Marijuana differs from other drugs. It sits on the fence politically, legally, socially and even in terms of addictions, with camps of ardent supporters on either side of the issue. Debates continue on whether it is a gateway drug to other drugs, whether it should be legalized, and even whether people can become addicted to it.
The debates don’t really matter. When marijuana starts to adversely affect your health, relationships, work ethic and every day functioning, it’s time to take action. You would not be alone – statistics show over 4 percent of Americans have been dependent on marijuana at some point in their lives. Nine percent of those who try it, end up dependent on it, and dependence is twice as prevalent as on other substances like cocaine and heroin.
Choosing the right path
Marijuana is considered the most common secondary drug used by people dependent on other drugs. If you are one of those using some other drug as well, it is important that you make this known as it would affect your rehabilitation choice.
The first step is to come clean about your drug use with someone you trust, you feel comfortable with, and who will be able to give you the most useful information and guidance. This could be your doctor or a counsellor.
Physically, the cannabis withdrawal syndrome is relatively mild. It includes sleep and appetite problems as well as irritability, anxiety and craving.
It may, therefore, seem the cheapest, easiest-to-hide and most convenient way do it privately on your own. However, you didn’t get into this state of dependency on a highly social and recreational substance on your own. So it’s better not to try getting out of it alone – a strong support system could make all the difference between staying sober and relapsing.
Assisted rehabilitation options:
- Outpatient services: You will receive the same treatment as at a residential centre, but will live at home. If your home or the people around you there contributed to your becoming dependent on marijuana, living at home might negate some of the treatment’s benefits. Any “triggers” for your dependence should be avoided for some time.
- Inpatient residential programs usually require that you stay at the centre throughout the treatment period. While some will allow you to go to work during the day, this is closely monitored. The aim is to allow you to take a complete break from your old life and concentrate solely on breaking your habit.
Total confidentiality is maintained at private marijuana rehabs in order to protect those who are concerned that their employers or family might get to know they have entered rehab.
Types of therapies used for recovery
Therapies used are behavioral therapies aimed at enhancing self-control and reducing drug use, while at the same time addressing the problems that go along with that drug abuse. This accomplished by
- Identifying and changing behavior patterns (Cognitive-behavioral therapy).
- Encouraging internally-motivated change (Motivation Enhancement Therapy).
- Identifying target behaviors and imposing a give-or-withhold reward system for behaviors that are (or aren’t) met (Contingency Management).
- Involving family and friends in counselling where possible (Network therapy)
Easing back out:
Sober living communities (Halfway Houses): These are places where you can bridge the gap between your rehabilitation centre and a return to ordinary life after completing your treatment. This provides you with a transition period between the seclusion of the centre and the challenges of the world you’ve been separated from for some time.
They can also provide an alternative way to kick the habit, when linked with outpatient treatment.
Support groups of other recovering addicts know where you were, what you are going through and where you’re hoping to go. They can provide invaluable assistance in your path to recovery.