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Medication-Assisted Treatment In Nashville, TN

While undergoing a detox program for drug addiction, it may be surprising and even concerning to learn that a new drug regime is part of the plan. This approach is called medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Medications used during MAT help reduce withdrawal symptoms for heroin, cocaine, morphine, and alcohol. This approach makes detox quicker, easier, and safer by preventing potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Learn more about MAT for addiction today!

What is Withdrawal?

When someone abuses drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, their brain gets used to having these substances in their system. Addiction is a brain disease that causes the brain to crave drugs or alcohol in order to make a person feel normal. The brain forgets how to function without substances in the system, and if a person stops taking them, the body goes into withdrawal. 

Unpleasant and difficult side effects often occur during the withdrawal process, including physical, emotional, and psychological ones. The length and severity of withdrawal symptoms vary, depending on the substances used, how long they were used, and in what amount. 

MAT is primarily used to treat heroin and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Usage of MAT for these addictions helps users navigate the detox process with fewer occurrences of withdrawal symptoms. This makes them more likely to complete the detox process and sustain a longer recovery from their substance use disorders.

Heroin Detox Symptoms

Heroin detox is considered one of the most challenging because of how unpleasant the symptoms can be. Those who try to stop using heroin cold turkey often relapse because they can’t deal with the withdrawal symptoms. 

Returning to heroin usage can lead to an overdose once the person’s tolerance level has decreased. 

Withdrawal symptoms common during heroin detox include: 

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Muscle Aches
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Runny Nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps

Heroin Detox Medications

Heroin detox medications work to help relieve the symptoms of withdrawal. A person who experiences reduced withdrawal symptoms is more likely to complete detox. There are currently four different heroin detox medications used in rehab facilities today. These include:

  1. Methadone

Methadone is a type of slow-release opioid that is popular as a heroin detox medication. This medication does not cause a person to get high but instead tricks the brain into thinking they have used heroin. This effect prevents withdrawal symptoms from happening and eliminates cravings for heroin. 

People who use methadone as a heroin detox medication must take it regularly and then be slowly weaned off it under a doctor’s care. Depending on how long they have abused heroin, it can take several years to complete this process. The person can lead an everyday, sober life while taking methadone, regardless of how long they need to use it. 

  1. Buprenorphine

Like methadone, buprenorphine is an opioid that is not as potent. It produces low to moderate feelings of euphoria, which tricks the brain into thinking it has used heroin. This effect helps prevent withdrawal symptoms and can be used as a long-term solution to help prevent relapse. People who take buprenorphine as a heroin detox medication will eventually need medical supervision to taper off the usage of the drug. 

  1. Clonidine

Clonidine does not help reduce heroin cravings but relieves withdrawal symptoms, making detox easier. Withdrawal symptoms it helps with include anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and stomach cramps. Ultimately, clonidine can help reduce a person’s time in detox.

  1. Naltrexone

Another option for heroin detox medications is naltrexone. This medication reduces heroin cravings by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain. Therefore, if a person does use heroin again, naltrexone blocks the ability for them to get high. They will experience withdrawal symptoms for a short period, which can help keep them from using heroin again. Naltrexone does not carry a risk of dependency and is best suited for people who have not been to heroin detox before.

Alcohol Detox Symptoms

Alcohol detox can affect a person’s physical and mental health. Many people experience severe mood issues and can even have psychotic episodes during this time. 

The most common alcohol detox symptoms are:

  • Panic attacks
  • Migraines
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Delirium Tremens (DTs)
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe Insomnia or Nightmares
  • Depression or Thoughts of Suicide
  • Psychosis

Alcohol Detox Medications

Medical-assisted detox for alcohol addiction works by reducing withdrawal symptoms. People with severe alcohol addictions often find that deciding whether to take alcohol detox medications can be a matter of life and death. The reason is that they risk experiencing serious medical symptoms during detox, like seizures and delirium tremens, which MAT can help avoid. 

The options for alcohol detox medications include:


Also known as benzos, this is the most commonly used alcohol detox medication. It helps people relax and eases anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related side effects of alcohol withdrawal. It is also effective at preventing seizures.


Naltrexone does not reduce withdrawal symptoms or cravings for alcohol, but it does work to prevent a person from feeling intoxicated if they drink alcohol again. Drinking will also cause them to experience several adverse side effects that make drinking unpleasant. This drug also helps people in recovery to stay sober.


Clonidine relieves withdrawal symptoms related to alcohol detox. These symptoms include muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, stomach cramps, anxiety, and agitation.

A physician explaining medication assisted treatment options to a client.

Begin Medication-Assisted Treatment in Nashville, TN

Are you ready to escape addiction once and for all? Consider medication-assisted treatment for addiction. Here at Detox Nashville, we have many tools, including medication-assisted treatment, to help you detox safely with fewer withdrawal symptoms. The comfort and safety of MAT, especially during the fragile withdrawal period, is second to none. Using MAT for addiction gives you a much better chance of staying sober and experiencing less discomfort as you progress through detox and the next treatment steps. We accept Cigna and BCBS insurance to help cover costs.

Contact Detox Nashville today! Our admissions coordinators will be happy to answer any questions you have. 

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