Prescription Drug Addiction
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How is Prescription Drug Addiction Treated?
Treatment approaches for prescription drug addiction can include both medication-based treatments and behavioral therapies. These approaches are often used in combination, and treatment programs are most effective when they’ve tailored them to best suit the individual patient.
- Detoxification. In many cases, the addicted patient must be carefully eased away from the use of the prescription drug in order to minimize the harmful effects of withdrawal symptoms. For opioid addiction, medications such as buprenorphine can reduce symptoms by binding to the body’s opioid receptors the same way that opioids do.
- Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors and stops opioids from having an effect on the user. Naltrexone is often used in combination with buprenorphine. Lofexidine and clonidine may also be used to relieve withdrawal symptoms. In the case of anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants, and sedatives, a program of tapered doses may be used to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
- Addiction Counseling. This type of talk therapy helps drug users to recognize the triggers that prompt their drug use. Counseling also focuses on developing strategies and techniques for dealing with those triggers when they occur. Counseling programs can be effective at preventing relapses once the patient has begun to abstain from drug use.
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