Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is a difficult time for the person who is battling this addiction as well as his or her loved ones. Whether you’re considering treatment, or it is a friend or family member who is currently receiving treatment, it’s good to understand the importance of utilizing new technology and how medication can play a huge role in the recovery process. Many people associate negative things such as relapse or on-site overdose with this practice, but there have been studies that show what a big and positive difference medication can make to the life expectancy of somebody with a serious addiction.
The first reason that these lesser forms of drugs are utilized in detox is due to the intense stages of withdrawal that some people can face. Withdrawal can be painful and bring on a variety of symptoms from headaches and heavy sweating to mood swings and seizures. This is why it’s so important that the only medication being taken is that which is prescribed by the doctor treating your addiction. Helpguide.org reports:
Detox can be done on an outpatient basis or in a hospital or alcohol treatment facility, where you may be prescribed medication to prevent medical complications and relieve withdrawal symptoms.
This medication is usually given in varying dosages to slowly bring down the level of dependency that you or your loved one has become accustomed to. Over time, these drugs will become unnecessary, but in those very difficult first stages of cleaning your body out and getting ready to quit, sometimes your physical self needs some help, even if mentally you feel that you are ready to do this.
It isn’t just that initial period of detox where medications can come in handy though. For certain forms of addictions, there are medicinal treatments that are used throughout the entire treatment to regulate cravings and keep you alert. These aren’t the same kinds of drugs that the body has become accustomed to and over time the amount that is needed will become less and less. Drugabuse.gov writes:
Medications can be used to help reestablish normal brain function and to prevent relapse and diminish cravings.
Not every person struggling with an addiction will require medication so it’s important to discuss all of the options available for before accepting pills.
Not only are some medications there to ensure safety in your treatment, but the safety of the medications themselves is being overseen by a professional medical staff. This makes it less likely that any negative effects will occur while you’re taking some medicine to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and treat other issues, which also lessens the likelihood that you’ll take matters into your own hands to try and lessen stress during detox by taking things you shouldn’t be.
Usually, these medical treatments are utilized only during the inpatient stay in a treatment facility but recently that’s been changing. Certain research has been showing a growing need for these medications to continue usage throughout the entire battle with addiction, which means ongoing care. Time Magazine says:
The science, however, is getting harder to ignore. Studies show that people addicted to opioids more than halve their risk of dying due to their habit if they stay on maintenance medication.
There’s no cure for most forms of addiction which means that even after you’ve graduated from a twelve step program and made your way back out into the real world, you’ll continue to face cravings and there’s always a possibility of relapse. With these medicines being prescribed and monitored by an outpatient care team you’ve got the ability to continue treatment so that you don’t feel the pinch of need for previously used substances.