The increasing prevalence of addiction on a national scale has many individuals looking for treatment for themselves or their loved ones. The state of Pennsylvania has been steadily keeping up with the high demand for treatment centers while implementing the most modernly effective treatment tactics. Recovery centers help aid patients in a number of ways, such as treating withdrawal symptoms, relapse prevention, and aftercare. These approaches come in many successful forms, one in particular being medication management.
Medications Used to Treat Opioid Addiction
Withdrawal symptoms from opioid dependency may not be deadly, but they can leave patients feeling incredibly uncomfortable. These feelings of overwhelming discomfort are often what lead to an increased risk of relapse. Drugs called agonists are used to target withdrawal symptoms, as well as prevent potential relapse. Agonists promote similar responses when compared to commonly abused opioids, but do not bind to the same receptors. They provide patients with a feeling that is congruent to popular opiates without the hefty addiction risk. Methadone is the most commonly used agonist among patients recovering from opioid addiction. Methadone is given to the individual once per day in order to tackle cravings. This particular drug is clinically proven to be highly effective, but Buprenorphine is a better option for many long-term patients. This is due to Buprenorphine not causing as many respiratory side effects which can be dangerous.
Another common drug class used in opioid recovery is referred to as antagonists. Antagonists work a bit differently in comparison to agonists due to them binding to the receptors that agonists do not. This ends up increasing levels of dopamine which is a similar effect as most opiates, but they do not carry the same risk for future dependency. Some common antagonists that patients have had optimal success rates with are Vivitrol and Naltrexone.
Pharmaceuticals Proven to Help Treat Alcohol Dependency
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can present themselves in many common forms such as:
- Delirium Tremens
Mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression are often present in those recovering from alcohol dependency. It is not always clear as to how these symptoms are activated, as they can be both underlying issues or strictly brought on by the previous dependency. In order to treat the anxiety symptoms, many physicians will prescribe Hydroxyzine, which can be administered via intramuscular injection or as an oral supplement. Hydroxyzine is often used in place of benzodiazepines due to it being much less addictive and carrying less side effects. Hydroxyzine is from the antihistamine class, so the risk of dependency is far less.
When it comes to experiencing nausea during withdrawal, some patients find relief in a medication called Zofran. Zofran works by blocking serotonin, which is believed to be highly responsible for feelings of nausea, regardless of how it is brought on. Adding Zofran to a patient’s treatment plan allows them to focus on other areas of recovery feeling much more comfortable with the absence of an upset stomach.
One of the most severe symptoms that can be brought on due to a lengthy history of alcohol dependency is something called Delirium Tremens. Delirium Tremens occur in some patients who tend to drink more heavily, and can cause dangerous side effects such as convulsions, hallucinations, and cognitive difficulties. This is one of the most dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal due to it being potentially deadly if it is not addressed in time. Medications that are considered anticonvulsants are often prescribed to patients facing Delirium Tremens due to them preventing the seizure-like symptoms that patients often face.
Understanding the Co-Morbidity of Mental Health and Addiction
Drawing on the previously mentioned point of alcohol triggering mental health symptoms in many patients, it is imperative for both patients and professionals to understand how these two issues often present themselves. Many patients utilize addictive substances as a counterproductive form of self-medication, when a psychiatric professional would be better suited to medically treat these present symptoms. Whether a specific mental illness was an underlying symptom or brought on by the dependency itself, it is important to find the correct treatment option with professional guidance.
The most commonly used mental health medications in the recovery world are SSRI’s, SNRI’s, and MAOI’s. SSRI’s are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and they work by blocking the brain’s reabsorption of serotonin. SNRI’s are serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors that help regulate moods within the brain’s chemistry. MAOI’s are monoamine oxidase inhibitors that include an enzyme with the ability to remove norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine from the brain. Utilizing these medication forms under a professional’s care can help treat any issues that were leading to self-medication, as well as those brought on by the addiction itself.
Commonly Used Medications in Amphetamine and Benzedrine Withdrawal
Amphetamine and benzo dependency have also become a lot more common across the nation, and medical professionals are slowly discovering various medications that can help relieve withdrawal symptoms while decreasing relapse risks. Aripiprazole has been shown to help in amphetamine treatment due to delaying the brain’s response to obtaining rewards. Trazodone and Benzyl are also commonly prescribed in order to treat symptoms such as insomnia.
A popular drug in the treatment of benzo withdrawal is called Flumazenil. Flumazenil works by blocking the effects of benzos while someone is recovering. It also helps drastically decrease the risk of relapse by targeting the same pleasure-based receptors as commonly prescribed benzos, but without the heightened risk of dependency.
Taking the necessary steps in reaching out for help is a monumental step in your recovery process. Having the ability to acquire treatment that will focus on both your past, present, and future care will pave a much more structured and accessible path in your recovery process. Our staff is equipped to stay by your side through the detox process, as well as help you set up long-term care in the future. If you or a loved one is interested in getting help for your addiction problem, contact Just Believe Recovery Center, located in Carbondale, PA at (888) 380-0342
The staff on duty will provide you with 24/7 confidential service in order to get you on the right track to recovery.