Undergoing therapies for marijuana addiction without undergoing detoxification is a bit like signing divorce papers while the couple continues to live together. One step must follow another. An addict simply must have a clean system by going through marijuana detox before therapies can begin.
Marijuana Detox Basics
Marijuana interacts with the central nervous system of the addict, producing the side effects that marijuana users find so pleasurable. Of those studied, chronic users displayed increased levels of aggression several days to a week after marijuana use was stopped. These displays can be confusing for the addict, to be sure, but they might also be frightening for people who are trying to care for the addict, especially if he or she is undergoing a marijuana detox regimen at home without supervision.
Inpatient programs do more than simply provide medications, however. According to a brochure published by the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, these co-existing disorders are remarkably common. Researchers discovered that, of those who entered a treatment program for marijuana addiction:
- 74 percent had a conduct disorder
- 77 percent had ADHD
- 37.7 percent had depression
- 28.8 percent had anxiety disorders
It’s clear that some of these addicts had multiple mental disorders in addition to their addiction. These mental disorders can make rehabilitation even more difficult, and in some cases, the disorders could even be contributing to the addiction. When doctors spot these conditions, they can begin therapies to ease symptoms and help the person heal. These therapies may continue once detoxification is over, and they may form the cornerstone of the person’s addiction treatment.
Once the assessment phase is over, the person begins the hard work of marijuana detox. Consulting staff may provide regular monitoring, just to make sure the addict is adjusting well. The addict might be asked to rate his or her symptoms on a scale of 1 to 10, or the addict might be asked to describe how he or she is feeling. Consulting physicians may prescribe medication, and the addict might also be given nutritious foods that can help the body heal and help the addict feel distracted.
The changes in the brain, and thoughts of the behavior that took place during addiction, can become almost too much to bear. The staff at detoxification facilities are adept at spotting this depression, and they step in if they feel the addict is contemplating suicide in response.
It often takes one to two weeks for marijuana to clear the addict’s system, but some people can emerge from the programs faster. Similarly, some people need more time to complete the process. Addicts and their doctors determine when the detoxification program is over, based on individual symptoms of their marijuana detox.
Benefits of Inpatient Detoxification Programs
Given that withdrawal symptoms from marijuana can be severe, an inpatient detoxification program starts to seem more and more beneficial. After all, it might be incredibly easy for an addict to return to drug use when he or she is living at home and has ready access to friends and dealers who have marijuana. It might be much more difficult for the addict to return to drugs when he or she is living in a facility with no drugs on the premises. This forces the addict to get through the entire withdrawal process and emerge on the other side with a clean system.
In addition, consulting doctors in an inpatient marijuana detox program can often provide medications that can help the addict move past painful symptoms. According to a study published in the journal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), detoxification programs also have a strong role to play in mentally preparing the addict for long-term addiction therapies. Your doctor might explain to you why you are feeling painful withdrawal symptoms, and your doctor might remind the addict that these symptoms are caused by the chemical changes the drugs caused in your system. Your doctor might provide encouragement to help the addict see the benefits of a sober life, or your doctor might discuss other stories of people who have endured detoxification and therapy and who are succeeding today.
These sorts of conversations can help motivate you to accept long-term treatment strategies that can provide enduring help.
How Detoxification Programs Work
The first step in a detoxification program is to determine how much marijuana the person was using each day. Some programs ask the user to submit to a urine test, so experts will know exactly how much THC the person’s body is accustomed to at any given time. These urine tests can also help consulting doctors spot any other drugs that the user might be taking. Some addicts might be taking other substances from time to time, and they may be too reluctant to admit that to friends and family members. Urine tests don’t rely on the user to discuss the use out loud, and they can be helpful to pick up secrets the user might be hiding.
Next, medical staff tries to ensure that the addict doesn’t have another mental issue that could crop up during treatment. According to a study published in SAMHSA, the staff members at detoxification centers try to make this quite clear to addicts in recovery, and often, some consulting doctors suggest that addicts begin participating in therapy sessions with a counselor and group sessions with other addicts as soon as they feel stable. This might be just a day or two into the marijuana detox program.
At Michael’s House, we offer both detoxification and addiction therapies. It’s easy for our clients to move right from one program to another, without experiencing any sort of break in services. This can be incredibly helpful, as the patient loses no momentum between steps and the patient receives a continuity of care from staff members who know one another intimately. This is a great way to provide services to people who want to kick a marijuana habit.
Not a Cure
The behaviors that supported the addiction, and the chemical changes that took place in the addict’s brain, are still very much in play. The addict will need to learn how to control urges and function in his or her day-to-day reality in order to truly overcome addiction. These are the goals of addiction therapies. Counseling, medications and support groups are the three hallmarks of addiction therapies, and they begin once detoxification is complete. These programs can help an addict stay clean for life, and they typically begin once detoxification is complete.
People who complete a detoxification program without completing a marijuana addiction therapy program are at a high risk for relapse. They haven’t dealt with the underlying cause of addiction, so the craving is still there and ready to take hold. Even if the addict feels strong and in control at the end of the detoxification process, the addiction therapies should still take place.
According to SAMHSA, the staff members at detoxification centers try to make this quite clear to addicts in recovery, and often, some doctors suggest that addicts begin participating in therapy sessions with a counselor and group sessions with other addicts as soon as they feel stable. This might be just a day or two into the detoxification program.