Substance use disorder is often crippling. You are at the mercy of drugs or alcohol and don’t know how to function without them. In some cases, you have to hit rock bottom before you realize that you have a serious problem and need help. You can then find a rehab facility and enter treatment while using medications to help you get through it. These medications are commonly used in treating substance abuse.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a type of substance use disorder treatment that relies on the use of certain types of medications to help ease all the drugs or alcohol from your body. When you have a serious addiction to alcohol or opioids, MAT can blunt the effects of withdrawal, which can otherwise be dangerous. While medication-assisted treatment is crucial in your recovery, it’s not used alone.
Other methods are used in conjunction with it, and your treatment is tailored to fit your own personal, unique needs. No two people struggling with substance use disorder are the same, so what works for you might not work for the next person. However, when you have MAT, it includes certain medications and behavioral treatment in the form of therapy to help you overcome the cravings that have become second nature in your life.
Medications can also curb the effects of drugs and alcohol such as the sensation of being high that you’ve become so accustomed to while helping to also control your behaviors.
Medications play a vital role in your future sobriety and have been shown to achieve the following:
- Increase the survival rates of individuals with substance use disorder • Increase the odds of success after treatment
- Decrease the rates of criminal activity related to drug abuse
- Increase the ability of individuals to maintain employment Medication-assisted treatment works by addressing multiple aspects of your life.
For example, if you have a dual diagnosis and suffer from substance use disorder as well as a mental health condition, MAT can help with both issues and any other aspects of your life that led to your addiction. Your family members can even join in on your treatment by undergoing family therapy sessions with you.
Substance Use Treatment and Withdrawal
When you begin your rehab treatment, the first step is detox. During this phase of recovery, you are given medications to remove the toxic substances from your body. Depending on the nature of your substance use disorder, this can take a few days or several weeks.
Withdrawal symptoms typically occur as your body begins to grow accustomed to no longer having alcohol or drugs inside it. MAT can help ease your symptoms, which often include the following:
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
What Medications Are Commonly Used to Treat Substance Use Disorder?
Depending on your addiction, its severity and the substances you’ve abused, you might be administered different medications. Different medications can also treat different symptoms of withdrawal. However, the following are the most commonly used during substance use disorder treatment:
- Acamprosate: Acamprosate is used to ease the emotional and physical effects of alcoholism. It’s administered after detox and reduces the urge to drink.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants are used to combat the happiness effects in the brain that are achieved from taking drugs or alcohol. They work by readjusting the brain’s chemistry so that it’s possible to naturally achieve those feelings.
- Benzodiazepines: These medications work by reducing anxiety and irritability, two common symptoms experienced during withdrawal from opioids. Benzodiazepines give a sedative effect to ease those symptoms. However, they can be addictive, so caution is used when prescribing them.
- Clonidine: This medication is used to treat alcohol and opioid withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, cramping, muscle aches, sweating and seizures.
- Disulfiram: This drug treats alcoholism and causes nausea and vomiting if the person consumes alcohol again.
- Methadone: Methadone is an opiate used in treating addiction to other opiates. It works on the same brain receptors as painkillers and heroin but doesn’t give the user the sensation of being high. It can also ease cravings but can be addictive.
- Naltrexone: This drug can help treat alcohol and opioid addiction by curbing your cravings. It stops your desire to use due to activating the same receptors triggered by those substances.
Ready to get started? Call us today at 855-334-6120 so we can help.