According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, “Pharmacological intervention may be necessary during stimulant-induced drug states” as well as throughout one’s withdrawal from amphetamines and addiction treatment. Because there is no medication officially approved to treat amphetamine addiction in the way there is for the treatment of opioid- or nicotine-based disorders, many people believe medication is not an option during this time. However, it can be a helpful and integral part of amphetamine addiction treatment.
If a patient is brought into a treatment center or hospital while intoxicated by amphetamines, it is important for the individual to be protected from doing harm to themselves or others and cared for during this extremely volatile time. Medical professionals may use neuroleptics if the individual is experiencing severe psychosis or delirium. These medications can treat psychosis and help calm the individual. In some instances, benzodiazepines or other sedatives may be used, as all of these medications are preferable to the use of restraints.
Because many individuals brought in for treatment during high levels of stimulant intoxication experience psychosis, these medications are not withheld and are usually given to create a safer experience for the individual and those around them. Although the medication is not treating the addiction itself, it makes it much easier for the individual to receive the help they need through effective care and for everyone involved in their treatment to be safe.
Anti-craving agents are sometimes given to patients during the early stages of withdrawal. This is to minimize the intensity of the cravings, which during this time, can be extremely severe. Though these drugs are not normally used in late stage withdrawal, they can be very helpful to certain patients early on in recovery.
Antidepressants may also be given during withdrawal in order to minimize the severity of a person’s depressive symptoms associated with their amphetamine abuse. Amphetamines can cause some of the most intensive depression of any drug of abuse, and antidepressants should never be withheld from withdrawing amphetamine addicts because of this reason.
A person may be able to continue with their antidepressant medication if it is still helpful to them. This can also help the individual focus more readily on their behavioral therapy, which is usually the most important and intensive part of amphetamine addiction rehab. However, there is no medication that is specifically approved to treat amphetamine abuse––or any stimulant abuse for that matter. While there is there is no official medication used to treat the addiction itself, though, many medications can make the entire process smoother, safer, and more effective.
For some, certain medications can be very helpful throughout treatment. Just because they aren’t official pharmacological options for the treatment of the substance addiction do not mean they won’t make recovery itself easier or the individual more stable. With medication and, of course, behavioral therapy, you can begin to recover from amphetamine addiction and live the life you want again.