MEDICATION ASSISTED TREATMENT MAT
One of the biggest challenges to overcome in addiction treatment is managing the physical side-effects of withdrawal from a substance.
When medication is used to treat the side effects of drug and alcohol detox, the chances of successful recovery are far higher.
As applied in clinical treatment Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) helps patients by managing the process of withdrawal, usually during opioid treatment programs. The medication eases withdrawal symptoms and helps adjust the chemical imbalances in the brain that were created by substance abuse.
This provides the impetus to continue with various behavioral therapies to pinpoint the psychological aspects of the problem, which will give a better prognosis for long-term recovery. The treatment essentially addresses two aspects of addiction. Habitual use develops a physiological need for the drug, which is why it is so hard to break the habit.
A chemical dependency is created because the drug affects neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and norepinephrine. These control emotions and stress responses, which become unbalanced, causing mood swings and abnormal physiological responses when the drug is no longer in the system. By switching to a safer alternative, it is easier for the patient to stop using.
However, when phasing the drug out of the system, the patient will experience the physical effects of withdrawal, which are sometimes so intense they are compelled to relapse.
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
• Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
• Tremors, muscle spasms, and seizures
• Anxiety and depression
• Fever and sweating
• Heart palpitations
By managing these symptoms, patients can focus on the treatments such as psychotherapy and holistic modalities designed to help them address the causes of their addiction.
Psyclarity Health’s alcohol and drug detox provides patient-centric substance abuse treatment, therefore each program is different. Depending on the type of drug and how long it has been used, different medications may be prescribed to assist with treatment.
Some programs, such as opioid treatment programs for opioid addiction, may require more careful attention. Opioid use disorder, and also alcohol use disorder, can come with extreme health risks, particularly if a patient has a pre-existing medical condition.
In most cases, inpatient rehab is advised to provide patients with round-the-clock care during the initial phases of detoxification, where medical intervention may be needed. This also allows Pscylarity Health’s team of health care specialists to monitor patient recovery and adjust prescriptions where necessary.
MEDICATIONS PRESCRIBED DURING
OPIOID TREATMENT PROGRAMS
Depending on the type of addiction, specialists at the Psyclarity Health facility will prescribe a variety of different medications. Of primary concern are opioid addictions such as heroin or prescription painkillers, which may be treated with:
• Buprenorphine (Suboxone)
Methadone and Buprenorphine interact with brain receptors in a similar way to heroin while not providing the same feelings of euphoria.
This provides less incentive to continue using the drug, during which time the body becomes accustomed to functioning without it.
People with opioid use disorders gradually develop a tolerance to the opiate, requiring increasing dosage and frequency of use. As a result, they become caught in a constant need to source more drugs.
Medications such as methadone remain in the system for much longer, so they do not need to be used as regularly, thereby breaking the cycle of abuse. Naltrexone, used after the detoxification process is complete, blocks the effect of opiates so that drugs such as heroin do not produce the same high.
However, there are still risks of misuse, particularly in the case of methadone, so prescriptions need to be supervised carefully.
During opioid use disorder treatments, further side-effects of withdrawal may be treated with additional medications.
Prescribed medication may include:
• Benzodiazepines: For managing anxiety and emotional instability.
• Antidepressants: For treating depression caused by chemical imbalances.
• Clonidine: For anxiety, as well as physical side-effects such as cramps, muscle aches, and sweating.
• Baclofen: For treating muscle pains.
• Zofran: For managing nausea.
MEDICATION FOR ALCOHOL
Long-term alcohol addiction comes with multiple health concerns that also require specialized care. In some cases, the nervous system can become hyperactive to the point of seizures and even death.
Health care specialists may prescribe the following medications to treat alcohol addiction:
• Ativan: A benzodiazepine used to regulate nervous system functioning. Dosages are tapered as withdrawal progresses.
• Disulfiram: This produces unpleasant side effects when consuming alcohol as a means of deterring use.
• Naltrexone: As with opioid treatment, this blocks the feelings of intoxication experienced when drinking.
• Acamprosate: Normalizes brain chemistry and reduces cravings.
GET HELP FOR SUBSTANCE USE
This frees the individual to begin the journey to addressing the reasons for their addiction. Through behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, along with group therapy and learning healthy life skills, patients are able to develop constructive coping methods without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
After leaving the Psyclarity Health center, these skills will prove vital in maintaining sobriety. Additionally, networks created through group sessions and outpatient treatment will help a person stay dedicated to long-term recovery.