Promises & Dr. David Sack featured on:
Marijuana Abuse and Addiction Treatment
Contrary to popular belief, there are people who become dependent on marijuana. They develop a pattern of marijuana use that looks strikingly similar to addition:
1. They need more to get high than they once did
2. The effect is diminished over time; they continually chase that “original” high
3. Negative consequences are piling up due to marijuana use
4. They try to quit, but find themselves craving a joint – they rarely stay quit more than a few months at a time. Some can’t go more than a day or two.
5. They feel “bad” when they don’t smoke – they have become used to the effects of the drug and only feel “normal” when they have used it
Although marijuana is considered by many to be a “harmless” drug, it has dramatic effects on the brain and lungs. Marijuana is essentially an hallucinogen, altering for many the sense of time, sound, touch, and sight. Memory impairment is a common side effect of marijuana use. Long-term smokers may develop bronchitis or chronic chest colds, and can even develop emphysema.
Marijuana today is far more potent than the marijuana of the 60s and 70s. Regular use of marijuana can cause permanent brain damage, and some studies have linked marijuana use to Alzheimer’s disease.
The myth that marijuana is not addictive is belied by the fact that the number of people seeking treatment for marijuana addiction doubled during the 90s and continues to increase.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting someone into treatment who has a marijuana addiction is the denial that marijuana is addictive. Unfortunately, many people misunderstand the word “addiction” and use the wrong criteria to determine if they are indeed addicted.
If marijuana has undermined your success at work, your relationships, or simply your health, and yet you continue to abuse it, that is significant enough to merit treatment.
The approach to treating marijuana addiction is similar to the approach used to treat any addiction. Detoxification, cognitive behavioral therapy, and peer-support groups are critical to recovery. It is important to do a full psychiatric assessment to determine if there may be some underlying issues. Often, marijuana is a form of “self-medication” for anxiety or depression. However, marijuana is a poor treatment option for these disorders. Over time, its use can actually increase anxiety, even leading to paranoia. Marijuana can also exacerbate depression in some people.
Promises Treatment Centers has a highly effective treatment program that helps those addicted to marijuana develop the tools for a life free of this mind-altering drug.
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