There are many types of addictive substances, some of which have devastating health risks. Help can be just a call away. If you or someone you know is in immediate need consider reaching out
Most people addicted to opioids or other illegal drugs like morphine, heroin, cocaine or meth need every advantage to overcome their addiction.
Some people respond well to only drug counseling, however, many more are likely to need medications to achieve recovery. Behavioral therapy and counseling help address the emotional conflicts and challenges faced by addicts. However, counseling alone doesn’t overcome the physical dependency created by illicit drug abuse.
There are a variety of chemical dependency treatments that help block the drug euphoria which drives the addiction. Others reduce cravings and act as a relapse prevention measure.
Treatments for Drug Abuse
Addiction treatment often comes from two angles – behavioral and pharmaceutical. Both approaches help bring the brain and body back to normal. Research indicates these types of treatments are very helpful in their own rights and for some, one may work better than the other. However, the combination of both works best for most addicts.
Many medications for drug addiction carry some risk, but they do considerably less harm than illicit substances. During rehab, treatment for drug abuse helps addicts get over the problematic effects of withdrawal by minimizing the impact of symptoms. This helps keep the recovering addict in treatment and can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Addicts travel the road of sobriety for the rest of their lives; it can be a struggle. Long-term sobriety success can be achieved through customized treatment for each recovering addict. Ideally, rehab should include chemical dependency treatment and mental health services in addition to community support.
There are a variety of chemical dependency treatments incorporated into treatment programs.
- Chemical treatments work with behavioral counseling to comprehensively address the addict’s needs.
- Medications are used to effectively manage unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
- Some drugs treat coexisting psychological disorders that effect substance abuse.
- In the initial stage of treatment, medication is often used to assist with detoxification.
The goal of rehab is to keep the recovering addict off drugs for life and to provide them with the means for a productive future.
There isn’t a magic pill for everyone. The most common treatment methods include counseling, therapy and medication – all equally important.
Illicit drugs are addictive because they trigger the pleasure centers of the brain. It’s because of this that addicts turn to their use. Medication can help counteract this in the following ways:
Management of Withdrawal Symptoms
Some medication for addiction helps suppress the often drastic side effects of withdrawal. Detoxification using these medications is usually the first step of recovering from drugs. Medication is used in approximately 80 percent of detox programs.
Some medications help curb cravings and bring brain functioning back to normal. These medicines are used to help treat tobacco, alcohol and opiate addictions. Meds used to prevent relapse when recovering from cocaine methamphetamine and marijuana addiction are still being researched. Those who abuse multiple drugs usually receive treatment for each substance they use.
Some addiction medication helps treat mental health problems that come along with the addiction and subsequent withdrawal, including depression and anxiety, which in turn helps prevent relapse.
Non-Pharmacologic Addiction Treatment
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that more than 800,000 Americans suffer from cocaine addiction. Multiple forms of treatment are sometimes needed. Some rehab programs use cocaine to treat cocaine addiction by weaning, or lowering dosage over time until the addict can be treated with natural, alternative medication.
Orthomolecular medicine does not use pharmaceutical medication, but it has shown strong potential for helping recovering addicts. Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling came up with the process which helps correct chemical imbalances and discrepancies within the body by using natural substances such as vitamin C, amino acids, minerals and essential fatty acids. There have been some reports of using extremely high dosses of Vitamin C resulting in minimal withdrawal symptoms usually experience by an addict going cold turkey.
Addiction Medications for Drug Withdrawal
Medications are an essential part of substance abuse treatment. Combined with behavioral therapies, this combination can offer a holistic approach toward gaining long term sobriety. These medications are most commonly used to treat opiate addiction such as heroin.
Pharmacotherapy is not substituting one drug for another, but a medicine-assisted treatment that is beneficial and has been clinically proven to lower the need for multiple rounds of detoxification. When used properly and with professional help, these drugs can curb the long-term health effects of detox and withdrawal.
Under medical supervision, and with the correct dosage, these treatments for drug abuse can have little effect on the addicts physical or mental health. Medicines help patients achieve recovery by:
- Lowering or preventing illicit drug use
- Increasing the chances of a successful outcome.
- Decreasing the risk of contracting hepatitis C or HIV
- Treating mental health issues
- Helps prevent relapse
Detox and Withdrawal
Almost all substance abuse treatments require some sort of detox program, which is generally one of the first stages of treatment in a rehab. In this step, the addict purges the remaining drugs or other substances in their system. It is often challenging and can be an uphill battle due to rough circumstances and withdrawal symptoms.
In some cases, withdrawal symptoms start within a few hours of entering rehab, often with unpleasant and sickening symptoms. Because the symptoms can sometimes be dangerous, medication and close professional monitoring is often part of treatment. Fortunately, rehabilitation centers have trained medical staff to assist whenever the need arises.
Once the individual has returned to normal life it is unfortunately quite easy to fall back into temptation. Boredom, lack of focus and the return to previous habits should be avoided. Keeping a schedule, frequent exercise and healthy eating are good steps to avoiding relapse. It’s vital that the individual avoid tempting situations and having a good support structure of friends and family is ideal.
It is important for friends and family to recognize relapse, which is when you can recognize the signs of a pending relapse. Working with follow up counselors and understanding anti-relapse strategies can help a person living in sobriety avoid falling back into their addiction.
In almost every community there are numerous independent support groups for recovering addicts. Some are AA, Alcoholics Anonymous or NA, Narcotics Anonymous. Within this site and elsewhere you can find support groups in your area, they are often very helpful for recovering addicts.
Recovery from addiction is not a one-time process. It’s a lifelong journey for the addict and their loved ones. By knowing and understanding some of the obstacles that are most commonly faced throughout the journey, the support system the recovering addict has built can assist them in living a sober, cleaner life.
Joining our community is easy. Create your profile and share your story with others.
Connect with people who have overcome addiction, hear their stories, learn about their path and find your way forward.
People who care and share similar experiences live everywhere, some are probably near you.
You can turn your life around today.
You’re stuck, overwhelmed, and tired, and you need help finding your way forward.