Medication Management Services For Addiction Recovery
Medication management is a common pitfall for young men in early recovery. Often, a psychiatrist may not specialize in substance abuse, and as a result can make medication decisions that are not conducive to recovery. One of the most common stories we hear from the young men in the program is how prior to arriving, they were able to successfully manipulate well-meaning doctors into over prescribing a litany of medications.
Psychiatric Medication Management
The idea of detoxing from addictive substances can intimidate someone struggling with a substance use disorder. Once the detoxification process is completed, even the beginning of the recovery process can leave a person feeling like they are on shaky ground. Many treatment providers offer the option of incorporating psychiatric medication management as part of their program.
Many medical professionals recommend that anyone planning to cease using a substance to which they’ve become addicted do so only under professional supervision. Attempting to detox without appropriate medical or psychiatric guidance can be painful and result in damage from withdrawal symptoms. Going solo for detoxification also holds a low rate of success compared to doing so with professional supervision.
The Benefits of Psychiatric Medication Management
Often a person who attempts to stop using drugs or alcohol on their own uses the “cold turkey” approach. When a person has a history of long-term substance abuse, this can be a shock to the system. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings can prove to be too much, causing the person to return to their addiction.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that in 2018, 2 million people suffered from addiction to opioids. SAMHSA states that medication-assisted treatment for addiction has been proven to be clinically effective. Other benefits include:
- Greatly reduces the need for inpatient detoxification programs for many
- Increases retention rates for those in treatment
- Improves the rate of patient survival
- Creates a stronger ability for patients to seek and maintain jobs
- Lowers the amount of opiate use and other criminal activity among those who suffer from addiction
- Improves the birth outcomes for women who are pregnant while experiencing addiction
How Medication Management Works
Individuals who have entered treatment for an addiction to alcohol, opioids, or multiple drugs may benefit from the use of psychiatric medication management. Several non-addictive medications can be administered to help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They help address and quell many of the symptoms related to withdrawal.
Medical professionals supervise medication administration and dosage amounts. This group includes doctors, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and psychiatrists. They watch for any side effects and adjust the amount and specific medication as needed. As the patient progresses through detoxification and early recovery stages, the dosage amount is typically reduced.
A person receiving psychiatric medication management also participates in counseling and behavioral therapies. Therapy options may include individual, group, vocational, medical, educational, and other types of programs. Research shows that the combination of medication management and therapy often provides a powerful combination that provides great results.
Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Issues Often Exist Side-by-Side
Studies show a great deal of crossover between the populations of those with substance use disorders and mental health issues. For this reason, many addiction treatment programs offer therapy alongside psychiatric medication management for addiction. Often a person who deals with mental health diagnoses uses drugs and alcohol in an attempt to disguise or alleviate their symptoms. When treatment addresses both issues concurrently, rates of recidivism in addiction decline.
Patients who understand how the two conditions may be tied together often find it easier to make progress. Not only do their outcomes for maintaining recovery improve, but so does their ability to fully grasp their situations. They become empowered to participate fully in their own recoveries. Once patients feel they have a grasp on how to physically and emotionally address their health concerns, their confidence can increase the likelihood they will stay in recovery.
Common Medications Used to Manage Addiction Recovery
Psychiatric medication management comes in the form of several prescription options. SAMHSA reports that there are many common medications used to treat various substance use disorders. None is intended to be a cure for addiction, but rather to assist in the recovery process and increase the chances of success.
The most common medications for alcohol use disorder include:
Naltrexone: A person who takes this medication will not feel the typical effects if they consume alcohol. Naltrexone blocks feelings of intoxication and euphoria. This effect often provides motivation for someone in recovery from alcoholism not to drink.
Acamprosate: This medication is used for people in recovery who no longer drink alcohol. It does not prevent withdrawal symptoms. Acamprosate typically does not work when a person continues to consume alcohol or engage in drug misuse and abuse.
Disulfiram: This medication is used in the treatment of chronic alcoholism, usually for a patient who has completed the detoxification process. Consuming alcohol while this medication is in a person’s system can result in side effects such as vomiting, headache, difficulty breathing, and chest pains.
Common medications for the treatment of opioid addiction include:
Naltrexone: This medication blocks the typical feelings of sedation and euphoria experienced by a person using opioids.
Buprenorphine: Usage of this medication helps reduce and suppress cravings for opioids.
Methadone: This medication blocks or greatly reduces the effects of using opioids. It also reduces opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Naloxone: While not used to treat withdrawal symptoms for someone in recovery, Naloxone does have a high success rate in helping reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. When administered quickly and correctly, it can help save the life of someone who has overdosed on opioids.
Medication Management Services for Addiction Recovery
To learn more about medication management services for young men in recovery and what our program can provide your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our admissions team looks forward to connecting and helping you and your loved one begin this journey. Learn more about New Life House Recovery today.