Medications Used For Addiction Treatment

Addiction Treatment Medications

As the drug addiction statistics continue to reflect an increase in opiates dependence across the nation, the need for help fighting drug dependence also rises. Illicit drug addiction, especially heroin, methamphetamines, opiates, and cocaine, all require antagonists during detox and recovery for users to have a chance to overcome addictions.

Common Medications Used During Rehab

The key to effective lasting drug addiction recovery is detox followed by intensive treatment programs aimed at helping patients rebuild psychological and physical health. In order for the detoxification process to be safe, symptoms of withdrawal must be carefully managed. Certain drugs cause extreme, ever life-threatening withdrawal side effects. Using antagonistic medications can ease discomfort and allow the body to rid itself of drugs.

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Common Alcohol Addiction Medications

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse can be long-lasting, anywhere from weeks to several months. This syndrome is called Prolonged or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). Medication in maintenance dosing will allow the recovering alcoholic to gain some control over alcohol consumption and cravings.

Naltrexone works to block the brain receptors that allow alcohol consumption to be pleasurable.

Acamprosate can help to alieve some of the psychological and emotional symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Disulfiram works within the body to create acute sensitivities to alcohol and causes an immediate physical reaction should individuals choose to consume alcohol of any amount.

Common Heroin and Opiate Addiction Medications

Some of the more commonly abused opiates include heroin and painkillers such as oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and codeine.  Most medications developed to help with addiction work to combat the intense cravings for drugs and withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the individuals’ level of drug dependency and length of addiction, these medications may be needed for a short span of time, or for many years.

Methadone is an opiate that can be used by moderate to severe addicts during detox and is often used for pregnant women addicted to opiates. Methadone works to block the ‘high’ felt when using heroin, and also reduces cravings. Methadone use must be closely monitored as it is highly addictive itself.

Buprenorphine works much like methadone, but is less addictive and does not need to be dispensed at a methadone clinic. Taken as a pill at home, buprenorphine can block the extreme cravings caused by opiate withdrawal.

Naltrexone, the same drug taken for alcoholics seeking sobriety, works to control the strong urges to use opiates and removing the pleasure opiates cause if used.

Levacetylmethadol (LAAM) is a synthetic opioid an opioid antagonist and works by blocking the euphoric effects of opiates, making use easier to control. This drug can also work to suppress the negative side effects of opiate withdrawal symptoms, allowing for a decreasing in dosing times. Many individuals report that LAAM works well for 48-72 hours with one dose

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Medications Help Control Withdrawal Symptoms

Most addicts cannot stop using without medical intervention, especially opioid users. The intense cravings and painful withdrawal caused by opiate addiction keep users from being able to detox on their own. Furthermore, the risks associated with quitting alcohol and heroin addiction cold turkey can be life threatening. Most Southern California Detox Centers provide patients with medicinal options to help ease the transition to sobriety.

While it is true that medications such as Methadone are themselves addictive, the ability to gradually lower doses and manage withdrawal is much less traumatic and more successful than attempting to scale down illicit drug use. Methadone for heroin withdrawal is prescribed for long periods of time, allowing recovering heroin addicts to begin regaining control over their lives. As methadone is only dispensed by medical professionals at Los Angeles drug rehab centers, patients will need to make daily visits for their doses.

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