Marijuana Aftercare and Relapse Prevention

The current state of marijuana use and abuse can present a barrel of contradictions for adults and teens alike. Medical and recreational use of marijuana is increasing, yet the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency continues to treat marijuana as a prohibited substance. Regardless of the medical or other benefits that are highlighted by marijuana proponents, marijuana can be addictive, and excessive use of marijuana can impair a young person’s physical and emotional health. Teens who have become addicted to marijuana will have a difficult time breaking patterns of marijuana use. Keeping a teen away from marijuana requires an active aftercare and relapse prevention program.

“Determining Root Cause”
A useful first step in an aftercare addiction recovery program is to determine the root causes for the addict’s use of drugs or alcohol. Addicts might turn to various substances in an attempt to treat other conditions, like depression or anxiety. Many younger addicts use marijuana to alleviate stress in school or as a lever to help them fit in with preferred social cliques. Sometimes, marijuana use begins primarily because the substance is so easy to obtain, and a teen is bored and has little else to do. Solving, or at least understanding the underlying problem can go a long way toward preventing a relapse. Treating the underlying problem often removes the primary general catalyst that fostered a person’s marijuana addiction.

Likewise, a teen may associate marijuana use directly with specific triggers, including specific friends or places where he and his friends would go to use marijuana. A teen who is committed to breaking a marijuana habit can work with a counselor to identify triggers and to develop responses and methodologies to handle them when they tempt him back toward marijuana use.

“Customized Recovery”
A good marijuana aftercare and relapse prevention program will combine different methodologies in a treatment plan that is personalized and customized to give each individual addict the best opportunity to succeed. That program might include intervention counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy in individual and group settings. These methodologies teach coping skills and help a marijuana addict to develop specific positive responses to help handle temptations to go back to using marijuana. The program might also include motivational therapy that gives a recovering marijuana addict specific positive rewards for meeting and adhering to certain goals. Family therapy can also be productive to teach a teen’s parents and siblings how to help a recovering marijuana addict stay away from the drug. These family programs require all other members of a recovering marijuana addict’s family to stop using marijuana.

“Perception of Marijuana”
Recovering from any addiction with no relapses will require a long-term commitment with regular monitoring and review of an addict’s attitudes about his own use of and perceptions about marijuana. Even if marijuana gains the same level of societal acceptance as alcohol, marijuana addicts will need to permanently refrain from marijuana use. Marijuana addiction, like alcoholism, can create serious chronic physical and psychological problems while simultaneously impairing a person’s ability to maintain employment and social and family relationships. Like alcohol, marijuana is a mind-altering substance that can alter an adolescent’s brain chemistry and psychological health. It may have legitimate medical uses when utilized under a physician’s care, but it is also easily abused in ways that can lead to addiction.

Sustain Recovery Services in southern California structures individualized marijuana aftercare and relapse prevention programs for adolescents and young adults to. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our marijuana addiction aftercare services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.