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Treatment for Alcohol and Marijuana Abuse

Drug treatment for alcohol and marijuana represents the largest single group of drug rehab admissions by adolescent users, and continues to represent a significant proportion of the rehab population across all age groups.

Especially amongst younger users, the trend continues towards polydrug abuse, and drug treatment facilities have responded with programming specific to the needs of these recovering polydrug addicts. Detoxification needs to be undertaken with an understanding of the interaction effects of withdrawals between the drugs of abuse, and therapy and behavioral training needs to be delivered to ensure that the different situations and triggers to each drug of abuse become recognized, and an appropriate plan developed to minimize the risks of eventual relapse.

Alcohol and Marijuana: The Risks of Polydrug Abuse

Although drug treatment for an addiction to alcohol and marijuana together does not differ drastically from the treatment for an addiction to a single substance, the chemical interactions can complicate the detox period. Marijuana as used today is no longer the harmless drug it is perceived to be; and it is as much as 1000% as potent as the marijuana in use even a couple of decades ago. Today's marijuana can induce dependency and addiction, can impair cognitive processes, damage the brain, reduce memory and lessen an ability to participate appropriately without marijuana intoxication. Marijuana also potentiates the intoxicating effects of alcohol; and when the two drugs are consumed together, can increase the damage of alcohol both acutely and chronically. A polydrug addiction to alcohol and marijuana requires professional intervention and therapy.

Therapies for Alcohol and Marijuana

Comprehensive programs are best.

Because the different drugs of use may be abused in different social situations, therapy with peer groups and individual sessions with addictions professionals endeavors to discover all significant individual triggers to use and abuse, and to develop a comprehensive relapse prevention and sobriety plan.

Although two of the most common therapies for the drug treatment of alcohol and marijuana abuse are cognitive training and peer group therapy, the more comprehensive the programming offered, the better the eventual outcome. All recovering addicts have distinct needs, and all respond differently to certain treatments and therapeutic interventions. To induce the greatest probability of behavioral change, the drug treatment for alcohol and marijuana abuse should offer varied and comprehensive programming.

Some common and beneficial interventions include the participation in 12 steps group meetings, and an encouragement to remain active in a 12 steps organization after the completion of drug treatment, educational seminars on drug abuse and health, exercise therapies and nutritional programming, meditative classes and reflection, and skills training in mentally beneficial activities such as martial arts or yoga.

Alcohol and Marijuana Detox

Although an addiction to marijuana does create a withdrawal syndrome, characterized by a loss of appetite, insomnia, irritability and even feelings of aggression; the withdrawal effects of a cessation of alcohol use are more pronounced, and can be dangerous or even lethal. Although marijuana withdrawal can be unpleasant it is not dangerous, and as such the treatment for withdrawal will concentrate on alleviating the discomforts and dangers of alcohol detoxification. The use of sedative anti convulsants and constant medical supervision are needed to ensure safety and to reduce the discomfort of withdrawal.

Probability of Eventual Success

Because a serious dependency to alcohol alone can induce very dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and because this withdrawal is further complicated by the concurrent abuse of marijuana; the safest and most comfortable way to detox off of these drugs is in a professional facility with medical supervision.

Drug treatment for alcohol and marijuana addicts needs to offer diverse recovery strategies that give these recovering addicts the tools and education they'll need to remain sober over the long run; and patients in drug treatment for alcohol and marijuana need to develop relapse prevention plans for both drugs distinctly, and uncover the triggers to use unique to both abused substances.

The longer and more intensive the therapy and intervention the greater the probability of eventual success and the greater the probability of a happy and productive life of sobriety.

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