What Medications Are Used to Treat Substance Abuse?

Many people who struggle with substance use disorder have severe addictions. Some abuse certain types of substances that can be dangerous to try to quit cold turkey. Individuals who finally acknowledge that they have a problem and want help can seek treatment for their addictions.

Certain substance use disorders need an extra layer of treatment. This can be done with medications that are administered to the person to ease their side effects and symptoms of withdrawal. Whether the addiction is to alcohol or drugs, medication management is often one of the best options available to you when you want to get clean and sober. It’s important to know which medications may be used in your treatment.

Withdrawal and the Detox Process

The first step toward getting treatment for substance use disorder is the detox process. This involves eliminating all traces of alcohol or drugs from your body. The process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the severity of your use.

It’s common to experience a variety of side effects when undergoing detox. Many people have reported dealing with the following:

• Anxiety
• Depression
• Muscle aches
• Nausea
• Seizures
• Sweating
• Vomiting

Detox means that you will experience withdrawal, which is often uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. Certain medications may be administered to ease the symptoms you encounter

What Medications Are Commonly Used in Addiction Treatment?

During detox, certain medications are commonly used to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal. These are safely prescribed by doctors and include the following:

  • Benzodiazepines: These drugs are used to counter the effects of anxiety and irritability. Individuals who have substance use disorders involving drugs like opiates or cocaine commonly experience anxiety. Because benzodiazepines are sedatives, they can help calm the system and ease those side effects. However, they can be addictive, so they are used with caution.
  • Antidepressants: Antidepressant drugs are helpful at easing the side effects achieved by certain types of drugs such as opioids. They work by muting the sense of euphoria that comes when the dopamine in the brain has been repeatedly over-stimulated. Antidepressants can help balance the brain’s chemistry so that the person is naturally able to experience happiness.
  • Clonidine: This drug is commonly used to combat the withdrawal symptoms associated with detox from opioids. It’s effective at relieving issues like anxiety, cramps, sweating, muscle aches, tremors, and seizures.
  • Naltrexone: This drug can help with alcohol or opioid treatment by blocking the receptors in the brain that respond to excessive drinking. It’s administered through injection every four weeks but is known to cause side effects like headaches and nausea.
  • Acamprosate: This medication is good at easing physical and emotional side effects of alcoholism. It’s used after detox and can help ease the urge to drink. It also combats anxiety and depression.
  • Methadone: This medication is commonly given to people who struggle with opioid addiction, including heroin. It gives the same effect but doesn’t get the person high and can help ease one’s cravings for drugs. However, it can be addictive.
  • Buprenorphine: This drug is similar to methadone but isn’t as addictive. Treatment can be done at home rather than strictly at a clinic.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

In addition to medication management to help you through your substance use disorder, there are other means for treatment. Therapy should be part of your personalized program to help you on your path to sobriety to ensure that you have long-term success. Many people find that cognitive behavioral therapy is essential. It allows you to recognize triggers that would otherwise lead to abusing drugs or alcohol and learning how to respond in a healthy way.

Family therapy is helpful as your loved ones are included in your treatment. It allows you to come together and forgive one another while healing all wounds.

Group therapy can help as you can share your experience with others. Others can also share their own experiences and give you insight you can take with you as you continue your treatment.

If you’re ready to seek help today, we’re here. Call 833-846-5669 to get started.