Medications for Addiction

by Balboa Horizons | April 7, 2016

The initial treatment for drug and alcohol addiction traditionally includes medication. The individual symptoms a person is experiencing will determine the type of pharmaceutical and/or supplement prescribed. Here are a few of the most popular types of medications that treat addictions and their co-occurring disorders:


Many who struggle with addiction also battle depression. Antidepressants are the most traditional form of treatment for people experiencing depression. They help increase the communication between monoamine neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin. Serotonin increases our feelings of wellbeing and happiness. If you struggle predominantly with prolonged periods of depression including sadness, hopelessness, indifference and fatigue you may benefit from an antidepressant.

Mood Stabilizers

Mood stabilizers are used to help people who struggle with both depression and manic states. A manic state is where one feels high levels of energy, talks faster than usual, makes impulsive decisions and operates on very little sleep. This state is traditionally followed by a crash into a period of depression. This sliding from one extreme to the other is often seen in people with bipolar. Those who struggle with bipolar benefit from mood stabilizers which maintain a balance between their cycles of depression and hyperactivity. Those with bipolar traditionally don’t do well on anti-depressants because their brain chemistry usually already has high levels of serotonin. An excess of serotonin through taking anti-depressants has shown to trigger manic states. If anti-depressants are taken they should be accompanied by a mood stabilizer.


Antypsychotics are used to manage psychosis; including delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. Psychosis is traditionally seen in people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder 1. These medications have a sedative effect that can be a great help to someone who is battling the uncomfortable experiences of psychosis. Antipsychotics are highly relaxing and sedative and not wise for someone experiencing a lot of depressive symptoms. 

Drug Addiction Medications

There are also medications that are specifically targeted at helping one detox from drugs and alcohol. Some operate by curbing drug cravings. While others work by creating an allergy to alcohol and drugs. 

Vitamins & Supplements

Vitamins and supplements are noted for having significant effects on overall health and well-being. Some used to treat mental illnesses are 5HTP for depression, Vitamin B for mood and litihium orotate for bipolar 1 and 2. 


Before visiting a psychiatrist for a prescription do your own research. Explore the different types of medication for addiction and/or your mental illness. Make a list of your symptoms, medications you have tried and the ones that have and haven’t worked. The more aware and informed you are the wiser a decision you can make on what will work best for your body.

To learn more about the addiction treatment at Balboa Horizons

please call, (866) 316-4012.