An addiction to drugs or alcohol can have many devastating effects, but treatment is available to help people overcome their addictions. In addition to going through a detox period and attending therapy sessions regularly at a treatment center, certain medications are often used to help with addiction recovery. Some of these medications are formulated to target both the physiological and psychological effects that are often associated with addiction and make coping with the recovery process easier.
Blocking the "High" Effects
Certain medications for addiction treatment are designed to block receptors in the brain that produce the effects of feeling "high" when these receptors are stimulated by drugs or alcohol. Naltrexone is one medication that has been shown to be effective in blocking the addictive effects of opioids, and a low-dose Naltrexone may be prescribed to people who are starting treatment to see if it has any positive effects before progressing to a higher dosage.
Producing Negative Physiological Effects to Discourage Addiction
Many people use drugs and alcohol because of the "feel-good" effects that these substances can produce despite the fact that drugs and alcohol can cause serious harm to the mind and body. Some addiction treatment medications are formulated to block the euphoric effects by causing physical ailments with the consumption of drugs or alcohol. Disulfiram is one example of a medication that is formulated to discourage alcohol abuse by causing a person to experience nausea, vomiting, and dizziness when alcohol is consumed.
Lessening Withdrawal Symptoms
Some people with addictions hesitate to begin treatment because they fear the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that they may experience. Fortunately, there are medications available that can help combat some of these symptoms and make the detox process easier. Clonidine is sometimes prescribed to reduce the cramping, muscle aches, and excessive sweating that are known to occur from opioid or alcohol withdrawals.
Anxiety and Depression Treatment
Chronic anxiety and depression sometimes cause people to develop drug and alcohol addictions to try to cope with the negative effects of these mental health conditions. Bupropion is an anti-depression medication that can also be particularly helpful for treating stimulant withdrawal symptoms. Mirtazapine is another anti-depression medication that often works well in treating addiction by blocking addictive brain receptors. A class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) can often be effective in treating anxiety that sometimes leads to addiction problems.
Medication offers another way to win the battle against addiction. Getting the correct prescriptions for addiction treatment from a trusted provider can help people get on the faster road to recovery.