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What Medications Will Be Used?

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In rehab, you will often receive at least once medication (and likely more) in order to help treat your symptoms and allow you to become more stable after putting an end to your substance abuse. Understanding which medications will be used during rehab can allow you to be more prepared for your recovery. Call 800-654-0987 now to find rehab programs that will provide you with all the essential treatment options you require, including medication.

Why Are Medications a Part of Addiction Treatment?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, medications are an evidence-based treatment option that can help individuals in rehab with their recoveries in many ways. “Medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.”

Withdrawal is usually one of the first issues concerning individuals in rehab, as these symptoms often begin to surface several hours after the individual stops abusing drugs. Medications can help reduce the symptoms associated with withdrawal, whether they are mild or life threatening. This will help keep you safe as your dependency on the drug diminishes as well as help you avoid the potential for relapse.

In addition, medications in some cases can be taken for a long period of time to stabilize a patient. The use of these drugs in the long-term is not the same as addiction (even though many people misunderstand their purpose). These medications do not cause cravings, nor do they create intense effects in the individual who takes them. Therefore, they are often safe to be continued as a part of treatment for a long period of time, sometimes years.

Sometimes, drugs can also be used to treat co-occurring mental conditions that can worsen addiction or vice-versa. These issues should absolutely be taken into account during rehab, and someone suffering from an addiction should always be screened for them, as they are especially likely to occur in addicted individuals.

Which Medications Will Be Used During My Rehab?

The medications used during your rehab treatment will depend highly on the drug(s) you were abusing, the severity of your addiction and dependence, your mental and physical state, and your other needs when it comes to treatment.

  • If you are an opioid addict, one of three medications is likely to be used during your recovery: methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone. The first two can be extremely beneficial for minimizing withdrawal symptoms and maintenance, which as stated previously, is not the same as addiction (NIDA). Naltrexone is often used on individuals who have already gone through withdrawal and have a strong desire to stop abusing drugs. According to Harvard Medical School, “An addict who takes naltrexone faithfully will never relapse, but most addicts simply stop using it, or refuse to take it in the first place.”
  • Alcoholics may also be given naltrexone, as this drug blocks the receptors that cause the enjoyable effects of alcohol. Acamprosate and disulfiram are also medications used to treat alcoholism, the first being helpful in reducing withdrawal symptoms and the second minimizing the desire for alcohol and causing severe symptoms when mixed with the substance (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Stimulant addicts are often treated with anticraving agents, especially early on in withdrawal, as well as antipsychotics, if they are experiencing severe psychological effects of their drug abuse.
  • Those addicted to CNS depressants will slowly be weaned off the drug or a similar medication so as not to experience the dangerous withdrawal symptoms associated with these drugs in full.
  • Individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders will often need to be treated with antidepressants or other types of mood stabilizing medications. Doctors must ensure that these medications will not react poorly with any other drugs the patient may be taking.

Unfortunately, many people believe it would be safer for them to avoid taking any medications during rehab altogether, but generally, the drugs used in treatment make the process more likely to be successful and less painful. In most cases, medication is an essential part of addiction rehab and recovery.

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