Drug Addiction Treatment
pills represent safe opioid agonist medications
By BrightView
Author Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS
Avatar photo
Dan Bielecki, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Dan is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervision designation (LPCC-S) and a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor... read more

Published: October 13, 2021
Updated: October 6, 2021

Withdrawing from opioids can result in a variety of uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms. Many people find it difficult to get through the entire withdrawal period before relapsing and taking the drug again to relieve the discomfort. This is why beginning recovery on your own at home is not usually recommended. Getting professional help from a methadone treatment program can greatly increase your chances of getting through withdrawal and achieving lasting recovery.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with opioid use disorder, BrightView is here to help. Our methadone treatment program keeps you feeling more comfortable throughout withdrawal as you heal from the underlying causes of substance use disorders with our range of behavioral therapies and psychotherapies. Call us today at 888.501.9865 to learn how we can support your safe, healthy recovery with opioid agonist medications.

What Are Opioid Agonists?

Opioid agonists mimic the effects of opioid drugs by binding to the same brain receptors responsible for pleasure and pain. These drugs do not produce the euphoric high one would get from prescription or illicit opioids. Still, they do stave off withdrawal symptoms, making them the perfect complement to any opioid addiction treatment program. Some of the opioid agonist medications used for addiction treatment are:

  • Methadone – This is a synthetic opioid agonist that helps alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal and cravings by binding to the same receptors as opioid drugs, although at a slower rate. A health care provider must administer methadone at an opioid addiction treatment center. Over time, you may be given doses of methadone to take home, so you do not need to visit the center as often.
  • Buprenorphine – This is a partial opioid agonist that activates the same brain receptors as an opioid agonist and opioid drugs; however, it is less potent. You do not necessarily have to enroll in an opioid addiction treatment program to receive buprenorphine since your primary care physician may be able to prescribe it for you.
  • Kadian – This is slow-release oral morphine that provides long-lasting relief from withdrawal symptoms. It is a potent opioid agonist and may be used when methadone and buprenorphine have not been effective. It is usually not the first choice for opioid addiction treatment since it is potent and has a higher risk for addiction than other opioid agonist medications.

While opioid agonists can make withdrawal symptoms more manageable, they still need to be accompanied by therapy for the most effective treatment. Therapy can help you address triggers, mental health conditions, and other underlying causes of substance use disorders.

How Do Opioid Agonist Medications Help Treat Opioid Addiction?

One of the most challenging aspects of quitting opioids is the withdrawal symptoms, ranging from minor to severe. Some of the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramping
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cravings

Most people who relapse while trying to recover from opioid use disorder do so early on during the withdrawal period. By taking advantage of opioid agonist medications, withdrawal symptoms are relieved, and the risk of relapse goes down. Medication assisted treatment helps minimize or even eliminate the discomfort associated with withdrawal so you can stay focused on your recovery.

BrightView: Supporting Your Recovery With Opioid Agonist Medications

BrightView’s opioid addiction treatment programs make the most of medication assisted treatment (MAT) with opioid agonists to help you through withdrawal. Opioid agonist medications can make your recovery journey smoother, so you can stay motivated and focused on beginning recovery. Our evidence-based opioid addiction treatment programs utilize a comprehensive approach to recovery with a combination of opioid agonist or antagonist medications, support, case management, and various therapies. To heal from opioid use disorder fully and safely, give us a call today at 888.501.9865.