Addiction Medication

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Frequently asked questions

What is the first step in treating a drug abuse problem?

Detoxification is usually the initial step in the recovery process. This entails removing a drug from the body while minimising withdrawal symptoms. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 80% of the time, treatment facilities will use pharmaceuticals to decrease withdrawal symptoms.

Is Medication for Addiction Right for Me?

You should talk to your doctor about your options before beginning any treatment. They can inform you of the dangers and advantages of each option. Your doctor can also advise you on which medications will be most effective for you. People with certain medical conditions might have to avoid benzodiazepines or MAT altogether. If you can’t or don't want to undergo medication-assisted treatment, discuss alternative choices with your doctor. Counselling, psychotherapy, or self-help groups are all valid alternative options. Keep in mind that no single strategy will work for everyone. Make sure you keep track of your progress if you decide to go without medicine.

Who Benefits from Medication-Assisted Treatments?

People who have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder often struggle with addiction. They may also suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. These issues can make it difficult for them to succeed in recovery.

People who receive MAT may benefit from:

  • Improved physical health
  • Reduced cravings for drugs
  • Increased motivation to change
  • Better coping skills
  • Improved relationships with loved ones
  • A better sense of self

What is pharmacotherapy used for in Addiction Treatment?

Pharmacotherapy (pharmacology) is the treatment of a disorder or disease with medication. In the treatment of addiction, medications are used to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, reduce alcohol and other drug cravings, and reduce the likelihood of use or relapse for specific drugs by blocking their effect.

What are the Side Effects of Medication-Assisted Addiction Treatment?

Although MAT can be effective at reducing the symptoms associated with addiction, there are some side effects that people may experience while undergoing treatment.

The most common side effects of opioid addiction treatments include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Sedation
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Memory Loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Insomnia
  • Impotence
  • Decreased libido
  • Weight gain

Which medications are most commonly used in the treatment of addictive disorders?

In the case of opioids, methadone and buprenorphine are the most commonly used medications.

Is Vivitrol the same as Suboxone?

If choosing between one or the other to reduce opioid use: Suboxone is the better choice in outpatient settings, while Suboxone and Vivitrol will fare similarly, on average, in an inpatient setting, where programs have the benefit of extended detoxification if needed.
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