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Medication-Assisted Therapies For Rehab Centers

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

April 4, 2019

Breakthroughs in medication-assisted drug addiction rehab therapies have helped give new hope to people across the country by providing a helping hand through recovery. Understanding this process and the types of medicines it uses can help you decide if this procedure is right for you.

Medication-Assisted Addiction Recovery

People in drug rehabilitation often require medicinal help to complete their recovery. These medicines are designed to increase the effectiveness of rehab and to create a permanent state of soberness for people recovering from addiction.

Each medicine prescribed offers a different effect. For example, some are used as a “replacement” drug, i.e., they mimic the effective of the addictive drug in a milder and easier to control manner. Others block the effectiveness of the drug by interfering with opioid receptors while still others literally make a person sick should they relapse.

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Medicines Commonly Used To Treat Addiction

The FDA has approved multiple drugs to treat addiction and commonly prescribed ones (sorted by drug type treated) include:

  • Opioids: methadone and buprenorphine are used to treat withdrawal symptoms and eliminate craving symptoms. Both are opioids and must be carefully controlled. Naltrexone reduces the effectiveness of the mind’s dopamine receptors.
  • Alcohol: naltrexone is commonly used to treat alcohol for the same reasons it is used to treat opioid drugs. Acamprosate treats withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, while disulfiram causes unpleasant sensations when a person drinks.
  • Cocaine: addiction to cocaine is less commonly treated with medicines, as the FDA has yet to approve an effective treatment. However, certain medicines, such as propranolol, baclofen, tiagabine, topiramate show some promise.

When you check into a drug rehabilitation center, your medical needs will be carefully considered before any of these medicines are prescribed. Sometimes, underlying physical health problems make it more difficult to use these medicines.

And while these medicines are commonly used to treat addiction symptoms, other medicines may still be prescribed. For example, people who suffer from co-occurring disorders usually require some medical treatment to eliminate those problems.

Benefits Of Medication-Assisted Drug Rehab

The many benefits of medication-assisted drug rehabilitation include:

  • Help decreasing the severity of your withdrawal symptoms
  • Lessened or eliminated craving symptoms
  • Creating a cleaner and more focused state of mind
  • Improving your physical health by removing harmful substances from your life

Clearly, medication-assisted therapies offer a world of benefits for somebody trying to recover from addiction. However, there may be side effects of these medicines that may make them inappropriate. These symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Increased anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia

If you experience any of these side effects, make sure to talk to your rehabilitation specialist right away. They can find a way to decrease their severity or find a drug that is more appropriate for your treatment.

Inpatient And Outpatient Recovery Programs

Both inpatient and outpatient recovery programs offer medication-assisted therapies. People who want more independence can obtain their medicines from an outpatient rehab center as needed. Usually, they’re required to attend some form of recovery meeting a few times a week, but are otherwise left on their own.

That option is appropriate for people who have a better handle on their addiction and who need to attend work or school regularly. However, severe addiction often requires inpatient programs. Here, rehabilitation experts will carefully monitor, control, and decrease your medicine dosage to help wean you off their use.

Finding A Medication-Assisted Rehabilitation Center

Finding a medication-assisted rehabilitation center is as easy as contacting our friendly addiction counselors. Here at, we are in contact with dozens of rehab centers across the country and are ready and willing to help you get the help you need to regain a drug-free life.

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