Drug and Alcohol Treatment for America’s Top 3 Addictive Substances

by | Mar 20, 2018 | Addiction, Latest News | 0 comments

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Home » Addiction » Drug and Alcohol Treatment for America’s Top 3 Addictive Substances

Drug and alcohol treatment is necessary for getting sober and staying clean. It’s no secret that many Americans struggle with addiction. You can see the effects of addiction in practically every city and state in America. Some cities have a more extensive problem than others, but it’s fair to say that every city has to deal with addiction.

Alcohol is one of the most addictive substances in America. 1 in 8 Americans are alcoholic. These statistics don’t account for the millions of others who have an addiction to illicit substances, like heroin or cocaine. Opioids and opiates are also common substances of abuse.

Trying to get sober and stay clean alone is a challenging task. Many drug abusers are bound to relapse. Even if they no longer experience physical withdrawal symptoms, they may still crave drugs or alcohol. Psychological withdrawal symptoms can persist for months and even years after the last use. Some addicts claim that they may randomly experience cravings even a year after they’ve become sober. This makes it difficult to stay clean.

Drug and alcohol treatment combine therapies with medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT can manage withdrawal symptoms. The treatments prevent serious side effects from appearing, and also keep cravings away. The medicines are highly recommended by most rehab centers and healthcare providers.

In this article, we’ll explore the various drug and alcohol treatment recommendations available. We’ll look at the top 3 most addictive substances that plague America, and how to treat them. Getting clean is only a step away. With the right help, there will be fewer potholes and bumps on the road to recovery.

Drug Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

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To ease withdrawals during alcohol detox, treatment facilities use an array of medications. These medications lessen the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. They also prevent serious ones, like delirium tremens and seizures, from kicking in. These withdrawal symptoms have a 5% to 25% mortality rate. It’s best to avoid them if possible.

The medications used in this form of specialized treatment are usually administered throughout recovery. Some are long-term medications. Others are for short-term purposes only. Each medication has unique features and mechanisms of actions. It also has distinctive pros and cons.

There are many different medications used in alcohol addiction treatment. The most common types of addiction medication prescribed to drug addicts include:

  • Anticonvulsants. This medicine keeps seizures at bay. This makes recovery a lot less complicated and uncomfortable.
  • Acamprosate. This prescription drug targets the neurons that are affected by alcohol abuse. It can take anywhere from 5 to 8 days before this addiction medicine kicks in. This medication is administered three times a day.
  • Benzodiazepine. This medication prevents severe withdrawal symptoms. The dose is altered and adjusted based on the patient’s weight, age, height, medical condition and biological makeup.
  • Disulfiram. This drug keeps serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms at bay. It helps weans drug addicts off of alcohol dependence.
  • Naltrexone. This medication efficiently blocks cravings by attaching to opioid receptors. A medical professional administers the intramuscular injection once a month. This medication is a non-narcotic and non-addictive.

Some addiction medications are habit-forming. The dose needs to be carefully calculated by a doctor. Patients also need around-the-clock supervision. Most of these medications are suitable for outpatient rehab, but they’re best for inpatient programs.

When Are Medications for Alcohol Addiction Prescribed?

So, when is addiction medicine for alcohol abuse recommended? The short answer is that it depends on the patient’s medical condition. The Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) provides valuable insight. The test only takes several minutes, but can give staff members a good idea of:

  • The length of the drug treatment
  • The type of treatment models that are most ideal
  • The kind and dose of the addiction medicine that is most suitable

Before medical detox can start, patients must receive a score of under 8. The test looks at a patient’s heart rate and systolic blood pressure.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The abuse treatment keeps mild to severe withdrawal symptoms away. Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms kick in within 2 to 10 hours after a patient has stopped drinking. These symptoms tend to peak within 3 to 4 days before disappearing.

Addiction medicine prevents mild symptoms from becoming worse or from appearing at all. With alcohol rehab, you can expect to avoid mild withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Insomnia, often caused by nightmares
  • Mood changes, such as increased anxiety and irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Uncontrollable shaking, seizures and tremors

The addiction treatment works by attaching to receptors in the brain. They help balance out the chemical imbalance in the brain, so that it is not as severe. All in all, the treatment programs prevent the withdrawal symptoms from worsening.

Most importantly, the rehab program prevents life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Patients can detox at the treatment center in peace. Many patients often relapse because they can’t handle the pain and agony that comes with withdrawals. Alcoholism treatment is excellent at preventing relapses.

Abuse Treatment for Stimulants

Stimulants, like cocaine and even methamphetamines, also need a medically-assisted detox from a recovery center. These drugs have particularly nasty withdrawal symptoms. Psychological withdrawal symptoms, in particular, can last a long time. They may appear out of nowhere even years after a drug addict has gotten sober.

The treatment plans aim to help substance abusers stay as comfortable as possible during recovery. It manages and even lessens the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. They also improve a patient’s mental health and condition. The drug abuse treatment can improve a patient’s mental health, and keep mental illness at bay.

Depending on the withdrawal symptoms experienced, different medications are used in the detox process. Some of the most popular options for stimulant drug recovery include:

  • Antidepressants, which can help improve a patient’s mood
  • Antipsychotics like olanzapine, which improves a patient’s state of mind and mental health
  • Benzodiazepines, which manages and eases withdrawal symptoms
  • Modafinil, which improves the alertness and concentration of patients

The dose of the medications will vary from patient to patient. It depends on the patient’s medical condition and health. It also depends on whether the patient is struggling with co-occurring disorders, and the level of care they need. Various levels of care are offered for both inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab.

Stimulant Addiction Statistics

Stimulants are just as widely abused as many other drugs. They have a stronghold on just as many Americans. Stimulants include illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, and prescription drugs like methylphenidate and Adderall. These drugs stimulate the central nervous system to make a patient feel more alert and focused. Here are some interesting statistics and facts:

  • 24% of cocaine addicts relapse within a year of getting help from an addiction treatment program
  • 913,000 Americans had a cocaine addiction in 2014
  • Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are more likely to experiment with and get addicted to cocaine
  • 4,500 methamphetamine overdoses that resulted in death were reported in 2015
  • twice as much methamphetamine got seized by the police in 2016 than any other year
  • 20% of college students abuse prescription stimulants, like Adderall or Ritalin
  • 922,200 prescriptions for methylphenidate were written in 2014

Stimulants are just as big of a problem in America as any other drug. Don’t be shy if you have an addiction to stimulants. There are plenty of treatment programs available that can help you get sober and stay clean.

Drug abuse and mental health are closely linked. Those who do not get help for their stimulant addiction will see a steep decline in their medical condition.

Addiction Treatment For Opioids

It’s no secret that America has a growing opioid addiction. The addiction rates for opioids and opiates have gotten so bad that health experts consider it as an epidemic. It’s easy for many patients to first get hooked on prescription opioids and opiates. When their prescription runs out, they tend to turn to illicit street drugs, like heroin.

Those who are looking for drug treatment for opiates should consider Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT). These drug treatment programs use weaker opioids as substitutes for stronger opioids. The medicine helps keep dangerous withdrawal symptoms away. They also help curb cravings. Most of the time, the treatments are covered under a patient’s health care package.

When looking for drug abuse treatment, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the most popular choices include:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Dolophine
  • Methadone
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • Suboxone

All these medications require around-the-clock supervision. They must be administered by a professional. The dose will vary based on each patient’s medical condition, as well as the length of the drug use. The drug can be used for short-term or long-term purposes. The goal is to wean the patient off of the prescription drug eventually, so they are free of drugs.

The Differences Between Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol

The most common drug detox options for opioids and opiates include methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol, or naltrexone. All three of these medications attach to opiate receptors in the brain. The drugs prevent opiates and opioids from having a chance at attaching to the receptors. Each of these drugs has distinctive features and characters. Get a better idea of how each drug works to make a more informed decision.

Methadone is the strongest of the three. It has similar effects and properties to some of the stronger opioids, like heroin. As a result, this drug can be somewhat addictive, even if it is prescribed correctly. The dose of this medication will differ depending on a patient’s age, weight and height.

Suboxone, on the other hand, contains buprenorphine, which means that it has a “ceiling effect.” While it functions in a similar manner to methadone, it is not as addictive. After a specific threshold, the effects of Suboxone will not continue. Patients cannot get high from this drug. As a result, it is almost impossible to get addicted to this medicine.

Vivitrol, or naltrexone, is one of the newest treatment options available. This non-narcotic and non-addictive drug is prescribed in the form of an intramuscular injection. This is different from the other drugs because they are prescribed in the form of pills. Only one shot is needed each month.

Talk to Our Specialists About Drug and Alcohol Treatment

If you’re looking for drug and alcohol treatment, speak to one of our specialists. Many of our staff are recovering addicts that can walk you through the entire treatment process. You’ll get some personal insight on what to expect, and how to prepare for treatment. We can also give you answers to some frequently asked questions.

Getting clean is not an easy task. Many drug abusers find themselves having a hard time reaching out. Others may have a hard time staying clean. It’s easy to relapse when placed in the same environment with the same people. It can be challenging to stay away from temptations when they’re within reach.

Drug and alcohol treatment helps patients get clean with necessary medications while teaching them essential habits. Staying clean becomes much more possible with the right skills and resources. Many treatment programs offer aftercare services for substance abuse.

At Amethyst Recovery, we can offer you many resources. We can even help patients from other states and cities get the help they need. In fact, if you’ve been wondering whether you should consider our services, consider the benefits of traveling for drug and alcohol treatment.

It’s time to retake control of your life. Be proactive and take the first step needed to achieve sobriety.


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