Schizophrenics quitting marijuana may have behavioral changes

Withdrawal symptoms from marijuana use can be especially significant for schizophrenics--mainly because they can influence behavioral changes.

These types of changes can worsen a schizophrenic's psychosis symptoms and may even effect whether or not the person relapses back into marijuana use.

Symptoms of withdrawal

A recent study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research suggests that about 94.2 percent of schizophrenics who use marijuana have a variety of withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop using the drug. These included cravings for the drug, feelings of anxiety, restlessness, boredom, irritation and trouble falling asleep.

Researchers found that the more marijuana a person used, the more withdrawal symptoms they experienced. And of the 120 study participants who used the drug at least on a weekly basis, 92 percent took action to deal with the symptoms, with 23 percent deciding to start using again.

“More research is needed to evaluate the effects of cannabis in people with schizophrenia and how withdrawal symptoms affect psychosis, relapse to cannabis use and quality of life,” said the study researchers.

Relapse rates and implications for behavior

About two-thirds of the people in the study ended up relapsing. The average time of abstinence was 182 days. David Gorelick of the National Institutes of Health says the findings identify a need for more information about schizophrenia and drug use, specifically when it comes to withdrawal symptoms.

"Our findings suggest that cannabis withdrawal is a clinically significant feature of cannabis use among people with schizophrenia, as it is among those without serious psychiatric illness, and deserves greater attention in treatment and research.”

Source: Psych Central

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