Opioid Addiction Treatment Medications
- Print Version In This Article
- How Does a Medically Assisted Detox Work?
- Medically Assisted Detox Advantages
- Medically Assisted Detox Disadvantages
- Medically Assisted Detox and Psychological Therapy
What is a Medically Assisted Detox?
A medically assisted detox is an opioid addiction treatment that involves safe substitute drugs. The idea behind an assisted detox is to wean an individual off a substance gradually. This should help reduce any withdrawal symptoms the person is experiencing.
How Does a Medically Assisted Detox Work?
There are several opioid addiction treatment medications available including, buprenorphine, methadone, vivitrol and naltrexone. The US Foods and Drug Administration must approve any drugs associated with detox treatment. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) people, taking part in a medical detox must do so under supervision, at a pharmacy or physician’s office. People who are taking buprenorphine may be required to receive their medication at a hospital or rehabilitation center. Despite popular opinion, people do not have to stay in hospital to receive treatment for an opioid addiction. You can find out more information on our outpatient and inpatient services by calling our confidential helpline on 1-888-439-3435
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Medically Assisted Detox Advantages
SAMHSA state that opioid addiction is a disease and just like with any other disease, it is possible to be treated effectively using opioid addiction treatment medications. When a person stops taking a substance they are addicted to, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Because these are often uncomfortable, the individual is tempted to take more of the drug to prevent the symptoms. Therefore, safe substitute drugs should prevent people taking the drug, giving their body a chance to recover from the physical dependency. Medical detox also allows the person to take supervised medication in a safe environment, which is not the case when taking street drugs, says a National Institute on Drug Abuse pamphlet.
Medically Assisted Detox Disadvantages
There are many critics of the medically assisted detox, believing that opioid addiction treatment medications encourage individuals to swap one addiction for the other. While ideally a person will only take substitute medication short-term, there is a small amount of people who continue taking the medication long-term. It is also accepted that a medical detox alone is not enough for a person to make a complete recovery from addiction. This is because the detox only addresses the physical dependency, not the psychological dependency.
Medically Assisted Detox and Psychological Therapy
The aim of any opioid addiction treatment program is to assist the person with recovering from their drug abuse, helping them manage their recovery and working to prevent a relapse in the future. Because addiction is two-fold, involving physical and psychological dependency, a medical detox needs to be accompanied with behavioral and cognitive therapy to increase the chance of a successful recovery. While both treatments on their own offer advantages, a combination of the two is advised.
The NIDA says statistics show people who are on an opioid addiction treatment medications are more likely to willingly attend behavioral therapy. Spending time with a psychotherapist helps the individual develop coping skills, which will help them deal with stress and problems in the future. If a person feels able to cope with their problems, they are less likely to turn to drugs to escape the stress. The chance of a relapse in the first 12 months is high, but with ongoing therapy, it is possible to avoid it.