Addiction can be extremely difficult to overcome. Detox is when people go through, and overcome withdrawal symptoms as the drugs leave their body. Unfortunately, during detox and for some time after, there will be cravings for more of the drug due to the chemical dependence.
Sometimes, cravings for more of the drug can be compulsive and severe. Cravings can be triggered, or random. They can be so overwhelming that they often lead people to relapse during or well after the detox process.
Anti-craving medications can be used to help combat these cravings. They can be a powerful tool to help prevent relapse and make early recovery more manageable. Anti-craving drugs work by blocking the receptors usually stimulated by the drug of choice, preventing cravings. However they are not always the end all be all, and cravings can still occur.
Anti-Craving Drug Uses
Anti-craving medications are a powerful tool for some struggling with addiction. However, not all cravings or addictions can be treated by anti-craving drugs. Thankfully, there are anti-craving drugs for alcoholism, opiate addiction, and even cocaine addiction.
There are also some other drugs that can be utilized to help prevent cravings, but they do not block the receptors in the brain in the same way true anti-craving medications do. Despite this, they can still be useful to those in early recovery and help prevent relapse.
Types of Anti-Craving Drugs
There are multiple kinds of drugs that help prevent cravings, or relapse. Some do not truly prevent cravings, but act as a deterrent. Others have shown results in reducing cravings, but do not truly block the receptors in the brain. We will address these and their use cases.
Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in America. Cravings for alcohol can be severe, and triggers are everywhere since alcohol is so widely available and frequently advertised. A trigger is something that reminds someone of the drug and causes a response in them to want to use.
The most effective deterrent medication for alcohol is called disulfiram, brand name Antabuse. It works by causing uncomfortable side effects if alcohol is consumed. It is not considered anti-craving, since it does not prevent cravings, it merely prevents the user from getting drunk and causes extreme discomfort if they drink.
When someone on antabuse drinks even a small amount of alcohol they will be met with a laundry list of side effects. The most common side effects are vomiting, nausea, sweating, and an overall discomfort.
When used in conjunction with comprehensive alcoholism treatment, Antabuse can be very effective and act as another tool to fight against relapse.
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The opioid epidemic has swept across our nation. There are nearly 100,000 deaths from an opiate related overdose each year. This brought the need for opiate treatment, as well as the need for anti-craving medications to assist in recovery.
Opiate anti-craving medications are considered to be the most effective of any anti-craving drugs. The most common anti-craving drug for opiate addiction is Naltrexone and Burprephenone, or a combination of the two in the form of Suboxone. We always recommend the use of Naltrexone alone, since it has less potential for abuse.
Naltrexone is a true anti-craving medication. It works by blocking the receptors in the brain that process opiates. This helps even out the chemical imbalance caused by detox. It also helps prevent cravings on a chemical level.
Naltrexone has minimal side effects and is recommended in conjunction with a full opiate treatment program. Naltrexone also prevents people from getting high on opiates. Since it blocks the receptors in the brain, it prevents the drugs from having an effect. This also helps prevent relapse.
Other Anti-Craving Medications
While not all drugs offer true anti-craving medications, other medications have shown promise in helping prevent relapse and easing cravings. Drugs like neurontin and vistaril have shown promise in relieving some withdrawal symptoms and helping with cravings. A doctor experienced with addiction medicine and the individual will be able to determine the best medication management program for each individual.
Treatment Programs and Anti-Craving Medications
Anti-craving drugs have shown promise in helping people in early recovery. However, they should never be used in place of a treatment program. Their effectiveness relies on being used in combination with a treatment program.
Detox followed by an inpatient program with a combination of therapies and medications is the most effective manner to treat substance use disorders and addiction. Anti-craving medications are just a tool to help aid in the recovery process and prevent relapse.
Choosing a program that focuses on individual needs and has comprehensive care for substance abuse and mental health is critical. Thankfully, we offer a program that treats underlying issues that lead to substance abuse. We also offer all types of medication management and anti-craving medications to be used in conjunction with treatment.
We are a comprehensive, individualized treatment program. The Recovery Team has been in operation for decades, and has the experience to treat a multitude of addiction disorders. We are uniquely qualified to treat both mental health and substance abuse.
We offer a full continuum of care, meaning we have intensive inpatient programs, outpatient programs, and everything in between. We create individualized treatment plans that fit the needs of each one of our patients.
For more information, call us today at (800) 817-1247
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