Painful withdrawal symptoms are intimidating enough to persuade many addicts never to enter rehab. In addition, withdrawal symptoms will make quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey an impossible feat. Not only does withdrawal include excruciating physical and emotional pain, but depending on how severe the addiction is, withdrawal could be fatal.
Medication-Assisted Treatment, also known as MAT, is an effective solution to the harmful effects of withdrawal. MAT uses certain medications, as well as counseling and behavioral therapies to treat an individual’s addiction. In addition, MAT gradually weans substance abusers from their addictions. These medications are also effective in reducing the cravings of an addict, as well as preventing addicts from experiencing any sort of high.
As noted earlier, withdrawal is intimidating enough to keep addicts far from the closest rehab. However, many addicts use their fear of withdrawal as an excuse not to become sober. As a result, fear of withdrawal accounts for many substance abusers to continue living with their addiction. Such a lifestyle only ends tragically. MAT is an option for substance abusers to participate in rehab without experiencing a painful withdrawal.
Withdrawal Can Be Brutal
Both alcohol and opioid withdrawal can contain serious physical discomfort or even life-threatening symptoms. Those who are less chemically dependent will still endure withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, increased blood pressure, or a rapid heartbeat.
Have you ever experienced a hangover, the morning after you might have had one too many? The room is spinning, your stomach feels terrible, you have cottonmouth, you are sweating profusely, and even more aches and pains. In such a situation, you are experiencing a very slight form of alcohol withdrawal.
Now, try to imagine how that hangover would feel if instead of one night, you had been drinking for the past several weeks, months, or even years. Plus, imagine drinking exponentially more alcohol for that time span, than the amount you drank the previous night. This should give the reader a good comprehension of how excruciating withdrawal can be.
Medications For Drug Addiction Used During MAT
According to research, a select mixture of medication for drug addiction and therapy can successfully treat this life-altering disease. Here are some of the most frequently prescribed drugs used to treat opioid or alcohol dependence.
Approved by the FDA for clinical use in 2002, buprenorphine is a drug used in MAT. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that buprenorphine is designed to block opioid receptors before the receptor is activated. As a result, any opioid in someone’s system would be unable to attach to them. An antagonist, such as buprenorphine, is effective in rehab therapy because the drug will prevent any opiate from creating euphoric sensations.
Methadone is a partial opioid agonist, meaning the drug will produce similar effects as an opioid. Methadone is longer-acting than other opioids such as heroin, so the effects are tamer. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, a single dose can prevent cravings and withdrawal symptoms for up to one day and a half. Because methadone and other opioids are so similar, methadone is classified as a schedule II drug, patients can easily swap one opioid addiction for methadone.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means that the drug blocks opioid activity at receptor sites. As a result, naloxone can prevent life-threatening overdoses. Naloxone is often used in medical emergency situations.
Naltrexone can be used to treat both alcohol and opioid addiction. Like the other drugs used for MAT, naltrexone blocks opioid receptors, so a patient with naltrexone will not experience intoxication if they consume alcohol or opioids. Such an attribute can be fatal, considering if someone consumes alcohol or opioids with naltrexone, that person may suffer fatal respiratory depression or even an overdose.
Disulfiram evokes unpleasant effects when someone consumes alcohol. The effects will be felt between ten and thirty minutes after alcohol is consumed. Such unpleasant effects could include sweating, confusion, vertigo, anxiety, vomiting and more.
How To Seek MAT Treatment
Depending on how intense one’s addiction is, sometimes medication-assisted treatment is the best, and sometimes only, way for an individual to endure painful withdrawal symptoms. Little Creek Lodge is a residential rehabilitation facility, designed to help men achieve a sober lifestyle.
Situated in the serene forests of Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, Little Creek provides treatment programs for the most prevalent substances, such as heroin, prescription drugs, benzodiazepine, cocaine, and more. In addition, Little Creek offers various residential programs – from intensive outpatient programs to recreation programs. As a result, Little Creek Lodge is able to provide individualized rehabilitation programs for anyone seeking sobriety.
The first step is often the most difficult! All you need to do is pick up that phone and contact Little Creek Lodge.