The American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), has recently included Cannabis Withdrawal among their classifications of mental disorders. Here, we take take a look at this affliction.
What is Cannabis Withdrawal?
Withdrawal is the group of symptoms that occur when one is abruptly separated from, or decreases dosages of, the intake of drugs or alcohol after a physical or mental dependence of the substance has been established. As its name suggests, cannabis withdrawal is the prolonged cessation of marijuana in an individual who has used it for a significant period of time. Unlike other substances such as alcohol, marijuana has not always been considered a drug that can lead to withdrawal symptoms. However, researchers have discovered that symptoms do indeed exist, albeit in ways that are different from most substances (and largely psychological).
According to the American Psychiatric Association, symptoms manifest themselves in the following ways:
Irritability, anger, or aggression
Nervousness or anxiety
Sleep difficulty (insomnia)
Decreased appetite or weight loss
Physical symptoms such as stomach pain, shakiness/tremors, sweating, fever, chills, and headaches
Getting Through the Withdrawals
Quitting any substance is never easy. If you or someone you know is having issues quitting marijuana, it’s likely due to intense experience of one or more of these withdrawal symptoms. While there are no known prescription medications that can take away the discomforts of withdrawal, activities such as exercising and simply staying busy can help take a little of edge off of the discomfort. If quitting on your own becomes impossible, don’t be afraid to seek out help. It is important to remember, however, that no matter what strategy is used to beat addiction, staying drug free is a lifelong journey that requires self awareness and persistence.