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Medications, and how they’re used in drug addiction…

  • Medications, and how they’re used in drug addiction…

    Medications, and how they’re used in drug addiction treatment.
    Medications can manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.
    Medications help patients deal with withdrawal symptoms during detox. A study done on treatment facilities found that medications were used almost 80 percent of the time during detox (SAMHSA, 2014).
    Medications can help patients with relapse prevention. Medications do this by helping re-establishing normal brain function and decrease cravings. Medications are available for treatment of opioid (heroin, prescription pain relievers), tobacco (nicotine), and alcohol addiction. Scientists are developing other medications to treat stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine) and cannabis (marijuana) addiction. People who use more than one drug, which is very common, need treatment for all of the substances they use.
    Opioids: Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid addiction. Methadone and buprenorphine act on the same receptors that heroin and morphine do, which helps with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Naltrexone blocks opioid by blocking off the receptor sites in the brain. Naltrexone should only be used by people who have already detoxed off drugs. Medications help patients reduce drug use and helps them become more open to behavioral treatments.
    Alcohol: Only three medications have been FDA approved for treating alcohol addiction.
    Naltrexone helps block receptors that are involved with the rewarding effects of drinking.
    Acamprosate is for severe addiction to alcohol and helps relieve long-lasting withdrawal symptoms like: anxiety, insomnia, restlessness and dysphoria.
    Disulfiram disrupts the breakdown of alcohol. Acetaldehyde builds up in the body, leading to unpleasant reactions that include flushing (warmth and redness in the face), nausea, and irregular heartbeat if the patient drinks alcohol. Compliance (taking the drug as prescribed) can be a problem, but it may help patients who are highly motivated to quit drinking. (at Orange County Recovery Services)

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