Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction
Dual Diagnosis
Life in Recovery After Addiction
Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatments

by Harold C. Urschel III, MD, Addiction Psychiatrist, MMA and Enterhealth Chief Medical Strategist
In early recovery, many people are faced with temptation, cravings and withdrawal symptoms that make them want to drink or do drugs again.
That’s why at Enterhealth, we provide each patient with a comprehensive, personalized recovery plan that combines behavioral therapy with anti-addiction medications which have been clinically proven to help patients overcome their addiction. Known as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), this strategy is a vital component of a science-based holistic approach. Medication-Assisted Treatment has been proven to help individuals normalize their brain neurochemistry, modify their urges to use and encourage more positive lifestyle transitions to enhance long-term success.
In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), use of certain FDA-approved medications in combination with a comprehensive set of evidence-based therapies can increase the effectiveness of addiction treatment. Additionally, these medications may help recovering users stay in treatment longer, extending periods of sobriety and improving their chances for a successful recovery.
MAT Allows Patients to Focus on Recovery
There are many reasons to prescribe non-addicting medications during treatment, and the amounts and types will change over the course of a patient’s recovery. Initially, patients at Enterhealth who are undergoing Medical Withdrawal Stabilization, also known as detox, will receive specific medications to help alleviate a number of common issues associated with drug or alcohol withdrawal. These medications are used to normalize a patient’s brain and body chemistry without the negative effects that accompany the abused substance. Withdrawal-stabilization medications reduce physiological cravings and make patients more comfortable by reducing anxiety and increasing sleep while preventing certain dangerous medical episodes such as seizures or DT’s. Usually, the withdrawal-stabilization medications are used for between 7-14 days and are safely tapered off at the end of that time.
Once withdrawal stabilization is complete, some patients may be prescribed additional anti-addiction medications (e.g., Vivitrol, naltrexone, Antabuse, Gabapentin, Suboxone, Campral) to further alleviate cravings, rebalance neurochemistry and make it easier for the patient to immerse themselves in their addiction treatment programming, thereby increasing their chances for a successful recovery.
Accommodating Dual-Diagnosis Disorders
Many patients suffering from substance use disorders also suffer from underlying psychiatric issues which need to be addressed in addition to his or her addiction. We call this dual-diagnosis treatment, and along with any necessary non-addictive psychiatric medications to help control anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or other brain-based illnesses, our group and individual behavioral therapy programs are targeted to help treat these kinds of disorders concurrently.
Common psychological issues seen in concert with alcohol and drug addiction include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, various psychoses, and typical physical brain diseases such as seizure disorders or stroke.
These issues may be the cause of a patient’s addiction, such as a person using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain from an old injury or calm their mind when feeling stressed. The psychiatric disorders may also be the result of the addiction itself, as is often the case with psychosis, anxiety, insomnia or cognitive problems due to brain injury from the neurotoxic properties of the substances themselves. Sometimes the addiction simply worsens a preexisting psychiatric condition, which is common in cases of people who are bipolar or depressed and abusing substances.
As everyone has a unique body chemistry and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the Enterhealth MAT programs are carefully tailored to each person going through treatment. Along with the aforementioned anti-addiction and psychiatric medications, patients are often treated with non-addicting pain relievers or muscle relaxants when chronic pain is present.
While in the care of Enterhealth, all medications are carefully administered under the supervision of our full-time board-certified psychiatrists and monitored throughout the duration of a patient’s recovery.
Medication-Assisted Treatment at Enterhealth
Whether treating someone for addiction alone or for addiction and a co-occurring psychiatric condition such as depression, you must ensure that highly trained physicians and clinicians oversee and manage the medication strategy for each patient.
At Enterhealth Ranch (our inpatient facility just outside Dallas) and Enterhealth Outpatient Center of Excellence (in the Park Cities), all of our clinicians are well-versed in the use of anti-addiction medications and understand the important role they play in a successful recovery.
By taking a holistic approach that combines the latest scientific research innovations to treat drug and alcohol addiction and compassionate, top-quality medical and psychological care, Enterhealth is able to produce outcomes which are much more effective than traditional treatment programs.
Learn more about how Enterhealth is using medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based treatments to achieve the best outcomes for you or your loved one’s sobriety, call 1.800.388.4601 day or night.