What Can Medication Treat?
Certain medications can be used to help with addiction treatment as they mimic the effect of certain addictive substances, without the dangerous consequences. Addiction treatment medications are not meant to be used as a replacement for drugs or alcohol; instead they help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings and allow for a patient to achieve recovery and a fuller, functioning life.
Once the patient is through detoxification (the initial physical withdrawal period), a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner will work with him/her to find other ways of treating the addiction that does not involve medication. Addiction treatment medications can be used as an initial temporary solution, however they often used as maintenance therapy.
Furthermore, it's important to note that addiction is still possible even with certain medications; it's essential for those who receive these treatments to understand the dangers of misuse and how it can lead back towards using the drug or alcohol of choice. Addiction treatment medications are tools to help with addiction, but they should never become the entire solution by themselves.
Drug Withdrawal And Detoxification
The first step in addiction treatment is to detoxify the body. Addiction changes how chemicals work in the brain, and stopping drug use suddenly can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as cravings or physical pain that could lead back towards using drugs or alcohol again.
During detox, an individual may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches
Drugs that physicians prescribe in detox
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that help with withdrawal symptoms. Just some Benzodiazepines include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
Benzodiazepine is used to reduce feelings of irritation and anxiety. When withdrawing from drugs like Opiates, Cocaine, and Heroin, anxiety is a common symptom. While Benzodiazepine's sedative effect helps to ease alcohol withdrawals, doctors are careful not to prescribe them as they can cause addiction.
Antidepressants are used to treat depression and other mental health disorders, but they can also help with withdrawal symptoms. Addiction treatment medications like antidepressants work by increasing the availability of neurotransmitters in the brain that affect moods, such as dopamine or serotonin.
When withdrawing from drugs, an addicted individual cannot produce natural amounts of happiness as the drugs have altered the chemicals in their brain. However, addiction treatment medications like Antidepressants can increase neurotransmitter levels, which ultimately assist with withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants, such as Zoloft and Prozac, can help an individual feel better, until the brain regains the capacity to produce happiness chemicals on its own.
Clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure, but it can also help with withdrawal symptoms. Addiction treatment medications like Clonidine work by reducing the release of adrenaline and controlling physical pain that an individual experiences when withdrawing from drugs or alcohol. It can also help to stop tremors and seizures.
Alcohol Addiction Medications
In addition to benzodiazepines and antidepressants, some treatment centers also prescribe medications for alcoholism. Addiction treatment medications like Antabuse work by causing a negative response if an individual consumes alcohol. This makes it harder for the patient to drink even in social settings, where they might be tempted to relapse back into addiction.
When combined with treatment from a behavioral clinic, addiction medications can help strengthen the chances of recovery. Addiction is a chronic disease that requires long-term management to prevent relapse. Addiction treatment medications are not meant as replacements for support groups or therapy sessions; they should always be used in conjunction with these services.
Medications for alcohol addiction include:
Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol addiction, but it can also be helpful with other drugs like heroin. Addiction treatment medications work by blocking the effects of opioids and making drinking less rewarding for an individual who wants to quit abusing substances. Furthermore, Naltrexone subdues the urge to consume alcohol. Naltrexone can produce nausea or headaches in some patients. It may be injected every four weeks.
Addiction treatment medications like Acamprosate work by relieving emotional and physical distress that come with alcohol addiction. After completing a detox, this medication may help prevent relapse. Addiction treatment medications like Acamprosate subdue negative feelings like anxiety and depression, thus restricting the urge to drink.
Disulfiram was the very first addiction treatment medication approved for alcoholism. Addiction treatment medications like Disulfiram work by causing an adverse reaction when mixed with alcohol. It can cause vomiting, headache, and increased heart rate if the individual consumes even tiny amounts of alcohol.
Opiate Addiction Medications
The Opiate group consists of Narcotic Painkillers, Heroin, and Morphine. Addiction treatment medications for opiate addiction are used to manage withdrawal symptoms, as well as cravings that an individual may have when they want to quit abusing these types of drugs. Addiction treatment medications help decrease the risk of relapse by making it easier for patients to stay sober.
Addiction medications for Heroin and Painkillers include:
Buprenorphine is similar to Methadone, but it contains a milder effect that can be safer and less addictive for certain patients. Addiction treatment medications for opiates work to decrease cravings so that individuals have more control over their quality of life, without giving in to the addictive effects of drugs or alcohol.
Naltrexone is used in treating alcohol, but can also be helpful with opiate drugs. It works for both as it blocks the effects of drugs and alcohol on specific receptors -reducing cravings and helping you to stop using.