The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 22.2 million people had used marijuana in the past month, making marijuana the most commonly used illegal drug.1 The report also revealed that approximately 17 percent of people who start using marijuana at an early age will develop dependency on the drug.2
There is a fairly widespread but false perception that marijuana is a harmless drug. While its effects may not be as dramatic as those of drugs like heroin, prolonged marijuana use has negative health consequences. People who have a marijuana addiction will find it difficult to quit without getting professional help.
Indications of Addiction
If you use marijuana or have a family member who uses the drug, it helps to be aware of the signs and symptoms that can indicate addiction. Many of these are similar to the signs and symptoms associated with addiction to other types of drug or alcohol. Some of these are:
- You constantly use marijuana even when you know its effects are interfering with your ability to act responsibly, such as driving while under the influence of marijuana
- Not being able to control your use of the drug. For example, you have decided to use the drug less often but are unable to stick to that commitment
- You have developed a tolerance to the drug and need to use more of it to achieve the same effects
- Your performance in the workplace or at school is being adversely affected by using marijuana
- You experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings or irritability when you try to stop using the drug
Treatment for Marijuana Addiction
When you need help to control substance abuse, you can choose between outpatient or inpatient rehab. Both types of rehab have very good success rates in helping people quit harmful substances. Inpatient rehab is more expensive than outpatient rehab because clients become full-time residents in the rehab facility. Inpatient rehab may not be an option for people who have jobs, or those who need to care for others.
Inpatient and outpatient clients receive the same courses of therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely used in addiction treatment. Clients work with a therapist to understand what causes the negative emotions and behaviors that result in drug or alcohol abuse. CBT is designed to give clients a deeper understanding of their motivations for drug use. It also helps them to identify positive behaviors that can help them stop using substances.
Most rehab facilities also offer many other types of therapy to help clients develop a more positive approach to their lives. These often include group therapy sessions in which clients can learn from the experiences of others. Clients will also meet others who have successfully stopped using marijuana.
At the end of a rehab program, you will have a much better understanding of the factors that contribute to your use of marijuana. More importantly, you will have learned viable and practical ways to help you leave your marijuana addiction behind for good.