It would be ideal if marijuana addiction was more like strep throat. Then you could take a series of pills, wait a few days and emerge feeling healthy. One and done. Unfortunately, drug addiction is a bit more like heart disease. In other words, marijuana addiction is a chronic disease that is rarely truly cured.1 In fact, even with marijuana, it takes a lifetime of work to avoid drug relapse.
Honestly, to conquer marijuana addiction, you must make a vow to stop using and recommit to that vow everyday. This might sound easy to do, but for many who struggle with the disease of addiction, keeping that vow proves incredibly difficult. So what can you do? The answer lies within a targeted treatment program. Treatment shows you how to live a new life without drugs. When you receive the proper therapy and complete treatment with an open mind, true healing can take place. Recovery from marijuana addiction is possible.
Fundamentals of Treatment
The specific methods used to treat a marijuana addiction can vary dramatically, but the fundamentals of a successful addiction treatment program tend to remain the same. Here are some of the key principles should lie beneath any successful treatment program:
- Therapies should focus on the mental, physical and emotional needs of the addict.
- Therapies must be easy for the addict to access.
- Addiction is complex, but it’s also treatable. Everyone who participates in the program must have this positive attitude and transmit it to the addict.
- Treatment should address other possible mental disorders.
- Detox is only the first step of treatment.2
It can be difficult for families to know if a facility adheres to these principles, but there are a few red flags to watch for. Customizable programs are ideal because they can lock the addict into treatments that simply aren’t right for his or her particular situation. If a program does not provide support for mental health issues unrelated to addiction might also be suspect. Often, people struggling with a marijuana addiction also have a mental illness such as depression. Any mental issues should also be conquered during rehabilitation.
Know Your Therapy Choices
Inpatient treatment takes place at a professional drug treatment facility. Outpatient treatment allows the individual to attend treatment during the day and stays at home. In some cases, addiction counselors can step in and provide advice, based on the results of the detoxification process. Other times, families make their decisions based on their insurance policies.
Therapy sessions form the cornerstone of treatment for marijuana addiction. A therapy session involves a significant amount of coaching, allowing the patient to change her attitudes involving addiction and become an active participant in recovery. The patient often works with the same therapist for months or even years, and sessions can be held daily, weekly or monthly, depending on her needs.
Some counselors use a form of talk therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). During a CBT session, the patient is asked to think about why he uses marijuana. Role-playing exercises help patients think about how they might handle certain situations to keep a relapse from occurring. This form of therapy has been proven to be remarkably effective in helping people addicted to marijuana kick the habit.
Many counselors use a form of therapy called Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). The first MET session is quite long. MET forces the patient to take a hard look at her addiction and the impact it has on her family. Then, in subsequent sessions, she is asked to take control and commit to change. Sometimes, family members attend these sessions to provide additional support and encouragement. The relative benefit of this form of treatment is its speed. Some therapists provide just a few MET sessions and encourage the patient to simply follow the plan and check back in only when something goes wrong.
“I [used to] question whether or not I really belonged in the meetings, but every time I questioned it, I was reminded of what I was told at that first meeting: ‘No one comes to these meetings by accident.’… With the help of the people in my 12-Step group, I found a reprieve from my addiction.” — David. L, Heroes in Recovery
Benefits of Group Therapy
Some people in treatment for marijuana addiction transition out of counseling sessions and into community groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. These groups can provide many benefits:
- Low-cost or free to attend
- Run by your peers
- Availability of mentors or even becoming a mentor
In one recent Psych Central feature, Dr. David Sack talked about how 12-Step meetings can be remarkably helpful in teaching patients how to imagine something good in the future, which can help prevent relapse and strengthen their recovery.3 Patients who participate in support groups are more likely to stay sober a year after detoxification than patients who did not. It’s clear that these programs can provide real help when it comes to beating addiction.
Michael’s House offers integrative marijuana detox and addiction treatment. For more information, please contact us today. We are ready to help you move forward and live a life without drugs.
1 “Treating Addiction As A Chronic Disease.” NPR. NPR, 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 03 July 2017.
2 “Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” NIDA. N.p., July 2016. Web. 03 July 2017.
3 Knopf, Alison. “How Psychiatrists Can Use AA to Help Their Patients.” Psych Central Professional. N.p., 02 Mar. 2017. Web. 03 July 2017.