Substance Abuse

An explanation of the factors that indicate the appropriateness of the medication in potentially treating the client’s substance abuse

Factors that indicate the appropriateness of medications uses in treating substance abuse include management of withdrawal symptoms, prevention of relapse to compulsion substance use and treatment retention and harm reduction. Appropriate medication should help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms to help the client feel more comfortable after ceasing substance use without relapsing (Volkow, Frieden, Hyde, & Cha, 2014). The medication should also help the client to remain in treatment and withstand the urge to use the illicit substance to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

An explanation of the expected side effects of the medication and the mental health professional’s role in monitoring these side effects

Medications used in the treatment of substance abuse have side effects. Medications such as buprenorphine and methadone have the potential for overdose or to be misused. Medications such as methadone are themselves opioids with ability to produce euphorbia if its use is not monitored. Therefore, monitoring by trained mental health professionals is important to decide whether certain medication is required as part of treatment and how it is provided in the context of other services (Lichtblau, 2011). The health professional should also decide under what conditions it should be terminated (Lichtblau, 2011). Monitoring also offers an early indication of side effects, signaling the need to adjust the medication or replace with another one.

A justification of the medication to advocate for its use to encourage the client to continue with treatment

Medications such as buprenorphine and methadone are evidence-based and effective in reducing withdrawal manifestations and cravings. This enables the client to function normally, participate in other kinds of treatment to help him become free of his substance use. These medications are also more effective in the context of psychosocial treatment (Lichtblau, 2011). They have fewer side effects and thus less reinforcing. However, the client must use them for a longer duration to achieve desired results.


Lichtblau, L. (2011). Psychopharmacology demystified. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning.

Volkow, N. D., Fr ieden, T. R., Hyde, P. S., & Cha, S. S. (2014). Medication-assisted therapies—tackling the opioid-overdose epidemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(22), 2063-2066.

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