Medication Assisted Drug Rehab

Using medication in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction might seem counterintuitive. To many, it seems like medication simply replaces an addiction to one substance for an addiction to another. However, using medications that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with proven therapies can be a very effective way to treat substance addiction disorder, sites the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Furthermore, the combination of medications and therapies has been proven to assist those who are recovering from addiction avoid relapse and maintain their sobriety.

Utilizing a combination of therapies and FDA-approved medications is referred to as medication assisted treatment, or MAT.

Medication Assisted Treatment Explained

One of the biggest downfalls that those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol face when they are trying to get sober is cravings. When an individual abuses drugs or alcohol, the brain and body become accustomed to those substances. When a patient stops using a substance, he or she can experience strong urges to use them. Addicts can experience these cravings even after they have successfully completed detox and rehabilitation.

It is because of these strong urges that many addicts who are trying to overcome substance abuse and addiction have a hard time achieving sobriety. Often, they give into their cravings and end up relapsing. In order to help patients combat these cravings, medical researchers and scientists have developed medications that have been proven to help addicts achieve sobriety.

By utilizing these medications that control cravings and therapies that teach patients how to control things that trigger them to use drugs and/or alcohol, those who are afflicted with addiction disorder have reduced chance of relapsing and can increase their chances of maintaining a lifetime of sobriety.

What Types of Substance Abuse and Addiction can be Treated with Medication Assisted Treatment?

Currently, the abuse and addiction of only two types of substances can be treated using medications: alcohol and opioids (heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, Demerol, etc). Though researchers are working on developing medications that can be used to treat the abuse of and addiction to other types of substances, such as cocaine and methamphetamines; however, to date, there aren’t any medications available to treat addiction to substances other than alcohol and opiods.

What Types of Medications are Used to Treat Alcohol and Opioid Addiction?

There are several FDA-approved medications that are used to treat addictions to alcohol and opioids. Some of the medications that may be offered at a medication assisted drug rehabilitation center may include:

  • Naltrexone. This type of medication is used to treat both alcohol and opioids. It is available as either an injectable medication or as a pill. This medication blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, which helps to reduce cravings and prevent users from experiencing the positive effects
    that they experience when using alcohol or opioids after they have taken it.
  • Naloxone. For those who are addicted to opioids, Naloxone may be an effective treatment to help them combat their addiction. This medication also blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and can help to reverse overdoses for those who have taking large amounts of opioids, like heroin. It is usually administered in emergency situations; in other words, after a patient has taken an opioid and is in danger of overdosing or is already exhibiting the signs of an overdose.
  • Acamprosate. For those who abuse and are addicted to alcohol, acamprosate can be administered to help patients avoid relapsing. It can also help to prevent alcoholics from
    drinking alcohol. It may also help to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
  • Methadone. This type of medication is used to help patients who are battling an addiction to opioids, such as heroin or prescription pain medications. Methadone acts as an opioid agonist, meaning that it creates effects that are similar to those that opioids create; however, the effects aren’t as severe as heroin and typically, they do not affect the patient’s cognitive and physical functioning. This medication can help to ease the symptoms that are associated with opioid withdrawal, as well as the cravings that an addict can experience when they stop using these types of substances.

Is Medication Assisted Drug Rehab Effective?

Addiction affects every individual different; however, medication assisted rehabilitation has been proven to be a highly effective in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of evidence that supports the effectiveness of medication assisted treatment and recovery. It has been found that this type of treatment is far more effective than non-medicated treatment approaches.

The success of medication assisted rehab is largely due to the way in which medications affect the brain. Not only do they reduce the cravings for using alcohol or opioids, but they also assist patients with the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that they may experience during detox as their bodies rid themselves of harmful toxins. The withdrawal symptoms that medications can help to alleviate include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches

Another reason why medication assisted rehab is so effective is because of the guidance, support, and education that patients receive during treatment. As mentioned, in addition to receiving medications, patients also undergo therapy and counseling during rehabilitation. Some of the non-medication treatments that are utilized during medication assisted rehab can include:

  • Individual and group substance abuse and addiction counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Various types of therapies
  • 12-step programs

Rehabilitation centers also provide aftercare, which is a crucial part of the recovery process. Patients can attend additional meetings, therapies, and counseling sessions after they complete their treatment. This aftercare offers the support that addicts need as they transition from treatment into life after recovery.

Additionally, medication assisted rehabilitation centers can also offer patients education that they can utilize after they complete treatment so that they can improve their chances of maintaining sobriety.

Medication assisted drug rehab offers treatment programs that are specifically designed to meet the individual needs of each patient; however, these rehabilitation centers also serve as a foundation and support network that can help patients improve their chances of recovery and maintaining sobriety. Medical professionals, counselors, and peers that are also combating substance abuse and addiction play a large part in the overall success of treatment, and patients can create strong bonds with these individuals, who will serve as invaluable support during treatment and throughout their recovery.

Who Should Consider Medication Assisted Drug Rehabilitation?

Medication assisted drug rehabilitation can be extremely effective for patients who are suffering from alcohol and/or opioid abuse and addiction. If any of the following apply to you or someone you love, seeking treatment at this type of rehab facility might be the best option for you:

  • You have attempted to stop using alcohol or drugs on your own, but you relapsed.
  • You have attended rehab before, but were unable to maintain sobriety.
  • The withdrawal symptoms and cravings that you experience when you stop using alcohol or opioids are intense.
  • You are suffering from a co-occurring mental health condition.
  • You have suffered physical or mental abuse and you believe that it has contributed to your addiction.

Recovery is Possible: Medication Assisted Rehabilitation Can Help

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to opioids or alcohol, contact us today. We can connect you to a medication assisted rehabilitation center that may be able to help you put an end to your addiction and achieve sobriety.

Nothing is more important than your sobriety. Let us be your first step on the journey toward recovery.