Medication and Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Effective addiction treatment approaches for drug abusers or addicts include medication and behavioral therapy. In fact, they work best when worked in a combined concerted manner that begins with detoxification. The three steps are:

  • Detoxification
  • Treatment
  • Relapse Prevention

It’s a continuum of care of which the key component is a customized treatment regimen usually including medication and behavioral therapy.

Medications for Addiction Treatment

The dispensing of medications is often used as part of the addiction treatment process. They can be especially useful during the detoxification phase. Medications can help mitigate the physical anguish of withdrawal. However, the patient who gets through that but does not receive any further addiction treatment, usually ends up back in drug abuse patterns that are similar to those who have never been treated.

After detox, properly prescribed medications can help reestablish normal brain functions, reduce cravings and prevent relapses. Medications are currently available for opioids (heroin and morphine), tobacco and alcohol addiction.

Opioids: The most common medications for opioids are methadone and buprenorphone. They suppress withdrawals and reduce cravings.

Tobacco: Several nicotine replacements such as the patch, gum and lozenges currently exist. Two prescription drugs are also available—bupropion and varenicline. They help to keep people from relapsing.

Alcohol: The FDA has approved three medications—disulfiram, acamprosate and naltrexone. These medications range from blocking the receptors that cause alcohol cravings and the rewarding effects of drinking. Disulfiram also causes unpleasant physical reactions to drinking.

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments are intended to engage the patient in the treatment process, change attitudes related to the drug abuse and enhance life coping skills. They assist with the effectiveness of medication and help patients stay in treatment.

Outpatient treatment programs include individual or group drug counseling. Some of them are:

Cognitive behavioral treatment: Helps patients recognize and cope with situations where they may be most prone to using abusing drugs.

Multidimensional family therapy: Addresses influences on drug abuse patterns and is supposed to improve family dynamics.

Motivational incentives: Uses positive reinforcement to keep the user away from drugs.

Motivational interviewing: Uses the readiness of the individuals to change their behavior

Residential addiction treatment programs can be positive for those with severe problems. They may have had a long period of drug addiction or been involved in serious criminal conduct. An example of residential treatment is a therapeutic community (TC). These patients remain at a residence for usually between six to twelve months. The key change agents are the community of treatment staff and other individuals in recovery. They attempt to influence patient attitudes, behaviors and perceptions behind drug and alcohol use. The overall focus of a TC is to re-socialize the patient to once again embrace the drug and crime free lifestyle.

Treating addictions often means to be able to combine effective medical with behavioral treatment techniques. At Recovery First, we offer comprehensive drug treatment programs in South Florida and have the right combination of programs to help you. Call the number at the top of your screen now for an immediate consultation, or fill out the insurance verification form that appears to the right on every page if you need help overcoming your addiction.

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