What Medications Are Used To Treat Addiction?

When someone is struggling with addiction illness, they may not be able to see the damage they are doing their lives or their health. Although addiction illness is a lonely place, it often has a significant impact on the people close to sufferers too. However, there are numerous drug and alcohol treatment options available to people with addiction issues and it is possible for them to find their way to recovery with the support of therapists, counselors and of course, loved ones.

Although counseling and aftercare are integral to an addict’s ability to address the specific mental and emotional hurdles they face in overcoming their illness, traditional drug addiction and alcoholism treatment drugs are generally used in treatment to break the physical chains of dependency. Although these medications are not without their own risk, they are highly effective in helping patients achieve detox by reducing the distressing symptoms of withdrawal. Certain medications can also provide people with a less harmful alternative to drugs they may have become addicted to such as heroin or cocaine.

How Do Medications for Addiction Treatment Work?

People become addicted to drugs because they alter the brain’s chemistry to the extent that the body craves them over anything else. Drug addiction is a significant problem in the US, with almost 10% of the population regularly misusing opiate-based drugs according to MedLine Plus. However, there are medications available to patients on a drug and alcohol program that work in different ways to help them combat the illness including:














These medications work in either of two ways as follows:
Antagonist: Shuts down the opioid receptors in the brain by blocking them so that when someone uses drugs while taking them, they will not get the effects they crave

Partial agonist: Activate the brain’s reward system in the same way as drugs, but not to the same extent

Alcoholism Treatment Drugs
Medications are not only used to treat drug addiction but there are also alcoholism treatment drugs for alcohol treatment also. The main meds prescribed for alcoholism include disulfram, which causes an extremely unpleasant reaction if a patient consumes even a small amount of alcohol. This medication works by preventing the body from chemically breaking down the alcohol and assimilating its toxins in the body.

The reactions someone will experience should they drink while taking these meds can be severe and include headache, nausea, chest pain, sweating and blurred vision. After a while of being treated with these medications, people with alcoholism will begin to associate drink with their unpleasant side effects making them less likely to drink to excess, if at all.

Acamprosate is also used in alcohol programs, particularly in the initial stages in rehab. This medication maintains the chemical balances in the brain while the patient is in withdrawal from alcohol and protects its neurons during detox.

The Role of Medications on the Road to Recovery

There is no complete cure for alcoholism or drug addiction, although a happier and healthier life in recovery is achievable with the right treatment. Each patient with addiction has their own unique set of circumstances and health issues that contributed to their dependency developing, which can be effectively addressed.

In the initial stages of drug and alcohol abuse rehab, patients undergo a significant amount of evaluation and assessment in order to prescribe the most appropriate drug and alcohol program of care for their medical needs. Once a personalized treatment plan has been devised, it is likely to contain elements of traditional medicine, using the medications listed above with additional or adjunct approaches including things like cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic treatments.

Just as no two addiction stories are the same; treatment plans vary according to the unique needs of the individual, which is why professional, structured drug and alcoholism abuse rehab is always recommended. Overcoming addiction or alcoholism is undeniably a challenge but one that is made more achievable when patients attend a drug and alcoholism abuse rehab center. Although it can be a tough journey there is considerable fulfillment and enjoyment to be gained from life in recovery, making every single effort in drug or alcohol treatment extremely worthwhile.

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