the many things you can do to get well 🙂

    • I didn’t see that this posted so I reposted… anyway to delete this one? I don’t see how to delete. Thanks!

  174. No problem man, it’s the least I can do, and if I find out anything else in this mad recovery journey I will post it up on here. As for your questions:

    I initially was given 5 injections over two weeks – hydroxocobalamin 1000mcgs directly into the muscle in my arm. Basically, the first injection was like taking some mad drug called NORMALCY!!! I felt a bit weird for a few hours and had a weird taste in my mouth, and then went to the gym. I noticed an almost immediate boost in my energy levels, I was on the exercise bike and rather than sweating profusely and needing to stop after 10-15 mins – I was breathing steadily and able to push the resistance up. Then after I went for a coffee with my friend who has only known me while I’ve been in the deep, as it were, and she was shocked at how my mood had changed. I was recalling things, telling stories, laughing, talking. I felt better than I had in over a year. Focused and happy. This leveled out gradually over a few days, and then symptoms returned, which apparently is quite normal. Then another boost on the last injection, and then back to the same old symptoms, which was a killer. The NHS will only give you five injections, despite the NICE guidelines saying that you if you are experiencing neurological symptoms, then you should be on injections at least 3 times a week until you experience no further improvement. According to my new private doctor, who I have had to resort to and who my awesome mum and dad are footing the bill (I am lucky as f**k to have a supportive family), the B12 goes into your blood first, and then has to travel round your body, to literally every cell in your body, and then those cells have to regenerate with the B12 in it. This process takes around 120 days, of which I am about 6 weeks into. So nearly half way. I have been taught to inject myself, which is actually really easy. At the moment I am on the same injections as mentioned above, but I’m probably going to give the methylcobalamin injections a try as apparently that form of B12 is better for people with more neurological symptoms. Just a small needle straight into my thigh muscle, alternating legs each time (I feel like a proper B12 junky with a pile of used needles in my kitchen, lol).

    I actually tried those methylcobalamin sublingual thingys in between having the injections on the NHS and when I started injecting myself. The dosage is a tad misleading, as taking anything sublingually is probably the most inefficient way of taking things. My new doc said, of that 3000mcgs, you probably injest about 3mcgs. This is no where near enough, if you do have a deficiency. If you get the tests done, depending on the doctor, you may want to do a bit of online reading as there is a lot of contention as to what is deemed deficient.

    I hear you man. This last year and 6 months has been unbearable. I was a year into my PHD when I stopped, and it’s ruined everything. I’m a creative writing student (forgive the spelling and grammar mistakes 😉 it’s late and I’m speed typing here) and one of the more prominent symptoms I’ve experienced is a massive reduction in my ability to speak fluidly and remember words, often hitting brick walls in the middle of sentences and feeling like I’m unable to follow trails of thought, or process information. So as you can imagine, I have done no work and had to take a break.Talking to people has been hell and so I have basically become a recluse. I’ve spent the last year only leaving the house when I absolutely have to and I have lost touch with so many of my friends. I had to take time out from the PHD and life and I know what you mean about it feeling as if life is passing you by, it’s such a waste man. I’ve been offered anti depressants more times than I care to remember. I tried taking citalipram in the early days, and within a day I felt like I was going fookin insane, having seriously dark thoughts and my body was screaming at me to stop, so I stopped really quickly and it felt a bit like I went though a mini withdrawl within a withdrawal, which wasn’t fun. I would wholeheartedly say stay the fuck away from them. They’re evil things and they should not be handed out by doctors like candy. I know so many people on ant-depressants for various reasons, and every time I see them, they’re still breaking down crying and feeling horrible, so I really do wonder why they bother. I also find it laughable that you are going to your doctor talking about giving up drugs and being clean, but suffering in the process, and their answer is pumping you with more mind altering substances to help??? After telling me I shouldn’t be taking a mind altering substance to cope with life… nuts. I’m rambling now… lol sorry.

    So yeah, been off the weed for nearly a year and a half. I was drinking once a week last year, but my new doctor has said he wants me to stop that for a good 4 months while the b12 takes effect etc, as alcohol is one of the worst things for b12 metabolization. So I’m 6 days alcohol free now, haha, but I’ve never been a big drinker, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem and if I feel good again in however long, then I may just give it up altogether (the target being to live clean and be happy). I’m on a stone age diet, with a fuck tonne of mad supplements and stuff, as he wants to completely detox my body. 6 weeks for the injections, and again, the vast improvement thing is maybe subjective. Let’s put it this way, 6 weeks ago I was waking up feeling hungover, or like I’d been hit by a truck or something. I was unable to do anything really, walking to the shops was hard, I would feel drunk, like I had no coordination, being around people out in the open made me so panicky it was stupid. I would have really bad nausea from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. and weird stuff like shooting pains, tremors, cold extremities, wildly random heart palpitations – I can’t tell you how many times my heart would just leap in my chest to the point that I would actually be scared it was just going to explode. It was really dark times. So if that was on a scale of one to ten, one being six weeks ago, I would say I’m probably oscillating between a 2-4, which to me, is a vast improvement. The boost from that first injection, was like a 10 man. And as my therapist so succinctly put it, if your brain has achieved that level of clarity, it means you can get there again. I’ve noticed that I laugh at things, my train of thought seems to have quickened a tad, and things come and go in varying lengths of waves. Those weird pressure headaches and odd skull sensations are more gradual. But again, brain stuff takes longer to heal than anything. The neurologist that I saw for my brain scans, as a matter of interest, is an expert in MS, and so has done a lot of research into cannabis, and funnily enough has also had other patients with withdrawals and he said, let me guess, it’s the strong stuff? Knowingly. He was confident that I would feel better, but that this new stuff makes the recovery period that much longer (this was before all the b12 stuff). So i dunno. Do I still freak out and worry that this b12 stuff is all just gonna amount to nothing? Yes. Do I constantly worry that I have done permanent damage to my brain, like I’ll never be normal and will be stuck like this, yes. But, I have noticed improvements and I’m just gonna be discaplined with this detox stuff, and stay on the treatment course and pray to a god I don’t believe in that things will eventually get better and I can start living properly. I’m 33 now and I have no job, no partner, few friends left and no life whatsoever. So I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. Fingers crossed eh?

    Same to you man, we could all do with a little peace and well-being!
    R

  175. The symptoms listed from Cannabis addiction are very common–sleep issues, discontent, loss of interest in daily life, paranoia, depression, stomach issues, panic attacks, etc.. It can take years to unwind. There are many excellent articles and links on my website: http://www.oscdoc.com. Keep the faith, exercise, eat healthy, get support, don’t isolate, redirect any stinkin’ thinkin’, embrace sobriety with all your heart and know it will be rewarded. It may take more time than you would like, but things WILL improve. I also do supportive coaching (www.heartsgateproductions.com) if you are interested.

  176. Hi Guys,

    It’s a tough journey, I was a heavy MJ smoker for over 20 years. I’m 3 day’s from being clean for 2 years. The worst for me was the debilitating anxiety. Paxil suppressed it slightly but I only used for the first 4 months then stopped. I was OK for 3 months after but anxiety crept back. I used Paxil for another 4 months and stopped. I have only had very minor anxiety for the 8 months after and the last 3-4 months no anxiety at all. I still feel down at times but l keep pushing my self through. You must find things to look forward too. Get a hobby and make sure you try to enjoy yourself. Focus on all good things life has to offer and you will pull through.
    I appreciate all who have posted on this forum as I never felt that I was alone.

    Thank you

    • Just posted this to another’s post… some of which may apply to your post:
      I am an expert speaker on the subject of the negative effects of marijuana. I was recently at an event with psychiatrists and addiction specialists who told me that it can take up to 5 years to fully regain the damage done from marijuana–particularly if there’s been a psychotic break. The important part is to stay clean of all substance so the brain can heal. Good things to do are to get exercise, eat healthy, stay clean and work on improving your brain chemistry through laughter, love, kindness, meditation, etc. Congrats on choosing to get clean. That’s not easy. http://www.oscdoc.com.

  177. 20 yr. Chronic pain patient. 10 yrs. Of dr. Prescribed oxycontin, last at least 3 yrs. 80mg 3xa day plus 10/325 perc. Oxy fast liquid, only by the grace of God and his beautiful yet horrible coincidences was I discharged right before the fent. Patch was to be used, over 2 months of detox, .60lbs,lost, prayed to die but didn’t, now what’s left?? I’m trying, I put helpful reminders all over my home, I’m really trying, it’s been over 3 months, I’m not sure I will make it through this, I’ll never take another opiate but the pain,rage,depression, sadness, fatigue, hopelessness, financial ruin,then I read this can go on for years?? How can I live through years of this? I’m eating healthy, trying alternative medicine like cbd, all very expensive, yikes I’m only 52 but wonder if I’ll ever see 55. I’m not a quitter but this is kicking my ass hard just me and my dogs no one really knows how bad it is, I don’t tell my daughter she has her own life, friends? Funny , I have got to get outside of myself I can sometimes but I can’t stay there long enough to help myself. Sinking in opioid withdrawal quicksand.

    • Hi guys,

      Just about 6 months in after quitting weed cold turkey. Used for just under 10 years, sometimes daily sometimes not.

      Thankfully, I seem to have dealt with most of my anxiety related issues and put them behind me.

      Main symptom that’s bothering me most now is the brain fog….

      For those that are a year or 2 clean, I want to know does the brain fog lift? That’s my biggest obstacle right now.

      Thanks to all posting here!!

      • I am an expert speaker on the subject of the negative effects of marijuana. I was recently at an event with psychiatrists and addiction specialists who told me that it can take up to 5 years to fully regain the damage done from marijuana–particularly if there’s been a psychotic break. The important part is to stay clean of all substance so the brain can heal. Good things to do are to get exercise, eat healthy, stay clean and work on improving your brain chemistry through laughter, love, kindness, meditation, etc. Congrats on 6 months. That’s not easy. Be aware that 9 months is a marker for relapse… pay special attention during that period to reach out for support. Don’t isolate. Don’t let the drug trick you to just having a little. It will take you right back to start all over. The fog will clear–be good to yourself. http://www.oscdoc.com.

      • Thanks for the reply. Glad to hear the fog will lift!

        I do still drink, but have been meditating and exercising daily, as well as taking omega 3 fish oil supplements.

        Not planning on ever going back. I am getting married in September and a promise to myself that I would be over a year clean for that.

      • Highly recommend switching to “mocktails” all substance contributes to brain issues.

  178. My question is if ibwas getting clean off weed having thc in my system. Would adding a narcotic to my system being hydrocodone would that slow down the release of the THC cells

  179. So I was on 10mg of methadone and I went 6 days cold turkey. Then I really withdrawal so bad I went to the hospital got on tramadal which helped til I ran out then I got oxycodones then I bought 10mg methadone cut it in half took it for 3 days then I stopped. For 3 days I took my husbands liquid methadone and it made me sick to my stomach all day long, I took 20mg of oxys and those made me nauseous. So I’m not taking anything and I feel weak, my lower body is in pain all the time I do feel like I have the flu my skin hurts my back hurts and really I just sleep I just fall asleep so I’m taking gabapentin to see if it’ll stop taking us and pain that I’m feeling I only took methadone for a year I started at 30 milligrams my highest was 90 and I’ve been tapering off of 90 and I got down to 10 milligrams

  180. Hi guys,

    Just about 10 months in after quitting weed cold turkey. Used for just under 3 years, everyday since I was 13 now I’m 16.

    I still feel depressed and my anxiety it’s still in full affect but the

    Main symptom that’s bothering me most now is the brain fog….

    For those that are a year or 2 clean, I want to know does the brain fog lift? And does the brain get permanently damaged or does it go normal again?

  181. Hi,

    I am a parent and my son had been using methamnetamine over the last 4 years. He has decided to change and stop using. He was off it for 3 months and 2 days but he used it again once last week. He was very upset and regret it. My question is that how much damage has done and how this has affected his recovery? Has all that 3 months drug free time is wasted or it can still be counted as his recovery time?
    Your help is greatly appreciated.

    • Hi SY,

      Any amount of time without use of substances is very helpful to the brain, so the 3 months and 2 days was certainly not a waste. However, a better question to consider is: what is your son doing to recover? Recovery is about more than just NOT using anymore, it is about learning how to live without substances to “mood alter” – when he gets angry or sad, what is he doing to cope? How is he managing his emotions and his life? The 12-step program can help with this part of recovery because it teaches coping skills through a structured process of learning how to grow up and deal with “life on life’s terms” instead of “life on my terms.”

      Also, the other question I am curious about is this: the fact that you are reaching out about your son’s situation indicates that you are very concerned about him (Just curious, why isn’t he reaching out instead of you?) — which is completely normal for a parent. However, how are you taking care of yourself? Have you learned yet that you have absolutely no control over your son’s use or recovery process? That you can’t stop him from using? That sometimes helping him is not actually helping him and it is better if he helps himself? Alanon would be a great resource for you to learn from other parents, spouses, children of those with substance use issues and begin to see that you have to learn how to cope and accept your son where he is…and that your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health is going to be very helpful to your son’s recovery process as well.

      Best wishes for both your recovery and your son’s,

      DD

      • Hi DD,

        I have since found that my son was still using drugs when I thought he wasn’t. We cought him and now he is ready to quit. Why I say that, is because he said to us that he has realised that he has a problem because he dosen’t want to take it anymore but he can’t stop. He also said that he doesn’t know what to do when he thought in the past that he was in control. He took himself to hospital and has said to staff there and us that he wants to go to rehab, something that he refused to do. I am currently looking at different rehab places to find one that has the best treatment for him. I know that we have a long and difficult way to go but he has taken the first steps and I am happy that I will have my son back soon. I just thought to let you know where we are at with my son and have the support. I can’t talk to anyone but here I feel comfortable to share my story. Thank you

  182. Thank you so much for your prompt and detailed response. When we found out what he has been doing about 3 years ago, we were devastated and life for our family has been sorrowful. However, we have learnt a lot during this period and accepted the fact that if he doesn’t decide to stop we can’t do much other than showing him love. Now, he wants to stop and change. He was seeing psychologist and psychiatrist in the past and I guess this time he is seeing them for changing his life. He also has gone back to uni to finish his studies. I will introduce your forum which I have found really helpfull, to him and encourage him to join in. Thank you again for your helpful comments.

  183. PLEASE HELP. My son who was 19 needs me but I feel like a fish outta water. I know very little about synthetic drugs (he tested positive for spice when we took him to the ER, he stated that he felt like he was going to die) ER gave him a lecture on spice, said to take him home and he’d be fine in 24-48 hours.
    In 48 hours, he was worse!! We took him back to the ER where he was extremely paranoid and crying uncontrollably (Christmas Day). He was admitted into a behavioral unit for a week (diagnosed with schizophrenia) and sent home with medications. I tapered him off the Meds and two days later, he admitted himself into a local inpatient program.
    He’s been clean for 8 weeks but he appears to be “locked inside his body or mind” and communicates very little. Paranoia is still present. Has great difficulty with fine motor skills (treatment facility stated that he had to be shown how to use a broom). Simple tasks that I KNOW he can do.
    My heart is literally broken. I’ve never seen someone appear to be in torment and it’s like he can’t reach us. He will have bouts of uncontrollable crying but cannot tell you why he is crying.

    Please bridge the gap here for me and I’d appreciate any similar stories. Should I be seeking another program? Idk but I’m scared and I want my son back!!

    • Hi Debbie,

      The situation with your son is complicated and will require more detailed assessment/information. Synthetic drugs can have powerful, lasting effects on the brain and can cause someone to look and act as if they are psychotic/experiencing psychosis. I’m curious about his diagnosis of schizophrenia – has he ever shown signs of this before? It definitely sounds like it could be a misdiagnosis, especially considering your son’s recent use of synthetic drugs prior to diagnosis. It is impossible to give an accurate diagnosis to someone who has a brain chemistry that has been impacted by huge chemical surges (synthetic drugs cause considerable neurochemical surges/drops). It is also common for the effects of synthetic drugs to be long-lasting and sometimes there is permanent damage. The best advice I can give would be for him to continue to remain clean/sober and continue to work on coping skills – the longer he can remain off of mood-altering/mind-altering substances, the better – this may require that he stay in an inpatient program where he can be monitored and where he will not have access to substances. For you, I would say you need all of the support you can get — and will likely be able to find that in local Alanon meetings, your local church, or NAMI meetings too.

      Best to you…

      DD

  184. Thank you for your reply. No!! He’s never been diagnosed with schizophrenia — ever!! He played 12 years of football, wrestling and track.
    An absolute joy to be around.
    He started college and moved in with friends that he had never associated with. They were using and selling.

    Now, he’s a shell of himself and it’s been 9 weeks tomorrow. He’s in a faith based program (residential program).
    Very concerned that he seems so secluded, will barely talk to us and we’ve always been close. He’s not opening up to anyone. Difficulty following a conversation and they literally had to show him how to use a broom to participate in chores.

    Any information would be so welcomed. Not a lot of help with this is our community, no one even seems to know anything about synthetics.

    I just want him son back and healed!!!

    • Debbie,

      Treatment programs can really vary greatly – especially with faith-based programs. I have nothing against faith-based programs because they do have a place in the field and they can offer people the assistance that they so desperately need – and sometimes are the only affordable option. My issue with them is that Addiction/Substance Use is not a moral issue – much like a person wouldn’t necessarily go to church to treat their diabetes. They might pray for healing and rely on the church to find hope and support, but it wouldn’t have an actual impact on how they treat their diabetes (taking insulin, proper diet, checking blood sugar, etc). Diabetics still have to LEARN about their illness – how to follow a proper diet, exercise regularly, manage their blood sugar levels appropriately (what to do when their blood sugar gets low, what to do when it is high, etc). There is A LOT for them to learn – and a lot of behavioral changes that must take place, and if they don’t learn it and make the changes they need to make, they aren’t likely to be successful and will continue to have complications/consequences from unmanaged diabetes. The same is true with addiction. It is a brain disease – meaning it impacts the brain and this impacts a person’s judgment, behaviors, relationships, impulse control, etc. It is vital to your son’s health that you educate yourself about the disease of addiction and it is even more vital that he gets properly educated about it as well. It is highly unlikely that he will get the education he needs from a faith-based institution because their focus tends to be on the teachings of Jesus. Again, helpful for many people — but not ALL that is needed. Again, addiction is a medical, biological issue – not a moral issue. Yes, the use of substances cause people to do things that they would not normally do (and one might argue these are “immoral” behaviors) but the reason they are doing that is because something is wrong with their brain. The brain has been changed by the substance. Further education can be found on the pages of this site, so I would recommend reading and re-reading this information, along with the other resources listed on the resource page. Additionally, I would suggest getting yourself to the next Alanon meeting that you can find and speak to other parents/families about your experience. They will likely have a great deal of support, resources, and information for other sources of support and info in your local area. You must reach out to others as much as you possibly can. It is highly likely that what you are seeing from him is a result of synthetic drug use. 8 weeks is a good amount of recovery time — so you should be seeing positive changes in him by now if he is appropriately invested in recovery and the program is helping him along to make these changes. 4 more weeks should give you further indication…but I’ve seen recovery from synthetic use take much longer than average and again, sometimes there are long-term or even permanent effects to the brain.

  185. I do supportive coaching in this field, if you are interested: http://www.heartsgateproductions.com. I also agree with DD, Alanon meetings, NAMI, local community mental health departments have counseling. It is a painful and long journey and many of us have walked this path. As a mother and professional I can fully relate. I urge you to get support and get educated. Sending much understanding your way.

  186. Hi my name is Stephanie and I’ve been using meth, pot, and seraquil for about 20 yrs now. I’m three weeks and two days clean I was wondering if itchyness and can’t sleep is caused by these drugs. I’m in Phoenix had to get out of SLC UT because I’m done with drugs. Can you.enlighten me? Thx sleepless in Phoenix……

  187. Hi guys,

    Just about 10 months in after quitting weed cold turkey. Used for just under 3 years, everyday since I was 13 now I’m 16.

    I still feel depressed and my anxiety it’s still in full affect but the

    Main symptom that’s bothering me most now is the brain fog….

    For those that are a year or 2 clean, I want to know does the brain fog lift? And does the brain get permanently damaged or does it go normal again?

  188. Hi, I have been clean for 28 months after 21 years of solid use. Problem I have is I don’t know what it’s like to feel normal. I can’t tell. I still go through anxiety / depression from time to time but it seems to be less each time. What ever way you look at it you will be better off without weed. No doubt time will heal you as you didn’t use for very long. Hang in there it will get better.

    • My name is David. This is my first post after reading all the comments. I am so grateful for all that have shared; it has been very encouraging.

      It appears most here have struggled with marijuana. My addiction is caffeine. I have taken a pre workout powder (used for the gym) for ten years now. I hope most of the withdrawal symptoms are similar because I have been suffering from depression and anxiety for almost two months now; since I went from almost 500mg of caffeine daily down to 135mg daily.

      I didnt even know I had an addiction until I tried to cut back. I should’ve known due to the intense cravings I had for more of it. All the withdrawal symptoms took me by total surprise. I went to see a psychiatrist and he said any withdrawal symptoms should’ve been over in 10 days, and that most likely I had become depressed. He said that 10% of the population becomes depressed every year, and this is just my year.

      Now, after two months the symptoms have become manageable. For the first few weeks I could barely function and had a hard time getting out of bed to go to work. When I was at work my focus was gone and I was just barely existing. I cried at every thought and my family saw a huge difference in my normally joking and fun personality. I woke up every morning with severe anxiety and panic in my stomach.

      Now, the anxiety has decreased but I am on edge constantly and easily stressed. The depression is my biggest issue now. I still don’t find joy in things I used to, and, I constantly think sad thoughts.

      My concern now is can anyone tell me how long I should allow myself to taper off the caffeine I am still taking? I’m afraid to cut back too quickly because I am frightened that my post withdrawal symptoms may go back to their worst.

      It appears my brain chemicals have been healing since my symptoms are improving. Is it true that my brain won’t truly heal until I am totally off the caffeine?

      Also, can anyone offer me advice on a time plan to taper off the caffeine u am still talking?

      • Hey David, do you still access this website I can give you some advice!

  189. I just started ‘experimenting’ with opiates a 8 days ago (dilaudid, morphine and heroin).
    I can already feel my tolerance increasing and withdrawals in the morning worse.
    These are some power drugs.
    Already booked an appointment with an addictions councillor before things get out of hand…which I can see happening.

  190. 7:01 pm

    Hi…well its horrble m sufring with badly head spin dizzy groggy scared tired no social DP DR ..world seems fake to me ..n just alive deadbody…i left weed 55 days ago ..lot of things got better but still feel worsttttt because of depressed in day and dizzy at evening..i smoked pot just for 2months that too very less and afyer 4 5 days withdrwal started…i dont understand dis dizzy DP DR will ever go?? It kills man plzz help i need hopes i camt watch tv movies cell phone for longer i cant cummincate with people for longer..suddenly i feel vvv guilty upset heary rate get faster nd i cry fr a second …reply
    Dizziness kills i cnt focus on anything i feel like i m high in evening

  191. http://www.drugs.com/pro/fentanyl-transdermal.html
    Great! Very accurate post! Thank you for taking the time to put this info together for those who haven’t personally experienced it. Its very informative. Except I have a comment… Fentanyl is not short acting it actually takes a very long time to withdrawal from because it’s lipophillic(fat-loving) It stores in your fat cells and like methadone which accumulates in your bone marrow it’s very hard physically and emotionally difficult to withdraw from because of its lingering effects. They prescribe fentanyl patches as long acting opioid tolerant medication for around the clock pain management. And personally (IMO) I believe Fentanyl patches SHOULD ONLY BE PRESCRIBED FOR END OF LIFE CARE. *DISCLAIMER* I am not a Doctor and the above & below comments are only my opinion based on personal experience, research and from working in the health care field for over 10 years. I am in no way qualified to give medical advice to others nor diagnose any conditions. However if you have a question about fentanyl withdrawal I would be more than happy to share my personal experience (which may be the same or completely different as medication and withdrawal effect everyone differently based on a number of factors) & as my husband and I were on 100mcg/hr every 48 hours for about 7 years when we quit cold turkey by choice. We only took clonidine Which is on label: rx’d as a blood pressure pill but is frequently used in rehab&hospital settings to help with withdrawling, and it helped us considerably, especially with the creepy crawly skin and restless leg syndrome, also HOT baths & showers( when’s baths were unavailable) frequently. Also if you have access to a sauna (we did not, but wished we had) Anything to sweat or otherwise detoxify the substance out. I’ve heard from a close personal friend coffee enemas are very beneficial for this process also but (please research thoroughly so you do this method properly, if you so choose to do so) I had difficulty eating anything that was solid for a about two weeks, however I was able to drink my fruits and veggies with almond milk and ice and a scoop of protein juiced/ blended daily. And we dranks TONS OF WATER. We felt very very very weak on days we didnt eat nor drink enough, you have to get your nutrients for energy no matter what or it will be 10 x amplified “I feel like death warmed over crappiness!” IMO I do not recommend quitting Cold Turkey especially at home from these fent patches as my husband was unable to sleep at all due to repeatedly watching me stop breathing in my sleep and repeatedly waking me to get my lungs to “wake up” the entire 1st week of stopping cold turkey from 100 mcg duragesic brand name fentanyl transdermal patches, which was absolutely terrifying for both of us as you can imagine but unfortunately this WAS OUR ONLY OPTION DUE TO CRAPPY INSURANCE. I believe IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE…GRADUALLY tapering with the assistance of a QUALIFIED & SUPPORTIVE doctor THAT you can be open and honest with , or inpatient treatment, OR IN A HOSPITAL SETTING WITH IV FLUIDS would be best. AGAIN ALL IN MY OPINION BECAUSE I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Thank you & I hope this helps even 1 person .

  192. Hi guys,

    Just about a year and 1 month ago I completely stopped smoking weed. I’ve been using for about 3 years since I was 13 and now I’m 17 . I’m always feeling depressed and I don’t feel normal like how I used to but my main symptom is brain fog. I stopped a couple times for about 3 days and my brain felt clear headed but I was addicted so I kept on going but one day I finally stopped and I’m here now. Now the brain fog hasn’t cleared or the depression. I just want someone to be honest with me because I can’t go on like this. Does my brain get better or is this permanent?

  193. i abused marijuana’ for 3 4 month only a small drags every evening..
    well i m 20 and i m 86 days clean.
    i still get anxiety dizziness in waves.
    i have panic attacks every nite i gt up 2 times with numb tingling hands.
    my bigg bigg prob is depersonalization derealiztion..dis is 24 hours !!

    plz help me dp dr will ever go?? i feel everything’s weird i cant go out much nor i cant do job

    anyone faced dis ? for how long

  194. […] Today I realised that a lot of my thought process centres around the thought ‘how do I feel’. I am constantly analyzing my feelings. Things that normally give me pleasure, like gardening or painting, aren’t quite doing it for me. There is a definite slump in my mood. It is not so bad that I can’t function. I am not feeling depressed. I just feel ‘blah’. And you know that anxiety has been a constant companion, even before quitting. I used to self medicate…..drink……but now I don’t. I am doing o.k and learning other coping skills. There are many reports of how long PAWS last […]

  195. Ru, are you still sober? if so how have your paws progressed?

  196. Hi, I’m an alcoholic. I have 42 days sober.
    Before I got sober I had a huge panic attack that landed me in hospital and was told it was a withdrawal symptom considering the frequency I was drinking. Ive been drinking around 10 years but following the break up of a relationship it escalated in quantity rapidly.

    Following that I went to rehab where I tapered off the alcohol with Librium and zoplicone. Once that was complete after 2 days I had another panic attack which created unbelievable anxiety to the point I thought I was losing my mind and the rehab called in a doctor. There werent triggers for eiher panic attacks they came out of the blue. The doctor diagnosed me with depression and anxiety. Even though I didn’t feel low just the immense anxiety. I began to take 20mg p/d of citalopram which helped with the anxiety but came with other lesser side effects which I didn’t mind as long as I didn’t feel so anxious.

    Today I have no desire to drink and am very happy to be out of the cycle I struggled with for years of being anxious so drinking then being hungover so being anxious, repeat.

    I am starting CBT and addiction therapy next week.

    What I am experiencing atm I would consider to be PAWS from reading all over the net. To which I have found this blog to have been the greatest source of information and shared experiences. Thank you dopaminedialogue ive related to a lot of what everyones said even though our drug of choice may be different.

    To my symptoms. Everyday I wake up feeling very weird, groggy, low, with mild anxiety like I’m hungover but harder to accept as there isn’t a reason for it, like oh yeah, those 10 cans last night. It usually gradually gets better till the evening when I feel good and how I want to feel all the time. I sleep very well compared to when I was drinking which was struggling to fall asleep and waking 4/5 times a night.

    I also quit smoking at the same time as alcohol. I’m vegan and realise I must have been deficient in b12 as I didn’t supplement. Following research I now supplement b12, b complex, flax seed oil for omega 3, magnesium and L Glutamine. Food wise I don’t eat meat, dairy, processed food. its all fruits (though not much due to fructose), veg, seeds, buts, legumes and rice. I am sure to get a full range of micro nutrients as well as balance macros.

    I either run for half an hour or cycle for 2 every day for exercise and have taken up yoga and intend to go to the gym as ive lost about a stone (14pounds) in the time ive been sober so getting skinny.

    I suppose if I have questions they would be,
    what do you think is happening during my sleep for me to fee the way I do when I wake up?
    could it be the SSRI?
    by taking an SSRI am I hindering or slowing down my PAWS recovery?
    will I get PAWS once I stop taking citalopram and have to go through this again?

    Thank you everyone that has contributed.

  197. Have be clean from fetenal for 5 yrs 🙂 just had surgery was given one dose of 100 mg of fetenal will I go back in to withdraw!?

    • Tammi,

      Any time you use an addictive substance there will likely be withdrawal, but that is normal for anyone. However, by having this substance reintroduced to your brain, it may cause cravings/a desire to use during withdrawal or even for some time after. I always recommend that those in recovery who have to have medical procedures and are given drugs — to be sure to be aware of the risk to your recovery and to double up on meetings, sponsor contact, support, etc before and after the procedure. If you have any pain meds or any other medications that are habit-forming sent home with you then have a family member keep it and dose it out only as prescribed (or even less frequently, if tolerated). It is best if the medical staff is well aware of the situation and also limits the number of refills/dosage, etc. Just because you are in recovery doesn’t mean you have to endure pain following a procedure, but it is important to carefully plan it out and be aware of the risks — and take the necessary actions to protect your recovery. I wish you the best with it!

      DD

  198. Im surprised authors come back after years. Im hoping to be part of this healing process. Im addicted to heroin this is the first time I said it. Left my job. Cant pay rent. Flunked college bad. Things are due today. No more stash. Im sore all over. Feel cold and sweats are cold. No support. My fam betrayed me i feel. They took my child can only visit twice a month. I didnt do anything to hurt my fam. Im pregnant, conceived before all this I dont care about anything anymore because I lost everything. The only person I had was the guy who introduced it to me but he’s pushing away more addicted than me, at least he has his fam helping him.. Im alone. Im so hungry. It hurts to get out of bed. I read somewhere here that I cant stand still but my whole body hurts. So depressed to know Im in this place. I used to have a family. A good job. Friends. People wanted to be with me. I isolated myself and now my only “friend” was heroin. I did my last bag yesterday. Woke up at 6am just sorted laundry and looked for hidden bags. I cant do this I guess Im depressed.

    • Dea,

      Take yourself to your nearest emergency room. From there hopefully you can get into a treatment program – most places will refer you to state-funded treatment or a halfway house where you can at least find shelter and support. There are also often treatment programs for pregnant women. At the very least, you can get some help with detoxing. Reach out for help anywhere you can. There is no doubt that you will feel depressed because your brain has been through this surge of pleasure that leads to a severe drop in pleasure after the high is over. This is normal and will last a while, but the longer you go without using, the closer you will be to recovery and to feeling normal again without having to use heroin or other substances.

      Stay strong and get help!

      DD

  199. Wow, such wonderful dedication to this blog and to the people who are reaching out for help! THANK YOU, DopamineDialogue. You’re obviously one of the angels on earth that we all rely on from time to time.

    I was just doing a search for depression and ended up here, reading and absorbing all the stories and advice. I just assumed that my depression was a result of my lifestyle – I’ve been caregiving for my parents for two years, both of whom have Alzheimer’s – and I was looking for some inspiration on how to deal with this low-grade mood I seem to have sunk into….

    But I had completely forgotten (oh how convenient!) that I am an addict. I stopped drinking alcohol 11 years ago (hit rock bottom at age 50). After that, I took up cigarettes again (which I had quit before) and started smoking pot as well. Boy, did I learn to love that nightly high on pot! It made life all rosy and wonderful again.

    Recently, though, my lungs have been complaining big time, so last November I quit tobacco altogether, although I continued to smoke pot, mixed with nicotine-free herb. Then, as my lungs continued to protest, I quit smoking altogether and switched to vaping.

    HOWEVER. I didn’t even make the connection between my changes in habit to my depression. I just thought I was depressed because my mother is getting worse and I’m overwhelmed by the responsibility and the hours required to care for my parents.

    Now I’m thinking that the “not smoking” is all part of it, and that it might also be a withdrawal from tobacco and from the smoking high I got from the pot (vaping is quite a different high for me, not at all the same as smoking).

    I guess I’ll have to give up the vaping at some point, too. It’s certainly a challenge being an addict, and wanting to have a “reward” at the end of every day. As I told my therapist the last time I was in therapy, it can’t be a reward if it’s something good for me (like yoga), it has to be something “bad.” Of course, that’s just me insisting on a bad reward, but I wonder if other addicts have that same feeling of self-destructive tendencies. Sad.

    I do have Xanax for occasional use, and I will go out now and see if I can find some of those supplements mentioned in one of the posts. I do yoga and meditation every morning, and I should probably cut back on my coffee, because I drink a lot of that every morning. Sheesh!

    I’ll be 60 this year, and I’m hoping to have at least one decade without the roller-coaster ride of addiction colouring my life.

    • Bryana, I’m so glad you found this blog and that it was helpful for you!

      DD

  200. Looking for withdrawal.symptoms of chemical inhalation over 5-years

  201. Hi.
    I’m currently withdrawing from coffee and I must say it’s not pleaseant. I quit coffee because I had realized that I was keeping me awake for too long, disrupting my sleep and giving me anxiety. I had drank coffee for like 10 years, every morning and perhaps once more during the afternoon.

    Though quantities of caffeine involved weren’t too great, the sheer lenght of time I had used it made for a very sh**** withdrawal. I can’t concentrate properly and feel tired and unmotivated all the time. It resembles acute amphetamine withdrawal, though without the “impending doom” stuff (yeah I’ve tried ampthetamines).

    Now I see that the way I used coffee had not been healthy, and that coffee is a DRUG, just like any other substance, though obviously milder than illicit stimulants. Being on a stimulant every day, the way I had done it, is not a good idea. It had gotten me anxious and burnt out. I even had unexplicable manifestations of physical pain sometimes (neck pain and tension). Now I realize it was due to stress response coffee had been creating day in day out.

    BTW I had tried many illicit drugs, and sometimes went on binges. However, my chronic use of coffee had turned out to be just as bad as abusing an illicit drug on a binge would be. I never even thought about using say “speed” every day, because it would get me burnt out real quick. Then why the hell was I using coffee every day? It’s because IT’S LEGAL, and so presumably SAFE. Thought it is “safer”, it’s in no way harmless when done without moderation. I’m not condoning illegal drug use, just stating the fact that if the drug is legal, it doesn’t mean it can’t f**k with your head. Be smart and check what your body is telling you! 😉

  202. This has been a great article! I do have a question, and I really hope somebody out there is listening… I’m coming close to 3 weeks clean from a 2 month Kratom habit, and a 10 year off and on nicotine patch addiction. I have gotten off of nicotine before in the past, with just brain fog, headaches, and slight anxiety/craving and that was about it. BUT this time, about 3 weeks ago, I stopped using Kratom and nicotine together, and during the acute stage, I went into a few full blown panic attacks and severe anxiety… the SCARY kind lol like I thought I was going to have to be admitted into a mental hospital. The 7th day came and that constant severe anxiety stage left thank God, so I saw hope. BUT now, I’ve been in such a weird fog! In this fog has anybody experienced like wobbly eyes/dizziness??? It’s has been driving me insane! And it literally brings me anxiety! It’s so hard for me to want to even go to events with a lot of people because I’m afraid I might go into a seizure or something lol that’s how disoriented I feel at times. Please tell me I haven’t screwed up my vision… and please tell me this will leave… it feels like there is no way it will leave bc it doesn’t seem to be getting better! Please reply somebody. Love y’all

  203. Thanks you for this, I’ve gotten high every day for the last 10-15 yrs, recently iv not been using for roughly 18-24 mnths, I wake up in the morning and do not feel the joy I used to in my earlier years. I don’t feel pain like I used to, but now I feel more blah, when I wake up. Looking forward to treating my body right and one day waking up with my brain rebalanced. I remember my dad used to ask me what it was like to be excited, he used everything listed above, he has since passed because of drug addiction, but now I know what he was asking. I didn’t realize how long the struggle would be after quitting my
    habit would be. Alas I’ve set my sites on new horizons life is soo rich with the natural highs. Again thank you for putting this into perspective.

  204. Levi- it’s awesome that you were able to quit. Learning how to live again without drugs is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with. I think back and ponder on how happy I really was when I was high. Nothing compares to being clean. God bless you and your father.

    Ru

    • Hi, depends on how long yrs of opiate use .whether legally prescribed or recreational use keep in mind that after 1 week without useing the body tolerance drops and a dose that was once normal to you can now be fatal and cause an od, so everyone pls be careful and god bless

  205. Thanks for the information.

  206. After withdraws will I ever experience happiness or eforic moments that occurs with opiate use?

  207. Iv been dropping daily with my methadone i feel angry all the time nothing interests me i feel so frustrated and mad at everything my mouth especially feels so outta whack .Been going running but today especially im so frustrated and upset i dont feel like doing anything !!! Do u think im going to fast or would you soldier on? Life just seems so hard and depressing at the minute and im constantly thinking, its almost as if im too aware.

  208. As someone else here commented, knowing the facts is vital. They tell you what you can expect from abstinence and how measure your expectations in recovery and how to plan ahead for the worst.

  209. I would like to share my experiences of the past year, I’m a male aged 48 and smoked cannabis resin up to the age of 25, then smoked the stronger kind of skunk weed for the past 22 years, mainly smoked amnesia for the last few years and always felt quite happy go lucky and never had any sign of depression or anxiety. Then in July last year my girlfriend of 8 years told me she was seeing someone else, this was a huge shock but I continued to smoke my normal amount of between 6-8 joints a day while still communicating with my ex girlfriend in the hope we could sort things out as she said she still had feelings and that maybe we would get back together, this all blew up in September last year when it was clear she was just stringing me along to keep me at arms length and still seeing her new boyfriend. I sank into a really bad depression and was forced to go to accident and emergency at my local hospital which resulted in me having to explain everything that had happened in the last few months, they advised taking sertaline an anti depressant and to consider to stop smoking weed. Smoking was now making me feel really anxious and the enjoyment seemed to stop as the low mood and depression got worse. I gave up smoking weed for the next few months and continued on the medication but every day was terrible and the depression continued to get worse but I struggled through to the end of January when I decided to try smoking a really weak joint of cannabis resin and it made me feel slightly normal after months of feeling like crap, this sadly only lasted for a week or so and then I started to have stomach pains and the low mood and anxiety returned with a vengeance. By the end of March I was in a really bad place, I started taking CBD oil in the hope it would help the severe depression and anxiety and it did seem to work for a few weeks, I stopped taking the sertaline around this time as it wasn’t having an effect anyway, but then I crashed back down again to the point I was unable to function, brain fog, extreme anxiety and the worst depression I have ever experienced. I could no longer think straight and was finding work increasingly difficult and in early July I went back to the doctor who advised to start taking sertaline at a higher dosage to combat how I was feeling. I have now been off work for six weeks while waiting for the effect of the medication to work but I have been really struggling as felt no improvement at all and have found myself in a deep depression with severe anxiety and all sorts of other issues including contemplating suicide as I feel I can’t go on feeling like this, it’s truly horrendous and I don’t seem to be able to think straight to work out what to do next. I have smoked the odd cannabis resin joint recently if only to stop me from doing something stupid but it’s not the answer but it was the only thing that stopped the dark thoughts for a short period. I really could do with some advise as to what to do to help combat the severe depression. I see my doctor again tomorrow and was going to ask to try a different anti depressant, I am prepared to stop smoking for good and after reading people’s comments I realise the long term cannabis use has severely effected my brain chemistry and I should have never tried smoking in January after quitting for those few months. The problem now being that I need medication to stable me from the deep depression so I can stop smoking for good. Does anyone have any thoughts on any medication that may help ? The thought that it can take over a year to fully recover your brain chemicals is really scary and I’m worried I won’t be able to get through that and am annoyed at myself for smoking again as it’s clearly made things worse in the long run. Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated as I’m at my wits end to know what to do.

    • You won’t fix this overnight, your drug use has probably created desensitized dopamine receptors among other things. perhaps amino acid therapy? Tyrosine, or 5htp?
      Exercise and fish oil did wonders for me but like I said its not a fast fix.


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