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Friend in need



New member
Mar 30, 2010
Im really sorry if this isnt posted in the right place, Im new to this.

Please can anyone help me?

My best friend is 21, for as long as Ive known her she has been troubled. She is a self harmer, suffers from panic attacks, smokes weed more than once a day every day, has extremely low self esteem and this all stems from a period of sexual abuse that occured when she was 13 I believe. Despite all this she is on course to graduate university with amazing marks this summer, is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous and is such a rock to me. She works extremely hard on school work but cannot do so without the aid of a smoke as this ables her to calm down long enough to study.

She knows how bad smoking weed is for her and is not proud of it at all, she has mentioned to me on a number of occasions that she is trying to stop smoking but today she seems more desperate than ever especially with finals coming up. The smoking is limiting her oportunities as she really wants to travel but is restricted by limited access to the drug. And if she stops smoking, alcohol takes its place.

I have tried helping in the past with positive motivation as much as I can but I dont really know what Im doing. I know that she has been to a number of different councellors, all of which have seemed to make little difference and has been on anti depressants in the past.

About a year ago she managed to refrain from smoking for a whole week which was a struggle to watch. She was extremely stressed out the whole time but managed to pull though because she didnt have a supply. I know she can do it but I really want to be able to help her as much as I can.

She doesnt self harm as much as she used to, its only every few months. I think its triggered by people criticising her, although Im not sure.

We both dont know where to start, although I know she would never ask for help, which is why Im here. Im sorry for babbling on but I would love some advice.

Thank you so much for reading this x



Do you and your friend consider that cannabis helps her control her moods?

If you've been using cannabis for a long time you will experience some withdrawal symptoms. There has been one psychiatric study of this which is often cited although has not been replicated. That study suggested a very difficult withdrawal.

Addiction is another aspect of the human that is not fully understood and there are many competing theories and hypotheses. I think it's best to focus on the individual and their experiences.

One thing your friend may experience upon sudden withdrawal are things like irritability, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and cravings. Always a combination of physical and psychological, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the person.

Why does she want to stop?


New member
Mar 30, 2010
Thanks for your reply.

Ive noticed that if she hasnt smoked at all during the day really small irrational things can become irritable for her but smoking definitely calms her down. Although I dont think shes experiencing as great an effect anymore, obviously from the frequent use.

She says she finds it makes her extremely paranoid and when she is trying to learn things for exams its alot harder to retain after a week of heavy use which is why she wants to stop. The dependency is also stopping her from travelling abroad as she cant transport drugs.


May 15, 2011
Adelaide, Sth Australia
Possible Advice

H! liveit-
sounds like cannabis features heavily in your friend's life- that, and studies too.
Before re-entry into studies, cannabis featured heavily in my life, as did self-harming; including 'suicidal tendencies', which were all cries for help- in my case..
I didn't know what would h e l p . 'Just knew that smoking and indulging in sensory pleasure when feeling bad made me feel 'good' and broke up for a while feeling bad.
I identify here- just as in my case- that you've got to get your friend to replace some of the cannabis use- not all, and not all at once. Make it a gradual thing.
But replace it with what?
I don't know. . . But there has to be some things that have always interested your friend, that she has just never done anything about. You may know what some of said things may be-
maybe you'll have to have a brain-storm with your friend; a good idea anyway.
Try and encourage learning a new skill she c a n learn that is beneficial to others, or could be employed in benefiting others. Nothing improves self-worth, confidence, and the feeling
that 'straight' life is worth it more than being able to help and make a difference in others' lives through the use of one's own personal skills and knowledge. :)
Focus on others takes us away from our own problems and negative feelings and can be a great stabilizer overall.
A person must have a sense of 'purpose' in what they are doing- sometimes this sense of purpose can become such a large part of a person's life that eventually the need for stuff like antidepressants is unnecessary; that's for later on down the road, however.
A word of caution: try not to exasperate your friend by 'encouraging' the consideration on any gift(s) in the looks department to be a source of any self-esteem boost. It's essentially an empty thing and any semblance to mood elevation or boost to self-esteem will be rather short-lived. It's just not the way to go.
If anything, remind them of genuinely lovely inner qualities that draw you to them as a friend and tell them why you like such things and what a big difference that such qualities make in your life.
In general, maintain affinities. What I mean by this is keep commonalities in conversation; ie; if you like the same music then be sure to talk about that.
Discussing things that are not common to both of you will be a one way thing and will shut-down communication; not good. . . Keep the lines open and maintained.
Most will tell you to discuss painful, traumatic experiences; like sexual abuse. I will advise you: don't! That is, unless you want to keep your friend sick, and in pain, reliving the crap- daily anticipating every man she meets who is nice to her could someday abuse her. (I'm guessing that it was a man- if not then forgive the presumption.)
Sexual abuse at an early age (I was 15; it continued to 16) is loss of innocence. It must be grieved over and closure must come. After that, just like death, it ought be allowed to fade from memory. New experience replaces the old- with time;
i know this- i am 30 now.
You may disagree and find yourself siding with the so-called specialist counsellers or shrinks who think it good to keep talking about past traumas, weekly re-stimulating memory recall of pain and getting the mind to form stronger neuronal pathways of its recollection and impingement upon their 'patients' psychological life.
I've tried the shrinks over the years though, the above is all i've learned- works and is worth consideration.
If there's anything you're unsure about then please don't hesitate to ask.


First of all, welcome to the forum. I'd like to say you sound like a really nice and caring friend. Does your friend have a good support network arond her? Does she want help? To help your friend, she needs to accept help. All you can do is support and guide her but she needs to want help.

Hope things get better for you and your friend.

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