Medication Assisted Treatment
Making Withdrawal Comfortable

How can medication assisted treatment help you get started in recovery?

At CuraSouth, we understand how agonizing withdrawal can be. We know the cycle: You desperately want to quit using or drinking. You try with every ounce of your willpower to not use or drink. But then, about six to 12 hours after your last drink or drug, things start to get uncomfortable. You experience anxiety, depression or overwhelming cravings. Your body starts to cry out for your substance of choice. You may start to experience tremors or hot flashes or body aches or nausea. Suddenly, in spite of all the determination you had to quit only hours earlier, you can’t bear the pain. Your body drives you back to the drink or the drug as if its been hijacked by some force stronger than you. You drink and use again even when you don’t want to. This is the powerlessness we experience in addiction. And this cycle is repeated over and over and over again until our self esteem is crushed and our sense of hope obliterated. Why can’t we just stop? 

Or, you might be the friend or family member of an addict or alcoholic witnessing this cycle and asking the same question: Why can’t my loved one just say no? Just quit? The first answer is withdrawal. Withdrawal is the initial barrier standing in the way of an individual’s sobriety. If a person can get through the withdrawal process, then, and only then, can they address all the roots of their addictions. Entering into a medically-assisted detox program is the vital first step toward recovery. At CuraSouth we help ease the pain of withdrawal by offering individuals medication assisted treatment (MAT) in a comfortable, homestyle setting with expert medical and clinical staff.

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What is Medication Assisted Treatment?

Medication Assisted Treatment — “MAT” for short — is simply the method of using medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. If a person abusing drugs or alcohol can be assured that they can go through the withdrawal process with little-to-no discomfort or pain, the likelihood of that person agreeing to get sober vastly increases. 

At CuraSouth we use a variety of medications to assist our clients with the withdrawal process. Which medications we use depends on what substances were being used, for how long and if there are any other underlying illnesses or mental health diagnoses.

In general, we use the following medications:

For Opioid Dependence — For opioid dependencies — which includes prescription opioids (such as OxyContin, Oxycodone and Percocet, among others) and illicit opiates (such as heroin) — CuraSouth utilizes Suboxone and/or Subutex. Both Suboxone and Subutex contain the active ingredient buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist, which means that it satisfies the brain’s craving for an opioid and allows a person to avoid severe opioid withdrawal symptoms, but does not produce a high. Suboxone is beuprenorphine combined with naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means that it blocks the effects of opioids at the receptor sites, making it difficult to abuse while still curbing withdrawal. Both Suboxone and Subutex have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). CuraSouth clients are slowly weaned off of the medication over the course of several days, which makes the withdrawal process relatively painless. Non-narcotic pain relievers, sleep medications, anti-anxiety medications and holistic treatment methods may also be employed to ease any residual  side effects.

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For Alcohol Dependence – Alcohol withdrawal is one of the only types of withdrawal (in addition to benzodiazepine withdrawal) that can be life-threatening. This is because the central nervous system goes into shock when alcohol use is suddenly stopped. Alcohol withdrawal can produce tremors, hallucinations (both auditory and visual) and grand Mal seizures. At CuraSouth we treat alcohol withdrawal with a mild benzodiazepine such as Librium. Librium allows us to calm the central nervous system and slowly wean the body off of alcohol. For liver compromised patients, we use a medication called Serax, which has the same effect but is milder on the liver.

For Benzodiazepine Dependence – For benzodiazepine dependence CuraSouth uses a taper method. This means we use a mild benzodiazepine such as Librium to slowly ween an individual off benzodiazepines. 

For Stimulant Dependence – While there is no designated medication used to treat symptoms associated with stimulant withdrawal, we combine over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen with non-narcotic sleep aids, anti-anxiety medications, and in some cases antipsychotic medications to make the detox process as comfortable as possible.

For Anxiety  – A common symptom of any kind of withdrawal is anxiety and occasionally panic attacks. At CuraSouth we first utilize a non-addictive option such as Vistaril or Clonodine to ease anxiety. For more acute cases, we occasionally use Ativan. All of these medications are used on a temporary basis to make the withdrawal process easier for our clients.

If you have any questions regarding medication assisted treatment, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.

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What Happens After Detox?

It is important to recognize that detox is only the first step. Medication assisted detox cannot be an individual’s only plan. It is critical that detox is followed by a continuum of care that supports individuals to continue in recovery. 

While in detox, we introduce our clients to the 12 steps, begin individual, group and family therapy, and teach holistic coping mechanisms such as meditation and yoga. Our case managers work hard to help each client craft a detailed plan for continuing their recovery after detox. For most individuals, following detox we encourage a stay at an inpatient residential facility, followed by an intensive outpatient program. For some individuals, it is appropriate to go directly into an outpatient program following detox. However, when it comes to recovery, the more treatment a person can, and is willing, to receive, the better. 

CuraSouth has meaningful relationships with many treatment providers in the Southeastern United States and across the country. CuraSouth is also part of Guardian Recovery Network, which operates clinically sophisticated facilities in multiple states. At CuraSouth, it is our mission to help smooth the transition from physical detox, into active recovery. To learn more about our network of drug and alcohol treatment programs contact us today.

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    The Admissions Process

    If you or your loved one is interested in learning more about our detox programs, contact us. Our admissions team is composed of compassionate, non-judgemental individuals who have all been in recovery, or helped someone they love enter recovery. They understand what you are going through. During our initial phone call we complete a brief pre-assessment geared towards determining what will be the most effective treatment for each individual case. Next we determine which coverage option is most viable. In addition to working closely with most major regional and national health insurance providers, we offer self-pay and private pay options. If you’d like to check our coverage options before calling, we offer a free, no obligation insurance benefit check. Finally we set a date and a time for intake and help arrange plans for reliable transportation to one of our centers. We understand how devastating addiction can be, and our main priority is making the admissions process as straightforward and uncomplicated as possible. To begin your own personal recovery journey — or to help someone you love — contact us today.