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Treatment for Opioid Addiction and Overdose
Treatment for Opioid Addiction and Overdose147
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MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Opioids are drugs that are prescribed to treat moderately severe, or severe pain. Heroin, an illegal drug, is also an opioid. Opioid addiction is a brain disease where you have an overwhelming craving for the drug. You can’t stop taking the drug, despite the harm it may cause you. An important treatment for opioid addiction is called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. MAT is a whole-patient approach that combines medication to help you stop using opioids, with counseling and behavioral therapy. Three common medications used to treat opioid addiction are Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone. In the brain, each drug attaches to the same receptors on cells as the addictive opioids. Methadone activates the receptors, but it’s a slower acting drug than other opioids, because it takes longer to reach the brain when used as prescribed. This reduces the high feeling and prevents withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine is a weaker drug than addictive opioids, because it doesn’t activate the receptors as strongly. It also blocks other opioids from attaching to the receptors. As a result, it reducing cravings for addictive opioids without making you feel high. Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors by attaching to them, so addictive opioids can’t. This prevents other opioids that get you high, from working. It does reduce cravings, but does not stop withdrawal symptoms. Drug treatment is more effective when combined with behavioral therapy. Therapy can help you handle stress and life events that can trigger cravings for opioids. Opioid overdose is a condition where taking too much of a drug may cause life-threatening conditions.Call 911 immediately if you think an overdose has happened. Start CPR if the person isn’t breathing. The main treatment for an overdose is naloxone. It’s an injectable drug or nasal spray that quickly blocks the effects of opioids. You can help prevent opioid addiction and overdose, by taking non-opioid medication for pain when possible, taking opioids as prescribed by your healthcare provider, and doing physical therapy or exercising as recommended by your healthcare provider to help manage your pain. For more information about treating opioid addiction and overdose talk to your healthcare provider.
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