One of the biggest disadvantages of legalizing marijuana, and one most often not discussed, is the potential for increased marijuana addiction. Many people fail to realize that this drug is addictive. Most view it as relatively harmless and low-risk, but the fact is that thousands of people seek treatment for marijuana addiction every year. Getting over marijuana addiction isn’t easy. If you have someone in your life struggling with this disease and she relapses, you can be there to help her back up and to get her back on track.
Treating Marijuana Addiction
Treatment for marijuana addiction is most effective when tailored to the individual and based on evidence from research. If you are just getting started in helping your loved one overcome her addiction, you can help her prevent future relapses by selecting the best treatment program. While you can find residential rehab for marijuana addiction, outpatient programs are more common.
Treatment should include individual therapy or counseling, most likely involving cognitive behavioral therapy, but it should also include some kind of group support. Social support is an important element of effective addiction treatment. Above all, look for treatment that will meet your loved one’s individual needs, includes a variety of techniques, addresses any mental health issues and uses evidence-based approaches.
What to Say to Her After Relapses
If your loved one has been through treatment, no matter how good it was, later relapse is always a possibility. Instead of being disappointed or reprimanding her for the relapse, be understanding and compassionate. Talk to her about the fact that addiction is a chronic illness and that most addicts in recovery relapse at some point. Encourage her to learn from the mistake and help her figure out what triggered the relapse. Treat it as a learning experience rather than a fault and she will be more likely to be ready to carry on and try again.
Addicts Are Always in Recovery
Rather than seeing relapse as a major fault or failure, help your loved one understand that as an addict she will always be in recovery. Viewing treatment for addiction as a cure is harmful. As a chronic illness, addiction can never be cured, only treated and managed. Encourage your loved one to see her illness this way and to understand that she needs ongoing treatment. When treatment is neglected, even treatment that is as small as going to support group meetings every once in a while, relapse becomes more likely.
Use your loved one’s relapse as a stepping stone back into treatment and as a learning experience for her disease, and you will be helping her learn to better cope with addiction to marijuana. Typically addicts blame others, but if she views relapse as part of the illness, she will take a healthy view of her own role in relapsing. Focus on preventing future relapses and continuing with treatment, and you can help her succeed in managing her addiction.