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Medications Used for Addiction Treatment

If you are thinking about enrolling in addiction rehab, there are going to be things that make you nervous and uncertainties that make you uncomfortable. It might be the pain during withdrawal you are dreading, or it might be how you can remain sober and deal with cravings after detox. A good treatment facility will give keep you informed and give you options about how you recover, including whether or not medications are used to help you along the way. There are medications that can be used during treatment to minimize pain and discomfort, help with cravings, and help make the overall recovery process smoother and less scary. The first thing to do is learn about these medications and talk to your rehab center to learn which ones they offer.

Medications During Detox

Most detox programs are able to offer medications to patients to make the experience more pleasant. Typical side effects of drug and alcohol withdrawal include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, aches, sweating, anxiety, and depression. Certain drugs, like Clonidine, actually reduce the body’s reaction to withdrawal from opioids, easing nausea, anxiety, and aches. Benzodiazepines like Librium help reduce irritability and anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal, and cause sedation, which helps calm the person. Antidepressants are also often used to help regulate the person’s mood as they come off their drugs or alcohol. Non habit forming pain medications can be used along with some of these other medications to help keep the person comfortable and pain-free.

Medications Help with Cravings

Opioid drugs and alcohol cause cravings when a person stops using. Certain medications have been developed to curb cravings and prevent a person from turning back to their harmful substances. Naltrexone is a medication that blocks the symptoms of opiates, preventing the user from experiencing a high. This medication also reduces cravings and speeds up the detox process.

Campral reduces cravings to drink and calms anxiety and depression. Antabuse produces uncomfortable side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea if the person drinks, which greatly curbs alcohol abuse.

Drug Replacement Therapy

Other medications are related to the ones the person is withdrawing from, in essence replacing the drug with a less harmful one. Methadone, an opiate agonist, is the most common drug used in opioid addiction treatment because it quickly and easily replaces the person’s drug of choice. This medication is given as an injection in a clinic setting. Buprenorphine (Suboxone) is similar to methadone, but it is supposed to have less chance of abuse. Individuals can take this medication at home, rather than go to a clinic for it. It is important for a person who wants to recover with these medications to get into a program that will help them eventually wean off these replacement drugs too, so they don’t continue in addiction

Dual Diagnosis

Some people require medication because of mental health issues that co-occur along with their addiction. Mental health disorders often go along with drug and alcohol addiction, and both conditions must be treated at the same time for true healing. A psychiatrist will often be called in to evaluate the patient and prescribe medications when needed. These mental health medications will be used in addition to the person’s normal addiction treatment medications. Because of this, special considerations must be taken for anyone with a dual diagnosis.

Not everyone wants to use medications during recovery, and if you are hoping to get through recovery without the assistance of medication, there are plenty of drug-free alternatives. For pain during detox and discomfort throughout recovery some programs use acupuncture, meditation, exercise, and other natural remedies. It is important to talk to your treatment center staff to find out what your natural options are.

Sober Helpline works with many different treatment centers, all with their own philosophy and methods for recovery. Some offer medication-assisted recovery, while others can help you recover relying on natural methods. We can help you find the program that is right for you. Contact us at (888) 907-8039 today to learn more.