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Pharmacotherapy For Addiction

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Benefits Of Pharmacotherapy

Drug and alcohol treatment must involve a variety of therapies for addiction because it is so rampant. One of the most prevalent addictions involves alcohol. This is no surprise because it is readily available and highly addictive. A pharmacological approach to treatment can have positive results.

Treating Opiate, Tabacco and Alcohol Abuse

Pharmacotherapy uses drugs within addiction treatment to encourage abstinence from a substance. Pharmacotherapy can be used to accomplish the following as it pertains to drug and alcohol treatment:
  • Reverse the effect that a substance has on an individual
  • Manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Minimize cravings
  • Treat psychiatric symptoms brought on by substance abuse
  • Address co-occurring disorders

Opiate Pharmacotherapy

Pharmacotherapy uses various medications which are specific to the drug of abuse, whether it be an addiction to alcohol, opiates or tobacco. If a person is addicted to opiates, pharmacotherapy may involve the use of the following drugs:

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic agonist. It is effective in treating cravings and symptoms associated with withdrawal. When used with a maintenance program, this drug is most effective when paired with behavioral therapies for addiction. Methadone can be addictive so it can only be administered through a prescription and closely monitored by a doctor.

Buprenorphine is similar to methadone in that it reduces cravings and lessens the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. This medication is a partial agonist. This basically means that the euphoria and respiratory depression is less than other abused drugs.

Naltrexone is a drug that works to block the euphoric feelings and cravings associated with substance abuse. It is administered after detoxification is complete.

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