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Weed Withdrawal: Reducing Anxiety and Agitation

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anonymous anonymous
Do you know much about L-Theanine. It’s supposed to be this supplement that induces alpha waves in the brain and makes you feel calm and not anxious and from what I heard it helps reduce anxiety and irritability and insomnia that come when you quit marijuana. I am a long time smoker, frequent quitter and unfortunately equally frequent relapser so I know what to expect when I try to quit again by Mother’s day. It seems safe enough but I can’t get much solid info on whether it actually makes a difference for weed withdrawal. Do you know?

Katie Brooks Says...

Hello there!

I am sure that the detoxification that you are experiencing is very uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, it is out of my scope of practice to advise on medication or supplements.

Visit your primary physician or a psychiatrist if you have questions pertaining to effectiveness and side effects.  

In order to reduce anxiety and agitation:

  1. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.  Go to bed at the same time every evening and wake up at the same time every morning.  Use your bed only for sleep and do not watch TV in bed.  In addition, try not to eat right before bed.
  2. Try to eat healthy foods.  Stay away from excess sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
  3. Make sure your house and workspace are clean and organized.  A cluttered space can sometimes cause a cluttered mind.
  4. Try to reduce the stress in your schedule while you’re detoxing.  Take lots of time for rest and relaxation.
  5. Surround yourself with supportive positive people who do not trigger negative emotion.  You will need support.  Sometimes talking to a good friend or family member can really help.
  6. Try listening to guided visualizations or meditate daily.
  7. EXERCISE!  Get that excess energy out.  Get outside and either run or walk vigorously.  The fresh air and sunlight will help.  Otherwise, yoga can be great for reducing anxiety.
  8. Focus on where the anxiety is in your body.  If it is in your chest, focus on the anxiety in your chest until the anxiety dissipates or changes.  Whenever your attention wanders, bring it back to the place in your body where the physical feeling is. Doing this for five or ten minutes can reduce, if not eliminate, the anxiety.
  9. Help someone else in order to distract yourself.  Distract yourself with anything that deters your thoughts from negative thinking.
  10. Try to think positively about your anxiety.  Reframe negative statements like, "I can't handle this" to "This will pass or "I am handling this and can get through this".
  11. Do the opposite of what your body wants to do.  If you want to hide, go out and be social.  If you want to anxiously eat, go out and exercise.  Sometimes doing the opposite of what are emotions are driving us to do can change the emotion completely.
  12. Make sure your environment is positive.  Try to avoid scary movies with a lot of negative imagery.  If the news is upsetting; don't watch it.
  13. Progressively relax your body from your feet to your head.  Take a deep breath in and as your exhale shift your focus to each body part.  Let the stress melt from your muscles.  Look up progressive relaxation for full instructions.
  14. Practice mindful breathing.  Take a deep breath in and as you exhale count the exhalations.  Continue this exercise for 10-20 minutes.  If you attention wanders gently bring it back to counting exhalations.
  15. If you notice that your breathing feels shallow and constricted try to elongate your inhalations and exhalations.  Breathing into your belly rather than your chest can reduce the anxious feelings.

If these methods do not work psychotherapy is very effective for the reduction of anxiety.

Find a therapist that practices Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or mindfulness techniques.  You can read more about it or call me for a phone consultation at GoodTherapySanDiego.com.  Hopefully these tips were helpful.

Good luck!

Katie Brooks, LCSW

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Page last updated May 03, 2013

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