Do I Need a Psychiatrist for Marijuana Addiction Recovery?

Do I Need a Psychiatrist for Marijuana Addiction Recovery?

In 2000, the Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology journal published findings on a 28-day abstinence study involving chronic marijuana users. Whereas opioid addicts often experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the withdrawal symptoms for marijuana addicts were significant increases in anxiety, physical tension, irritability and decreases in mood. Substances like alcohol and opioids typically have more physiological withdrawal symptoms than marijuana, but the effects of cannabis withdrawal on mood and mental health are significant. Likewise, recovery in general involves rehabilitating cognitive processes, motivational impulses, craving triggers and other psychological issues. Psychiatrists need to play a major role in everything from helping with the withdrawal symptoms to building a foundation for recovery.

Utilizing Psychiatrists in Marijuana Addiction Therapies

Addiction treatment centers utilize psychiatrists for a number of potential therapies, including the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that targets maladaptive thinking and beliefs that influence conduct
  • Interpersonal therapies to address unconscious conflicts, unresolved trauma and psychodynamic issues
  • Skill-building therapies that assist with anger management, conflict resolution, relaxation training and relapse prevention
  • Educational therapies that provide a better understanding of the biological, cultural and environmental aspects of addiction
  • Motivational interviewing that uses open-ended questions and reflective listening to create cognitive dissonance and motivate change
  • Support group therapies to verbalize experiences, discuss relapse risks, role play scenarios and build support structures
  • Counseling to identify people, places, emotions, situations and other cues that trigger drug-reward anticipation and cravings

Certain drug-use triggers like insomnia and anxiety might be tied to a mental health problem, and psychiatrists can address these issues in the following ways:

  • Comprehensive screenings to identify signs of a mental health issue
  • Diagnosis of any co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar
  • Evaluation of how the disorder influences the marijuana abuse
  • Integrated therapies that treat the addiction and disorders simultaneously
  • Implementation of treatment protocols specific to the condition

Mental health disorders can heighten biological vulnerabilities to addiction, and if left untreated, they can become major stumbling blocks in a recovery.

Marijuana Addiction Statistics

Marijuana is the leading illicit drug of dependence. The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) features data on marijuana abuse among people aged 12 and older, including the following:

  • More than 18 million people (7% of the total demographic) are regular users
  • 4.1 million people experienced past-year abuse, topping the next six drugs combined
  • Marijuana only trails alcohol as the substance for which addicts most sought treatment

While the drug does not produce tolerance and withdrawal syndromes comparable to opioids or alcohol dependence, marijuana use can be highly addictive. The 2003 book Cannabis Use and Dependence provides statistics on marijuana abuse, including the following:

  • 10% of people who use marijuana become daily users
  • 20% to 30% of people who use become weekly users
  • 4.4% of the population experiences abuse or dependence at some point

Some people may smoke marijuana without developing addictive behaviors, but the many who do become addicts will benefit from rehabilitation help.

Marijuana Addiction Rehabilitation

Treatment centers evaluate each patient individually and provide the appropriate therapies in addition to other services, including the following:

  • Medical supervision to assist with insomnia, headaches and other withdrawal symptoms
  • Comfortable setting that helps reduce marijuana use triggers and accessibility
  • Facility locations around the world with many offering special activities and therapies

There are also treatment options that cater to specific languages and cultures, while specialty therapies can include expressive arts, adventure sports and animal interaction.

Marijuana Addiction Help

Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak with one of our admissions coordinators. We can answer any questions, explain treatment options and even check your health insurance policy for benefits. Please call now.