Overcoming a physical dependence on opioids or alcohol can be difficult in the early stages of recovery. Withdrawal symptoms from these substances are among the most dangerous when compared to other drugs. Many people struggle to quit due to the intense cravings and severe physical distress that occurs throughout opioid and alcohol detox. However, there is hope for recovery no matter how challenging the detox phase becomes. For those struggling with severe withdrawal symptoms, we offer medication-assisted treatment in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines prescription medications with behavioral therapies to achieve long-term recovery from addiction. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications specifically designed for treating opioid and alcohol use disorders. These medications help to reduce cravings and the severity of withdrawal symptoms so that a person can engage in the recovery process.
It should be noted that the medications used in MAT are not the same as those that revive a person from an overdose. Medications like Narcan are used in an emergency when someone is in danger of dying from an opioid overdose. While Narcan helps save lives, the medications in MAT are about maintaining sobriety, reducing the risk of relapse, and preventing an overdose from occurring.
MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT STATISTICS
The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shares the following statistics about MAT for opioid and alcohol use disorders:
Thus, nearly one in five clients in alcohol abuse treatment will use MAT, and about a third of all those in drug abuse treatment will receive MAT for opioid misuse. This means that MAT is fairly common during the course of treatment for these disorders.
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Drug Addiction
Medications for opioid use disorder work by either blocking or occupying the opioid receptors in the brain. These medications prevent a person from feeling the effects of opioids in the event of a relapse. In addition, since many of these medications occupy the opioid receptors, they help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The following are medications for opioid use disorder.
Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors entirely. This blocking effect reduces strong cravings that might occur during opioid detox. Naltrexone is available in many forms, including tablets and injections.
Methadone is one of the most well-known types of MAT for opioid addiction. Clients must take methadone daily and often need to go to a clinic for their dosage. Methadone works by activating the opioid receptors but at a much lower intensity than drugs like heroin, Fentanyl, or Oxycontin.
Buprenorphine reduces cravings by acting on the opioid receptors and producing similar, but much weaker, effects than other opioids. This helps to reduce the risk of relapse and increases safety in case of an accidental overdose.
In addition, while other drugs do not have FDA-approved medications for MAT, some psychotropic medications can reduce the severity of withdrawal for drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine. For instance, anti-depressants, sedatives, and anti-anxiety medications can help clients throughout detox. This is because withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and depression are fairly common during any type of drug detox.
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MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT FOR ALCOHOL
Despite the legal status and social acceptance of alcohol compared to other drugs, this substance is highly addictive, and people can become physically dependent on alcohol. Therefore, withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox can be severe and life-threatening. Medications used in MAT for alcohol use disorder help to prevent relapse and reduce cravings.
Medications for alcohol use disorder include:
- Naltrexone is also used to treat alcohol use disorder similarly to opioid addiction. Since drinking alcohol creates a flood of “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, naltrexone blocks these receptors from activating. By doing so, naltrexone reduces cravings and the amount a person consumes if they do relapse.
- Acamprosate helps to reduce cravings for alcohol, thus reducing the risk of relapse during recovery. However, acamprosate does not reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
- Disulfiram causes unpleasant side effects when mixed with alcohol. Thus, if a person does drink while taking disulfiram, they will be discouraged from drinking again while taking the medication.
BENEFITS OF MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT
Medication-assisted treatment in Chattanooga offers several benefits including:
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Withdrawal symptoms from opioids and alcohol can be among the most distressing and dangerous. In some cases, these symptoms can be deadly. However, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help you or a loved one overcome alcohol and opioid dependency. These medications ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the intense cravings that often lead to a relapse. When clients use MAT as part of a comprehensive treatment program they are more likely to engage in long-term recovery. Contact Chattanooga Detox Center today to learn more about MAT and other substance abuse treatment programs.