AGONIST THERAPY 4
Agonist therapies have been used for many years in the treatment ofsubstance abuse. This is a form of therapy where addicts are givenagonist drugs which activate the same receptors in the brain whichare activated by the drug. In other words, the agonist therapy usesdrugs that act as if the patient was taking the agonist substance(Walters & Rotgers, 2014). Agonist therapies are used to reducethe pain that is associated with the withdrawal from using thesubstance. The agonist therapy also helps patients to reduce thecraving that is associated with the substance abuse they aresuffering from. It is worth noting in most case, the agonist drugprescribed by the therapist does not have full effects like thesubstance the patient has been abusing (Walters & Rotgers, 2014).However, the agonist drug prescribed will have similar effects to thesubstance. Proponents of the agonist therapy state that the patientis relieved of the craving and the withdrawal pains hence can easilyconcentrate on the treatment therapy.
Use of methadone to treat heroin addiction
Methadone has been used for the treatment of heroin abuse. However,there is need to identify the various advantages and disadvantages ofusing this drug. There have been recorded successes in the use ofmethadone in treating heroin addiction (Walters & Rotgers, 2014).This is a drug that is taken orally and activates the opioidreceptors in the brain hence creating the same effect that the heroincreates. Methadone has helped patients to reduce the withdrawal painsand also to reduce the craving for heroin. It is worth noting thatmethadone is issued and administered in a controlled manner andtherefore is safe for the treatment of opioid addiction. Methadonecreates a gradual effect in the brain since it is taken orally(Walters & Rotgers, 2014). On the contrary, heroin is normally,smoked, injected snorted and this creates a rush in the brain hencecreating an immediate euphoria in the brain that ends very quicklycreating a craving for more heroin. The gradual process of brainactivation that is brought about by methadone can hardly create acraving for the drug. However, there some people who argue thatmethadone is yet another addictive drug and the patient will dependon it for many years. Methadone may create physiological dependenceamongst the patients. It is essential to note that the patients mayeventually have a problem of withdrawing from methadone (Walters &Rotgers, 2014).
Whereas this may not be the best approach to use to treat heroinaddiction, it is clear that it is one of the methods that work well.Lack of alternative effective methods makes the use of this opioiddrug efficient. It is, however, recommended that the drug should beused alongside counseling sessions which will ensure that thepatients do not revert back to the use of the heroin. The drugs mustbe availed to the patients at a time when they only need them.Considering that detoxification has yielded little results inalleviating drug abuse, it is clear that opioid drugs such asmethadone can be used to treat other forms of substance abuse(Walters & Rotgers, 2014). One point to note though is the factthat the drug can itself become addictive and patients may becomephysiologically dependent on the drug. It is, therefore essential toavail the drug to the patients in a controlled manner. Agonisttherapy or the use of drugs such methadone should be used alongsidecounseling sessions (Walters & Rotgers, 2014). This is a methodthat has been considered as effective in reducing substance abuse,improving patients’ health and reducing effects of drug abuse.
Walters, S. T., & Rotgers, F. (2014). Treating substanceabuse: Theory and technique. New York: Guilford Press.