Today, a large number of Americans are addicted to heroin and painkillers. And fortunately, for them, when they go through drug detox, there are medications available that assist in the drug withdrawal treatment process.
When physicians work with those addicted to heroin or painkillers, they can prescribe methadone, naltrexone, and suboxone to treat opiate addiction.
These federally approved treatment drugs help reduce the side effects of withdrawal and curb cravings which can lead to relapse.
However, for those who are addicted to cocaine and methamphetamine, there aren’t medications that can serve as antagonists. An antagonist is defined as a substance that interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of another.
In other words, in drug detox a medication can be prescribed that can inhibit the effects of withdrawal. For many years, cocaine and methamphetamine addicts have been prescribed benzodiazepine tranquilizers to help minimize the discomfort of drug detox. But tranquilizers are also addictive and in many cases, addicts are simply ending one addiction to begin another.
Tranquilizers are still frequently used in cocaine and methamphetamine detox, but only because there are not better options available.
Of course, cocaine detox and other forms of drug detox can be done by simply stopping use of the drugs – stopping the addiction cold turkey. However, this can be incredibly uncomfortable.
There have been many attempts at finding an antagonist that can aide in cocaine and methamphetamine detox, and research is still underway. However, there is a problem that continues to arise in the development of withdrawal medication.
Cocaine produces a high by building the neurotransmitter dopamine and spreading it throughout the brain. Yet, medication that blocks dopamine entirely will have a harmful effect on the body. In fact, some cocaine and methamphetamine users have such a high that they can experience psychosis.
Attempting to stop the dopamine levels quickly for these patients can be dangerous if not done right.
Drug withdrawal treatment for cocaine can include cravings, mood changes, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and an increased appetite. One’s mood might move through feeling depressed, anxious, and irritable.
In a way, the challenging moods experienced during cocaine detox is a compensation for the euphoria experienced while addicted to the drug. However, the body is attempting to find homeostasis.
Along these lines, the body is trying to recover its sources of energy. As a result, it might feel very tired during drug withdrawal treatment. Furthermore, the drug detox process might interrupt a regular sleep schedule.
Cocaine detox often causes sleep problems, such as vivid and unpleasant dreams, insomnia, or hypersomnia, the experience of sleeping too much. Lastly, those going through cocaine withdrawal often experience a kind of physical slowing down, little energy, or they might experience feeling physically agitated.
Similar drug withdrawal symptoms are present with methamphetamine detox. Meth, as it is often called, is incredibly addictive, like cocaine, because of the release of dopamine, which creates strong feelings of euphoria. However, this experience is followed by a crash that leads to repeated use of the drug and increased doses to feel the level of euphoria experienced with the first use.
Because of the highs and lows of meth, which are so similar to cocaine, withdrawal symptoms can also include low levels of energy while the body learns to balance and restore its natural rhythm.
Obviously, when going through drug detox it’s important that an individual have the support they need because it can be a challenging experience. Certainly, this is the purpose of addiction treatment centers.
They can provide the medical support for the detox itself as well as a healing and safe environment. Although drug detox isn’t easy. With enough support and a safe community, it can happen. Furthermore, drug detox is the first step towards sobriety and recovery, which is entirely possible no matter the strength of the addiction.
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