Medications for Treating Substance Abuse

Several substance abuse medications treat opioid, alcohol, or nicotine addiction effectively in adults, but none has been approved by the FDA for adolescents. In most cases, the efficacy and safety of such medications in people under 18 are only tentative and there is little proof of the neurobiological effect of these medications on the brain. However, in the case of adolescents (especially older adolescents) who are opium-addicted, nicotine, or (when less commonly) alcohol, some health care providers use “off-label” medications. No new compounds are being tested for the treatment of adult and adolescent conditions, but no findings have been definitive except those reported here.

Substance abuse medications are not the goal of all people seeking care for drug abuse, but they can be an early stabilization mechanism during detox. There might be various meds to choose from which are suitable for the patient, depending on the drug of choice; however, you must weigh the risks involved. 

We all have our differences and the effectiveness of one medications option can be influenced by different conditions including:

  • Subsistence substance abuse medications
  • Dose of the substance abuse medications daily
  • Medicines taken for other diseases are regularly used for other illicit drugs (such as those used for physical pain and brain disorders)
  • Drug recovery and detox history
  • Recovery Goals

Find out more about types of substance abused and the best medical choices for your beloved by contacting us today at the above phone number.

How Substance Abuse Medications Work

Many substance abuse medications are addictive because the fun and the reward centers of the brain exploit them. Although the exact mechanisms of the medication are different, many pharmacotherapeutics in addiction care aim to put the neuroscientific processes influenced by the use of medications and alcohol back into control.

The Reasons Why you Need Medications and the Time to Get them

In the first step of rehabilitation, most patients are treated with medicine as part of medication addiction care. During the body’s adaption to become free from an option of medication, a lot of individuals experience symptoms making them withdraw and certain substance abuse medications have been developed to alleviate these symptoms clinically. For example, substance abuse medications like methadone can be administered to opioid detox patients, so they can recover more easily and proceed to psychotherapeutic care.

Based on reports by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, patients might also take after detox during treatment using substance abuse medications in some cases. The meds used here could work in encouraging patients to battle for their choice of medicines and to rely on psychotherapeutic therapy to help them find a solid foundation for recovery. For instance, alcoholic patients may use medications like acamprosate and naltrexone. Patients may benefit from these medications:

  • Block the part of the brain linked with drinking
  • Overcoming cravings
  • Handle various symptoms of detoxification such as lack of sleep and a constant feeling of unease
  • Experience bad reaction to the body such as nausea and heart palpitations when relapse happens as they get treated

Drug Withdrawal and Detoxification

The body must rid itself of drugs during the initial recovery phases. A detox may last for several days, depending on the medications used, to several weeks. The most challenging part of detox is to cope with withdrawal symptoms. Former pharmacists experience many uneasy symptoms during detox. Certain of these may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating

Various medications are used to treat various symptoms of withdrawal. Some of the medications doctors prescribe for detox include:


They reduce fear and anxiety. Anxiety is a common sign that many medicines, including cocaine and heroin opioids, are withdrawn. Benzos have a sedative effect that facilitates drinking. Physicians are careful to prescribe benzoic substances because they are addictive.


An addict cannot produce natural amounts of happiness chemicals in his brain without medications. Due to their dependence on medicines, detoxes are often depressed for so long. Antidepressants such as Zoloft and Prozac can help to ease this feeling until the brain can produce chemicals that lead to happiness on its own.


Clonidine reduces sweating, cramps, muscle aches, and anxiety when used to treat alcohol and opiate retreats. Clonidine may stop shaking and convulsions as well.

Substance Abuse Medications for Alcohol Overuse

Alcohol abuse can prolong withdrawal symptoms from anywhere between weeks and months for a longer time. This phenomenon is called Prolonged or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). Maintenance therapy can alleviate PAWS and also curb cravings or prevent the user from drinking alcohol. These medications are usually a tablet taken daily by patients. Alcohol dependence medicines include:

Naltrexone (Vivitrol)

Naltrexone blocks brain receptors that have pleasant effects on alcohol. The urge to drink is also reduced. Naltrexone can cause some headaches or nausea. It can be given every four weeks through injection.

Acamprosate (Campral)

This drug alleviates alcohol addiction emotional and physical distress. Alcoholics can recover after detox by taking acamprosate. Acamprosate lowers drinking pressure by avoiding negative feelings such as anxiety and depression.

Disulfiram (Antabuse)

The first drug approved for alcoholism was Disulfiram. The drug causes side effects such as nausea and vomiting when people take disulfiram drinks. The idea is that if you get disulfiram, you will not drink it.


The absence of ‘high’ or dangerous side effects of heroin and other opioids reduces or eliminates opioid withdrawal, including medicinal cravings. This is done by activating and blocking opium receptors in the brain (i.e., it is what is known as a partial opioid agonist). It is available both as a stand-alone and in combination with another agent known as naloxone for sublingual administration. In the combined formula naloxone is included to prevent the medicine from being misleading or abused by causing an intravenous withdrawal reaction.


The prevention of recurrence in adult patients following complete opioid detoxification is permitted with naltrexone. It operates by blocking opioid receptors in the brain (i.e. an opponent in the opium), preventing the action of opioid medications and therefore blocking the user’s high, if the new opioid use has occurred, normally feeling and/or causing withdrawals. It can be injected by mouth or in a doctor’s office once monthly.

Medications for Heroin and Opiate Addiction 

Heroin, morphine, and narcotics, such as oxycontin, are part of opiates. Opium and heroin medications ease cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. Usually, these drugs are supplied daily in tablets. Heroin and opiate withdrawal is experienced for some people just one week. Others might experience symptoms of long-term retirement. The withdrawal symptoms can sometimes last for months or years. Substance abuse medications can end cravings and PAWS for long-term replacement medications. Former users can usually take as long as necessary medicines. 

Heroin and painkillers toxicity medications include:


Methadone is a medium to severe opioid addiction opioid. It works by attaching heroin and painkillers with the same receptors in the brain, but methadone does not reach the user’s level. This helps to eliminate tendencies and symptoms of withdrawal. Methadone is used with caution since certain people are heroin and painkillers addicted to it. The drug is dispensed daily by methadone clinics, to avoid abuse. Learn more about methadone.


Buprenorphine works in the same way as methadone but is less closely controlled because of a lower dependency potential. Instead of going to the clinic every day to get it, Buprenorphine users can often take the drug home with them.


For opiate addiction, naltrexone works the same way as for alcohol addiction. The urge to use stops. The function is both for alcohol and opiates because some of the same receptors are activated in the brain.

Comprehensive Treatment for Substance Addiction

It is not unusual to administer treatment to patients that experience the symptoms of regular brain disorders and drug abuse. According to SAMHSA, (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration), there are both drug abuse and brain disorder issues among more than 8.9 million Americans. Given the frequency of interrelationships between what leads to both of these problems and their repercussions, patients are advised to choose treatment plans that provide resources to address both conditions simultaneously.

This means that you can get a double treatment plan that provides sufficient medicine. It means a program that offers a friend various comprehensive therapeutic resources that could have:

  • CBT: Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on taking viable steps and guided therapy; it helps patients identify triggers for drug abuse and learn how their actions and thinking patterns deal with such triggers
  • Family therapy: Offering care at home can be good for restoration that lasts for a longer time and often begins with solving old issues and forgiving previous hurts and meeting health needs
  • Motivational Interviewing: Assisting the client to succeed at their speed and time can be an important part of effective therapy
  • Incentives that Inspires: You should motivate them by giving them various good incentives; this will help them remain on track despite the temptation to quit

Is it Possible to Prevent Substance Use Disorder?

Yes, it is. Education begins to prevent drug dependence. Education in schools, communities, and families contributes for the first time to the prevention of substance abuse.

Additional Ways of Avoiding Disorder of Drug Use:

  • Even once, do not try unlawful drugs
  • The prescription medicines instructions should be followed. Never take more than taught. For example, after only five days, opioid addiction can start
  • Dispose of unused requirements to reduce other people’s abuse risks promptly

Get the Perfect Treatment Plan Today

By using medications, your friend or family can get assistance from our experts. We have a therapy program that helps you overcome your challenges that might slow down your healing, such as mental diseases or symptoms. Call us today to find out more about substance abuse medications!