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How Medications Help With Addiction Treatment

Medication for Addiction Treatment can ease the difficult aspect of the treatment process and help those in recovery to remain sober. Many people trying to give up drugs or alcohol relapse because they can’t cope with withdrawal symptoms.

Medication for addiction treatment may be prescribed as part of an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. Doctors may adjust dosages during the course of treatment to ensure that those with a substance use disorder (SUD) have the best chance of achieving sobriety.

Medications are a very common part of addiction treatment. However, many people are unaware that there are medications available for their substance use disorder. Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD discusses the use of medications during addiction treatment, and how medically assisted treatment can help maintain sobriety.

During the initial stages of recovery, the body must rid itself of drugs. This is called the detox period. Detox can last several days to several weeks depending on the drug. Coping with withdrawal symptoms is often the most challenging part of detox. During detox, former drug users experience many uncomfortable symptoms. Some of these may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating

Different medications are used to treat different withdrawal symptoms. Some of the drugs that physicians prescribe in detox include:

  • BenzodiazepinesThese drugs reduce anxiety and irritability. Anxiety is a common symptom of withdrawal from many drugs, including Cocaine and Opiates like Heroin. Benzos have a sedative effect, which helps ease alcohol withdrawals. Doctors are cautious about prescribing Benzos because they are addictive.
  • AntidepressantsWithout drugs, an addicted person cannot produce natural amounts of happiness-inducing chemicals in their brain. Because they’ve relied on drugs to keep them happy for so long, people in detox often experience depression. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac can help relieve these feelings until the brain is able to produce happiness-inducing chemicals on its own again.
  • ClonidineUsed to treat alcohol and Opiate withdrawals, Clonidine reduces sweating, cramps, muscle aches and anxiety. Clonidine can also stop tremors and seizures.