Once known as addiction, substance use disorder (SUD) is a mental health condition in which a person has a pattern of substance use that leads to personal and/or interpersonal distress and impairs their normal life. The name was changed to destigmatize the disorder and allow patients to get the help they need.


SUD exists on a spectrum and generally involves an overpowering desire to use the substance, an increasing tolerance to the substance, and/or withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance. The good news, though, is that the condition is treatable.


Dr. John Lewis and the team at Umbrella HealthCare offer medication management for their patients living with substance use disorder. It not only provides a means of beating SUD, but it also offers a number of benefits that can make the transition easier.


More about SUD


Substance use disorder isn’t curable, but people can recover from it and lead full, productive lives. The key to recovery is getting the help you need. One component is self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, and another is teaming with a mental health provider like Umbrella HealthCare that can provide support and medication management.


SUD is characterized by relapses, and people in recovery have a higher chance of using substances again than the general public. That’s why ongoing treatment is essential, and your provider reviews your treatment plan with you periodically to determine if your needs have changed.


What is medication management?


Medication management is a specialty where a doctor or practice looks at the “big picture” of the medications you’re on, evaluates their effectiveness and any interactions they may have, and recommends changes based on your medical history, diagnosis, and evidence-based data for newer and perhaps more effective drugs. They also coordinate with your other physicians to ensure there are no conflicts in prescribing.


You, as the patient, are also an important part of the team. You have the right to know what you’re being asked to take, why it’s being prescribed, and how it’s likely to affect you. You’re also free to ask any questions you might have about the medication or the treatment plan as a whole, and you should definitely speak up about any adverse effects the medications may have.


For SUD, you may be prescribed medications to help with withdrawal symptoms, antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs to even out your mood, and perhaps medication to address any adverse effects SUD has had on your body.


4 benefits of medication management for addiction


Medication management has four major benefits, regardless of your condition.


1. Mitigates side effects


Whether you’re taking only one drug that produces unwanted side effects or multiple medications that refuse to play nice with one another, your provider knows what to do to prevent or severely limit those side effects. They can accomplish this by changing medications, adjusting dosages, adding complementary medications, or taking other steps. When management is under one roof, this becomes easier to employ.


2. Finds new treatments


New and improved drugs and alternative treatments are constantly entering the pipeline, and your provider has access to the new information. That means they can more easily find a more effective medication for you or one with fewer side effects. And since they have access to all your health information, they’ll know what’s right for you.


3. Manages dosages


Since you see your provider for regular appointments to discuss your treatment, they can ensure you’re taking the proper dose of the medication(s) you’re on and that you’re using those medications according to the way they’re prescribed.


4. Saves money


Medications are expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance. Medical management, though, allows you to reduce the number of medications you take. It’s possible a new or different medication will treat more than one of your issues.


The more medications you take, and the more health problems you have, the more frequently you’ll need medication management. A “big picture” approach can help you kick your SUD while also managing other conditions that arise because of it. Umbrella HealthCare provides you with the tailored approach you need.


To get started, call our Phoenix, Arizona, office at 623-242-1389, or book online with us today.

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