As a chronic disease, drug addiction is characterized by an uncontrollable and compulsive urge to seek drugs, despite long-lasting and harmful consequences. Addiction primarily effects the parts of the brain that control learning, memory, and motivation—resulting in the need for repeated, long-term care for recovery. The objective of the treatment process is to have an individual stop consuming drugs, continue to stay drug-free, and become a productive member of society.
Here are a few medications commonly used for the treatment of addiction:
Naturally extracted from the West African shrub Iboga, Ibogaine is a powerful psychoactive alkaloid that is used as an alternative medicine to treat opioid dependency. Originally used in healing and medicinal ceremonies by the followers of Bwiti, Ibogaine alleviates withdrawal symptoms and facilitates psychological introspection. Many Ibogaine users report experiencing a dream-like state characterized by visual phenomena, like an instructive replay of events that led them to become an addict. Others admit to having therapeutic shamanic visions that helped them to overcome negative emotions and fears that might drive them into a relapse. Substance abuse centered on alcohol, opiate addiction, nicotine, and methamphetamine can also be addressed at Ibogaine clinics such as Experience Ibogaine treatment centers.
Frequently used to treat anxiety disorders, high blood pressure, migraines, diabetes-associated diarrhoea, and menopausal flushing, Clonidine provides relief from withdrawal symptoms of opioids, smoking and alcohol. As an α2 adrenergic agonist, Clonidine causes hypotension by suppressing sympathetic outflow and reducing peripheral vascular resistance. In simple terms, it stimulates the brain receptors, blocking the transmission of neural messages from the brain to the rest of your body. Some common side effects of Clonidine include constipation, weakness, lethargy, dry mouth, decreased libido and itching. Strict discretion is advised while tapering off Clonidine to prevent rebound hypertension effects from taking place.
Used to treat cocaine dependence and chronic alcoholism, Disulfiram prevents dopamine breakdown and facilitates antiprotozoal activity. Under normal circumstances, the liver converts alcohol to acetaldehyde using the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. The acetaldehyde is then broken down into a harmless acetic acid derivative by the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. Disulfiram blocks acetaldehyde dehydrogenase at the immediate stage, increasing the acetaldehyde percentage in the blood causing hangover-like symptoms. If the person consumes Disulfiram after alcohol intake, they will start experiencing accelerated heart rate, nausea, shortness of breath, vomiting, circulatory collapse, visual disturbance and a throbbing headache. These reactions usually take place within 5-10 minutes of ingestion. The acute sensitivity to alcohol caused by Disulfiram prevents the person from experiencing any pleasant side-effects from alcohol consumption and causes them to develop an aversion to the drink.
Detoxification using Methadone falls under maintenance therapy to help individuals with opioid and heroin dependency. Usually taken orally, Methadone can be prescribed for both short (less than a month) and long-periods (as long as six months) of time. Often used by people who have already relapsed multiple times during their recovery period, Methadone blocks the euphoric feeling associated with opioid usage, suppresses abstinence syndrome and relieves opioid cravings. When used with discretion, it has been reported to be non-sedating and medically safe, facilitating a slow recovery from addiction. Methadone is also popular in the use of neuropathic pain, and can work as an analgesic when used properly.
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