Aug 23

The Use of Medications During Substance Abuse Treatment

Tags: Substance Abuse Treatment,Therapy,Counseling,Recovery,Addiction Treatment,Drug Abuse Treatment,Alcohol Abuse Treatment,Detoxification,Heroin Addiction Treatment,Morphine Addiction Treatment

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Medications can be very helpful during detoxification for substance abuse because it helps to ease the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. It's important to understand that medically assisted detoxification alone is just the first step in the treatment process. Research shows that when a patient goes through medically assisted withdrawal and doesn't receive any further treatment, their drug abuse patterns are similar to individuals that were never treated at all. In order for treatment to be successful, patients need to follow up with treatment when the detoxification process is completed.

When medications are used during treatment this helps to reestablish a person's normal brain function. Using medications during treatment also helps to decrease cravings and prevent relapse. Research continues every day looking for non-addictive or less addictive yet effective medications that are helpful during treatment for all drugs of abuse.

  • Methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone are medications that can be used for treating opioid dependence such as heroin or morphine addiction.

  • Medications like naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram are approved for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

At this time there is no medication that been approved by the FDA for the treatment of cocaine addiction but researchers continue working hard in order to develop a medication that will help with this addiction.

Medications used during detoxification and substance abuse treatment are extremely useful especially when combined with behavioral therapy. Medications are very helpful with easing withdrawal symptoms during detox and minimizing cravings during treatment and recovery because it helps patient focus on understanding their addiction, changing behaviors, and learning helpful positive skills that aid them in their recovery.

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  1. Avatar
    Ophelia B 13 years ago

    Methadone has been a godsend for me. The night before I started rehab and took my first dose of methadone I was detoxing in the county jail. That was my absolute lowest point. I never thought I would end up in jail, and I figured that even if I did, jail wasn't that bad. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jail is horrible. It's the most horrific and dehumanizing experience I've had in my entire life. The only thing worse than actually being in jail were the detox symptoms I experienced while in there.

    When my boyfriend came to bail me out of jail I wasn't sure what to do. I wanted to kick heroin to the curb to avoid ever going back to jail, but the cravings and detox symptoms were completely unmanageable. I couldn't help but think about ways to sneak out to meet my dealer.

    Thankfully, my boyfriend convinced me to get into rehab. The great doctors and therapists at the rehab facility suggested I take methadone to calm the heroin cravings and mitigate the withdrawal symptoms. I'm so glad they did! With the help of methadone and the amazing treatment team at my rehab facility, I've been clean for a year. I'm finally living life instead of getting high to avoid it. I'm engaged to my boyfriend, going to school to be a preschool teacher and working full-time at a daycare. Now, instead of planning my funeral, my family is helping me to plan my wedding!

  2. Avatar
    Peter B 13 years ago

    Now that I've been sober for almost a year I'm often asked how I knew I was an alcoholic. For me it was pretty easy to figure out. I had a job making over $100,000 year in the IT field and my boss smelled alcohol on my breath and vodka in my water bottle. He told me that I couldn't bring alcohol into the building again or come into work drunk. If I did I'd be fired.

    I told myself that I would stop drinking during the day. I would only drink at night. As the sole breadwinner for my wife and three children, my job was very important to me. However, the very next morning I woke up, poured vodka into my water bottle and drove to work. I was fired on the spot. That's when I knew I was a full-fledged alcoholic.

    At first I didn't know what to do, so I consulted my family doctor who has been treating me since I was an infant. He quickly convinced me to go to rehab and wrote me a prescription for disulfiram. I was hesitant to take medication, but I trusted my doctor and gave it a whirl. I'm so glad that I did. After starting disulfiram I've only had a drink once. After experiencing the horrific nausea and cramping that the medication causes when mixed with alcohol I was convinced that I should never drink again. Now I'm gainfully employed, a good father, and a loving husband. I couldn't have done it without the help of my doctor, disulfiram, and the great people at the rehab facility I attended.

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