Challenging a person’s use of drugs and alcohol is a difficult task, and the first steps toward a sober lifestyle are often inundated with uncertainties, challenges, and change. Detox and withdrawal symptoms can be prevalent, with anxiety, and depression plaguing the beginning of a person’s journey. This time is incredibly important, and making use of all available resources is crucial for navigating this time in a safe, comfortable manner while retaining sobriety.
The use of medication can provide an additional layer of support on top of the professional care and education provided in dedicated detox and recovery programs. Although, the use of medication in addiction recovery may not be appropriate for everyone. It is important to understand the role medication plays in recovery to determine if medication-assisted treatment is right for each individual.
The Trials of Detox
Detox is a transformative time for those pursuing sobriety, but it is impossible to prepare for every single way in which this change may impact an individual. During detox an individual can expect to do the following:
- Cease their use of addictive substances but also with
- Meet new people,
- Establish a new daily routine
- Develop coping strategies
- Better understand the widespread impact of addiction on their physical health, emotional health, and family
Coupled with these changes is the prevalence of challenging withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms will be unique to each individual depending on factors such as their age, how long they have been engaging with addictive substances, and at what frequency and intensity they would use drugs or alcohol. Withdrawal presents a difficult hurdle in recovery, with some of the more common symptoms of withdrawal including:
- Muscle spasms
- Mood swings
Processing these feelings, along with persistent urges and cravings that populate this first transitionary time, requires professional support. For some, medication can prove to be an invaluable tool to mitigate these symptoms. Discussing a medication-assisted approach with professionals can help each individual understand the potential advantages of medication-assisted treatment and set appropriate expectations for their journey through detox.
The Role of Medication-Assisted Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a treatment approach to help individuals through the most tumultuous parts of substance use recovery. It utilizes medication in conjunction with traditional therapeutic strategies to address all of a person’s symptoms and needs in recovery.
For some, the use of medication is used to help mitigate the difficult symptoms of withdrawal, while others may utilize medication to balance and normalize their brain chemistry that may have been changed as a result of drug or alcohol use. By using medication to address specific symptoms, each individual can create a comprehensive plan to address their personal needs and goals while garnering the support necessary to develop their own best recovery practices.
Setting Expectations for MAT
Medication is used to address specific needs. While it can be incredibly beneficial, medication is in no way a replacement for other therapies or programs, nor is it a comprehensive coping strategy itself for the continued effects of addiction. Practicing mindfulness techniques, grounding strategies, exploring personal hobbies, and overcoming the emotional effects of addiction will take sustained personal effort.
Rather than approaching MAT as a solution to these challenges, it is more accurate to view medication as a catalyst that can address certain symptoms to empower those in recovery to develop their own strategies for their success in detox and recovery. Developing an overreliance on medication to address these symptoms can leave individuals ill-prepared to cope with the stresses of their ongoing sobriety. This can potentially lead to relapse if they are not actively engaged in continued recovery programs or dedicated to their own continued development.
Likewise, medication is not a foregone solution to the challenges of addiction recovery. Medication may be able to help lessen these symptoms or enable other advantages, such as helping an individual get a restful night of sleep. The use of MAT does not mean that an individual will be without challenges at all. There will still be times of stress and hurdles to overcome that medication cannot entirely eliminate. It is important to emotionally prepare to navigate these stresses.
Medication has a number of distinct advantages, but it may not be appropriate for everyone. Discussing with professionals various expectations, symptoms, and goals are all essential in determining if MAT is appropriate, and if so, which medications may be beneficial. Each individual may also react differently to the use of medication. Being prepared to pivot and track a person’s reactions to medication is essential for ensuring they are making the best use of MAT.
Medication-assisted treatment is a great resource for making the most of one’s time and effort through detox and recovery. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we champion the opportunity for you to embrace the truly transformative experiences available throughout your journey. Our trained staff can help you explore medication and how it may benefit you, as well as medications that may be most effective, all while guiding you to embrace new personal coping strategies and therapeutic techniques. We also offer a comfortable atmosphere for you to relax in while beginning your journey into detox. A community of supportive professionals and like-minded peers will work alongside you each step of the way. It is never too late to begin your journey to a healthy, sober future. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call to speak to a caring staff member today at (949) 426-7962.