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Opioid addiction and treatment

Opiates, sedatives and stimulants are among the different types of addictive prescriptions. These drugs have a physical, emotional and mental impact on the human brain and body. Stimulants can become addictive after being prescribed and many people are addicted to non-medically prescribed stimulants. Sedatives are also a major concern. Once a person realizes they have a problem and is willing to get help, there are various treatments that can be used to help maintain sobriety.

Pharmacological treatment for sedatives

The list of sedatives includes benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines and barbiturates. If a person was prescribed a sedative to reduce anxiety, control sleeping patterns or recover from surgery, becoming addicted to the substance might easily occur. Many times people who become addicted to sedatives are also abusing other types of prescription medications to counter the effects of the sedative. The withdrawal symptoms from these types of prescription drugs can often be life-threatening and may require medical supervision.

Pharmacological treatment for addiction to opioids

An agonist is a drug that activates receptors in the brain. Full agonists produce the drug’s effect until a maximum effect is reached or until the receptor is fully activated by the drug. A partial agonist will bind to the receptors and activate them, but at a lower degree than a full agonist; there is not a resulting euphoric feeling, so the chances of becoming addicted are small. A partial agonist will get caught in the brain’s opiate receptors for about 24 hours, making it impossible for full opioids, such as heroin, to reach the receptors. Studies show that people report feeling more energized during medication-assisted treatment. An antagonist also binds to opioid receptors but instead of activating receptors, they block them, preventing the receptors from being activated.

Buprenorphine is considered to be in the family of partial agonist opioids. In 2002, the FDA approved the use of Subutex and Suboxone. Medications with buprenorphine like Subutex and Suboxone will block the effects of other opioids put into the the body within a span of 24 hours. Since this drug doesn’t cause any euphoric feelings, its abuse potential is lower than methadone. It’s been said that success rates with these medications, as measured by rate of retention in treatment and reaching a year of sobriety, have been reported as high as 40 to 60 percent in some studies.

Pharmacological treatment for addiction to stimulants:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are currently no pharmacological treatments for addictions to stimulant prescriptions. Once the patient admits to having an addiction, he or she can start to get the help they need. It is important to consider the initial reason why the person started taking the prescription in the first place. Analyzing the underlying motivations to use will help the addict deal with any negative or harmful mental, physical or emotional conditions. Getting proper exercise and eating well will help tremendously in maintaining a positive attitude towards recovering. Working with a therapist and a psychiatrist as well as attending group therapy and 12-step meetings will put the addict on the path to recovery.

Behavioral therapies for addiction to prescriptions

Various treatment types are available to people who have an addiction to prescriptions. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approaches such as contingency management and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have been said to be among the best treatments for this particular type of addict. It is also extremely important for the addicted person to learn how to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Contingency management therapy is a psychosocial treatment that uses a voucher-based system rewarding positive behavior with “points.” The points add up to vouchers of monetary value that can later be exchanged for healthy items the patient would like to purchase. This system reinforces positive behavior and decisions and shows the addict how their poor decisions impact the positive things they would otherwise be able to achieve if it hadn’t been for their addiction. In contingency management therapy, the patients see their points increase as a result of abstaining from their drug of choice and maintaining sobriety from all mind altering chemicals. If the patient refuses to abide by the outlines or expectations of their treatment plan, then their points decrease and they do not receive the reward.

Choosing an addiction treatment, medically or non-medically prescribed, is a very important decision. There are various treatment options, but deciding which one is best for a particular addiction can be confusing and intimidating. Once the decision to get treatment is made, the next step is to speak to a primary care provider. Treating addictions is possible and getting help in moving on to a better way of life is just a phone call away.

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