Medication management is a treatment strategy commonly used in drug rehab programs.
It involves several steps, with the overarching goal of helping a person along in their recovery journey.
Medication management typically involves:
- an assessment by a healthcare professional
- identifying the most suitable medication for treatment (if applicable)
- monitoring and supervision of medication delivery
- reviewing and evaluating treatment outcomes
Medication may be offered through either inpatient treatment (including detoxification), or on an outpatient level through an outpatient treatment center or individual treatment provider.
What Are The Benefits Of Medication Management For Addiction?
Medication management can help restore or promote a sense of balance and normalcy in a person’s life by addressing imbalances commonly associated with substance abuse.
Medication management may help to address:
- drug or alcohol cravings
- withdrawal symptoms
- chemical imbalances in the brain
- psychiatric issues
Medication, of course, may not be a necessary part of every client’s treatment plan. But for some substance use disorders (e.g. opiate addiction), medication is commonly recommended.
What Medications Are Used For Substance Abuse?
A number of medications have been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to treat some common substance use disorders, including addiction to opioids and alcohol.
The medication offered for addiction within a rehab facility can vary by facility.
Here are some common medications used for treating alcohol and drug abuse:
Medications For Alcohol And Drug Withdrawal
Withdrawal can be a very difficult process for someone with severe drug dependence or addiction, particularly when it comes to detoxing from certain addictive substances.
Fortunately, there are some medications that can help treat common withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, and help prevent serious medical complications during the detox process.
Medications that might be offered during medically managed withdrawal include:
- clonidine: to treat nausea, fever, sweating, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and more
- medication for opioid withdrawal: to reduce cravings, reduce severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms
- benzodiazepines: to help with anxiety, agitation, and insomnia
- vitamins and supplements: vitamins may be offered to help replenish levels of certain vitamins in the body to prevent medical complications during withdrawal
Medication management may also sometimes include a tapering process. Tapering off a medication, rather than stopping cold turkey, may be recommended in some cases.
Medication For Opioid Use Disorder
Medication for opioid use disorder, also known as medication-assisted treatment, is a highly effective and evidence-based treatment for opioid dependence and addiction.
There are three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid dependence:
- methadone: a full opioid agonist
- buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone): a partial opioid-agonist
- naltrexone (Vivitrol): an opioid antagonist
Medication for opioid addiction is typically combined with the delivery of behavioral therapy, addiction counseling, and other treatments to address both physical and mental health needs.
Medications For Alcohol Use Disorder
Certain medications can also be helpful in overcoming alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism and alcohol use disorder, in conjunction with behavioral treatments.
Those prescription drugs include:
- disulfiram (Antabuse)
- acamprosate (Campral)
Naltrexone can help block the euphoric effects of alcohol. Disulfiram and acamprosate can also help deter drinking alcohol and help to prevent relapse.
Medications For Dual Diagnosis
Medication may be prescribed by a medical professional for other co-occurring disorders while in addiction treatment. For instance, medication for a mental health disorder.
Depending on your diagnosis, medication for mental health issues might include:
- antidepressants (e.g. an SSRI)
- anti-anxiety medications (e.g. benzodiazepines)
- antipsychotic medications (e.g. haloperidol)
- mood stabilizers
- attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications
Is Medication For Addiction Effective?
Experts say MAT is the most effective treatment for opioid dependence, and it can also be helpful for the treatment of alcohol use disorder.
Medication-assisted treatment has shown to:
- reduce the risk of relapse
- reduce the risk of fatal overdose
- improve certain quality of life outcomes
- help those in recovery find/maintain employment
Medications effective for treating other drug use disorders, such as cocaine addiction and meth addiction, are also an ongoing area of study.
Are There Side Effects From Medication Management?
Side effects can occur from taking prescription medications for addiction. Your doctor can explain possible side effects to you, as side effects can vary depending on the medication.
A Full Treatment Plan For Addiction
When learning about medication management, it’s important to understand that medication is often provided as just one component of a comprehensive treatment plan.
A person’s needs for addiction treatment can vary, depending on the severity of the illness, the duration, and other factors, such as a need for a high level of supervision to prevent relapse.
A full treatment plan for addiction might also involve:
- inpatient treatment
- addiction counseling
- behavioral therapy (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy)
- group therapy/support groups
- family therapy
- mental health counseling
- social services (e.g. housing assistance)
- aftercare support
Find A Drug Rehab Program That Offers Medication Management
If you’re looking for drug rehab for yourself, a family member, or another loved one, look no further.
At DetoxRehabs.net, we offer a comprehensive directory of detox centers and rehab centers that offer inpatient, residential, and/or outpatient rehab programs for addiction.
Call our helpline today for more information about your treatment options.Article Sources
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Types of Treatment Programs
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI Bookshelf — Withdrawal Management - Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — MAT Medications, Counseling, and Related Conditions