Perhaps the most challenging factor in finding a solution for opioid or alcohol addiction is choosing the right treatment center. First and foremost, it is essential to understand that everyone is different, and so are their treatment needs. Also, not everyone needs long-term residential treatment or to attend 12-step meetings. For some, these resources might be productive, meanwhile, for others, they could be harmful.
Before you decide on a course of treatment, consider your basic mental and physical health needs. Explore all available options and remember, knowledge is your best friend.
Typically, a health care professional will recommend you to start the recovery process with an inpatient medical detox. With this option, you receive around the clock professional monitoring and management of withdrawal symptoms and vitals.
Options for Drug and Alcohol Treatment
Medically Assisted Detox Treatment
Along with clinical and emotional treatment, inpatient medical detox is an essential component of a successful and complete drug and alcohol addiction treatment program. Medical detox dramatically helps to alleviate the physical symptoms caused by opioid or alcohol withdrawal. It also focuses on monitoring vitals and managing co-occurring medical issues that otherwise could threaten the well-being of the patient. For this reason, it is usually necessary for the early stages of detox that patients receive adequate management from a doctor.
The purpose of detox is to cleanse the patient’s system from substances. Detox for patients addicted to alcohol and opioids can be very challenging and even risky, if not well managed. When done correctly, detox helps restore the patient’s body to a healthier state, allowing patients to receive emotional help without the numbing effects of the substances.
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Stomach disturbances
- Delirium tremens
- Pain and suffering
Medically supervised detox is crucial for both the safety of the patient and the success of the treatment. Getting through withdrawal is often one of the most significant challenges that substance users face. Medical professionals can provide patients with the proper medications and support to make detoxing much more comfortable, and therefore more successful. More importantly, medical supervision protects patients from risky withdrawal symptoms, particularly seizures and dehydration, which can lead to severe injury or even death.
Now that you understand how to get through the first step towards a healthy and complete recovery, we will show the treatment options you are likely to find on the internet.
Common Medications Used in the Treatment of Addiction
Doctors can prescribe medication to patients pre- or post-detox depending on each patient’s symptoms and health needs. All medications have different purposes and responses; for that reason, there are no exact protocols for all patients. Some alleviate pain and leftover withdrawal symptoms, while others reduce anxiety and cravings.
Medical detox, in combination with adequate mental health care, can significantly assist patients in achieving full recovery. Particular medications to treat co-occurring mental health disorders (when indicated) are also a valuable tool to eliminate the need to self-medicate, which often leads to relapse.
Commonly Prescribed Detox and Addiction Medications
Clonidine is widely used to relieve the withdrawal symptoms of patients coming off opioids, alcohol, and sometimes stimulants. This medication can be given in and out of hospital settings but at different doses. It dramatically helps minimize the severity of several withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine is very useful in treating mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist mostly used to reverse the effect of an opioid overdose quickly. It can be applied nasally, into the muscle, under the skin, or intravenously. Naloxone has also been the main component in rapid detox procedures.
Naltrexone is an oral opioid antagonist. It is mostly used to reduce cravings after opioid detoxification. More and more, scientists are finding additional uses for this medication. It assists people with any compulsive behaviors, including food addiction, gambling, and alcohol abuse. It is important to remember that patients should not use Naltrexone while taking opioids. The combination of both drugs can send patients into an immediate and severe withdrawal.
Vivitrol is an injectable monthly antagonist medication. Similar to its oral cousin Naltrexone, Vivitrol reduces the cravings for certain drugs and alcohol, but primarily opioids.
Suboxone is part of the MAT drugs. Although widely used to treat opioid addiction, Suboxone is an opioid drug itself. This drug combines Naloxone (antagonist) and Buprenorphine (agonist), which causes some patients to develop tolerance or dependence on it. The hope is that doctors will taper down until the patient is entirely free from opioids, but that is not always the case. Many patients experience unbearable and lengthy withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing Suboxone and return to opioid use.
Sublocade ™ (buprenorphine)
Sublocade is a buprenorphine monthly injection, given to people that have been already taking the oral form of the same drug. The drug is injected under the skin once a month and is part of a medication-assisted program (MAT). It is important to know that Sublocade is an opioid drug, and as with any opioids, it has narcotic effects. Common Sublocade side effects are tiredness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, itching, or painful lump at the injection site, headache, and abnormal liver function tests.
Methadone is an old MAT drug for people suffering from Opioid Use Disorder. Methadone functions as a pain-relieving medication or as a maintenance treatment drug for those suffering from addiction, mainly heroin addiction. Although the drug can be used as long-term or short-term treatment, in most cases, people remain on it for years. Methadone is advertised as a drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids, which is a bit silly because the drug is an opioid itself. Withdrawal symptoms from Methadone are intense and lengthy. In fact, sometimes methadone withdrawal can last months.
Acamprosate, widely known by the brand name Campral, is one of the most common drugs in the treatment of alcoholism. The medicine helps restore the chemical imbalances in the brain of an alcohol dependent person. It can also reduce cravings and associated distressful withdrawal symptoms by promoting a balance between neurotransmitters in the brain. One of the significant factors of Acamprosate is that the drug is not processed in the liver, so individuals with liver issues can still benefit from it. Side effects can be mild to severe, including sleeplessness, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, irregular heart rate, sexual dysfunction, and itchiness.
Disulfiram is also an older drug that has been prescribed for decades for the treatment of alcoholism. The drug blocks the alcohol enzymes that break down alcohol in the liver, causing the user an immediate intensely adverse reaction when consuming alcohol, often severe nausea with vomiting.
Benzodiazepines, sometimes referred to as “benzos,” are a class of psychoactive drugs, mostly used for anxiety, seizures, and muscle spasms. The most familiar names for these types of drugs are Valium and Xanax. They are also widely prescribed for those detoxing from alcohol and only should be used under medical supervision. Benzodiazepines are available in tablets or injection forms. It helps the patient by inducing feelings of calmness making alcohol withdrawal less painful and much easier to complete. It is vital to remember that benzodiazepines are extremely habit-forming and very addictive if taken improperly.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 30% of overdoses of opioids also involves the presence of benzodiazepines. For that reason and many more, it is imperative to your safety, not to use prescription drugs without talking to your doctor. Also, do not sell or give your prescriptions to others. Although you might think you understand the use and risks of the drugs above, using them without a prescription or the direct order of a physician can lead to health risks and even death.
Find Treatment Now
Remember, if you or a loved one are currently suffering from opioid or alcohol addiction, there are many knowledgeable and compassionate treatment professionals ready and available for you. We understand the importance of being able to find the best treatment option for you, and we are here to help. Contact a treatment expert today and let us help you get where you want to be.
For more information on one of the most successful opioid detox treatment centers in the world call 1-800-423-2482