Drug and Alcohol - Medication-Assisted Treatment

How Drug Replacement Programs Work

Drug replacement therapy is an effective, evidence-based way of treating drug addiction. Learn more by calling The Forge Recovery Center today!

How Drug Replacement Programs Work

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

May 11, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Individuals who have past experiences struggling with substance use sometimes need additional help to eliminate toxins from their bodies. In addition, the withdrawal symptoms individuals face when the toxins leave can be quite painful and are often a considerable concern for those looking for treatment at an addiction center.

Drug replacement therapy is a practical choice in recovery treatment to eliminate the pain and provide a physically healthier alternative. Therefore, it is important to know how drug replacement programs work.

The Details Behind Drug Replacement Therapy

Drug replacement therapy programs work by using one medication to counteract another substance. For example, when individuals use opioid substances, the receptors in their brains bind together to give the individuals the sense of a "high." 

When those receptors are blocked using an alternative medication, euphoria is no longer experienced by the individual. Withdrawal symptoms effectively stop, causing physical cravings and discomfort to subside.

Essentially, the drugs used to replace the substances bind to the same receptors in the brain. Drug replacement therapy is for individuals who have extreme difficulty not using drugs. These medicines thus aid in ridding heroin or another opioid drugs from the body.

The replacement medication gives an individual the ability to taper off the substance, lessening cravings and obsession. A fantastic benefit of drug replacement is when an individual uses the medication and attempts to recapture their previous euphoric sensation, or "high," as the medicine will block substances. This block results in the individual not achieving their desired level of euphoria.

Types of Medications and Qualifications Found in Drug Replacement Therapy

The research into drug replacement therapy has resulted in the endorsement of medications such as Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Suboxone to decrease withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. The active ingredients inside these medications are opioid agonists.

The medication can be administered monthly, weekly, or daily, with a qualified professional only. Individuals who choose to partake in drug replacement therapy have to undergo a clinical assessment and qualify. Some of the assessments include urinalysis screenings, and patients may be required to attend group therapy or individual therapy sessions as they continue using the medication.

The benefits of drug replacement therapy are undeniable. It has proven to keep individuals from using illegal drugs with a monitored prescription dose of an opioid agonists medication. Additionally, the drug replacement therapy program can help individuals function in a regular day-to-day routine while working or attending school.

Finally, drug replacement therapy decreases overdose risks because the medication is closely monitored and controlled. It can help with diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, commonly spread through sharing needles. While there are many benefits with drug replacement therapy, there may be some downsides if the medication is misused. For example, if the medication withdrawal symptoms last longer than their previous substance, the amount of time spent detoxing may become a challenge for some.

Some side effects found in the drug replacement therapy medication can include anxiety, depression, drowsiness, and fatigue. If the medicine is used correctly in a safely controlled environment, individuals find more benefits to the therapy than the uncomfortable and painful alternative of withdrawal.

Why Consider a Drug Replacement Program?

If an individual struggles with substance use disorder and finds it challenging to deal with withdrawal symptoms in a detox environment, they may consider a drug replacement program.

Drug replacement programs are fantastic to help ease an individual out of the withdrawal phase and into a stage where they can taper off the medication at their own pace. Additionally, the drug replacement program will help them decrease risks of relapse and install healthy new habits while their medication is closely monitored and controlled. If a person does not want to face the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and wishes to be free of the toxins, drug replacement programs might be a good option.

Addiction recovery centers effectively reduce the overall use of substances when an individual chooses a drug replacement program option. Furthermore, the program is designed to help boost overall physical and mental health, address substance use, and significantly increase the chance of long-term recovery.

If a person wants a cost-effective strategy to reduce substance use and withdrawal symptoms, talking to a professional about drug replacement programs is an excellent idea.

Drug Replacement Programs Help People Stay Sober

At The Forge Recovery Center, we have found that many individuals who participated in drug replacement programs have significantly improved their recovery journey in the short and long term. Drug replacement programs are an accessible and feasible strategy to eliminate substance use habits while installing fresh, healthy ones. We believe in providing treatment guidance for those who struggle with substance use.

If you want to know more about drug replacement programs and how they work, our professionals are here to talk about how they can meet your needs or the needs of your loved one. We have professionals on standby waiting to speak with you and help guide you on the right path that will forever change your life and create new hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

Please reach out to us today.

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