Various medications can be prescribed as part of an addiction recovery plan. Some medications are used to replace an addictive substance in order to lessen cravings, while others are used to manage withdrawal symptoms.
Medications are not a magic bullet, but can help stabilize your life so that you can focus on other areas while receiving counselling or other support.
For some people who are addicted to opioids (e.g., heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone), medications such as methadone or buprenorphine can be used. Methadone and buprenorphine decrease the craving for opioids. They also help to minimize withdrawal symptoms because they are eliminated more slowly from the body than other opioids. Other medications such as clonidine may also be used to help with symptoms of opioid withdrawal such as chills and flushing.
In the initial withdrawal phase, most people need supportive treatment and do not need medication. For severe withdrawal, some people may receive benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam) or phenobarbital.
Once you are alcohol free, medications used to treat alcohol dependence include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. Naltrexone decreases the craving for alcohol and blocks the pleasurable effects of drinking. Acamprosate reduces the symptoms of withdrawal. Disulfiram is a medication that serves as a deterrent to drinking alcohol. If you drink alcohol while taking disulfiram, it causes flushing, severe nausea or vomiting, and headaches.
Medications are not for everyone, so talk to your doctor about what might work best for you.
Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.