Medication is an important component of treatment. Studies have shown that individuals who take the medication in combination with therapy and counseling are usually more successful in maintaining long term sobriety. Medication is often started in the first stage of recovery, detox. In detox, medication is prescribed in order to decrease the level of withdrawal symptoms. Keep in mind that detox is not the main treatment, it is only the first step in treating drug addiction.
Medication is also used in order to help individuals decrease the number of cravings they may experience. Medications may also help stabilize and establish brain functioning in individuals who are undergoing treatment for addiction. Medications are prescribed to treat many addictions including tobacco, opioids (e.g., heroin, prescription pain killers), and alcohol. Medications are currently being developed to treat cannabis (i.e., marijuana) and stimulant (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine) dependency. Individuals who use more than one substance (i.e., polysubstance use) may be prescribed multiple medications.
What Medications are Prescribed in Treatment Facilities
There are multiple medications available for individuals who have an opioid use disorder. These medications include methadone, suboxone, and vivitrol. Methadone and suboxone work in the same way that heroin or morphine, but they are much longer acting. These medications are prescribed in order to suppress cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms. Vivitrol is an injection that blocks the action of opioids. If an individual who has been given vivitrol uses opioids, they will not feel any effects from the drug. Vivitrol decreases the chance of relapse for individuals who have been dependent on opioids.
For individuals who are dependent on tobacco, they are given nicotine replacement therapy in the form of a patch, gum, spray, or lozenge. There are also medications that treat nicotine addiction including wellbutrin and chantix. These medications are effective helping individuals stop smoking tobacco. There are three medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat alcohol dependence. These medications include naltrexone, campral, and antabuse. Naltrexone works by blocking the effects of alcohol. Campral works by reducing long-term symptoms of alcohol withdrawal including anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Antabuse works through interference of the digestion of alcohol. If an individual drinks alcohol while on antabuse, they may experience uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, facial flushing, and irregular heartbeat.
If you would like more information regarding treatment for addiction, call us today at 800-411-8019.