The best approach to addiction recovery is a comprehensive drug treatment program combating the legacy of addiction on the body, mind and spirit. For optimal impact, programming and therapies should offer addicts a number of tools and strategies to recovery; and as what works best for one doesn’t offer meaningful assistance to another, by using a wide net of therapeutic interventions, the greatest likelihood of resonant and effective intervention is achieved.
But although therapeutic interventions have proven very effective and psychosocial programming offers self awareness and cognitive control, some people suffering through psychiatric conditions concurrently with withdrawal and recovery need pharmacological interventions to participate fully throughout rehab. With pharmacological psychiatric symptoms control, recovering addicts are better able to retain the lessons of rehab and integrate these lessons into everyday life once returned to the community.
Stabilizing psychiatric symptoms
Mental health patients may use drugs or alcohol to self medicate mental symptoms, but invariably the use of illicit drugs or alcohol exacerbates the underlying condition, and usually results in a declining spiral of increasing drug or alcohol use in response to worsening mental health symptoms.
Mental health patients abusing drugs or alcohol may not take medications as directed, and even if they do maintain pharmaceutical compliance, the concurrent use of drugs or alcohol can render prescribed medications less effective.
Pharmacological intervention for dual disorder patients is crucial for optimal symptoms minimization and the best probability of relapse avoidance. The use of anti depressants in drug treatment can stabilize psychiatric symptoms and allow for a better participation in drug treatments and a lessened craving back to use and abuse.
Overcoming barriers to recovery with anti-depressants
Dysphoria and depression are significant features of the long term withdrawal and recovery from stimulant drugs such as crystal meth or cocaine, and to a lesser extent heroin and other opiates. This lasting dysphoria, although ultimately transient, presents a barrier to recovery; and unable to take any pleasure in sober life, withdrawal sufferers are increasingly drawn back to abuse, and through abuse an alleviation of the dysphoric and depressive symptoms of the withdrawal.
The use of anti depressant medications during drug treatment withdrawal, which may last for months or even years depending on the drug of abuse, can alleviate some of these experienced psychiatric deficits, and allow recovering addicts to participate better in the therapeutic process of recovery, and reduce some degree of the cravings and compulsions back to abuse.
Complimentary to therapy
Although some recovery philosophies do not allow for the use of any medications, including anti depressants in drug treatment, the clinical evidence is overwhelmingly clear that appropriate use of anti depressants in drug treatment is both a very humane and effective addition to a sobriety program.
There are a wide range of anti depressants available for use in drug treatment, and some have abuse potential. Addictions professionals need to prescribe medications cognizant of the interaction effects of withdrawal and specific to the mental difficulties as they present.
Pharmacological intervention and the use of anti depressants in drug treatment is a complimentary addition to the psychosocial therapies of rehab, and when both are offered appropriately, the depressive symptoms of recovery can be bettered, and the integration of the lessons of rehab improved.
Alteration of mental neuro chemistry can contribute to symptoms of mental disorders
Some people entering rehab without a prior diagnosis of depression or other psychiatric symptoms, may in fact be suffering from a significant depressive episode.
Most of these undiagnosed depression sufferers will find that their mental health symptoms will gradually but steadily dissipate with the days and weeks of increasing sobriety. Drugs such as alcohol and psycho stimulants have a powerful impact on dopaminergic and reward and pleasure centers in the brain, and the continuing alteration of mental neuro chemistry can contribute to symptoms of mental disorders. If the damage of abuse is large enough, these depressive symptoms may linger even with sobriety, and these patients will require intervention and the appropriate prescription of symptoms easing anti depressant medications during drug treatment.
Addictions health professionals will be monitoring the mental outlook of all patients passing through a residential drug treatment facility, and those who do not exhibit an improvement in depressive symptoms with increasing sobriety will be referred to a psychiatrist for diagnosis, and if needed pharmacological intervention.
Page last updated 23/05/2014