QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Alcohol, Nicotine, & Other Drug Use Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I'm concerned that I've become dependent on marijuana. It makes it easier for me to relax and talk to women at bars. Also, if I stop smoking it, I get bad dreams but resuming smoking stops them. What

Answer

If you stop smoking marijuana and start having disturbing, bad dreams, that suggests to me that the dreams are part of your withdrawal picture. Whenever your brain gets used to having a mild altering substance in it and then you cut it off, you tend to get some physiological "rebound" effects. Because marijuana is a depressant, part of this rebound is to have more active dreams. I wouldn't worry about the content of the dreams themselves. They'll subside in time the longer you're off the pot. Also, I would look to know what the desired effects are from smoking (e.g., feeling more at ease meeting and talking with women).

If the only way you have to achieve those desired effects is by smoking, then you're at great risk for relapsing. Ask yourself "What do I need to learn to do without smoking?" Then find another drug alternative. There are many discussions of such good alternatives to be found right here in this zine. There are also online support groups to be found in the Links and Lists section.

This may seem like hard advice, but it's sound. The hardest parts of stopping smoking are the first few steps. I think you'll thank yourself for stopping once you've been away from it for a few months. Good luck!

Dr. Hester

02/19/98

Reid K. Hester, Ph.D.
Director, Research Division
Behavior Therapy Associates
3810 Osuna Rd NE Suite 1
Albuquerque, NM 87109
505.345.6100 ph
505.342.2454 fax
Behavioral Self-control Program for Windows

 

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