Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid users have an extremely high rate of addiction and overdose. These drugs are extremely potent, and range from prescription painkillers like Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Percocet to illicit substances like heroin. Many individuals will develop opioid dependencies after being prescribed painkillers by a medical professional. Because the drugs are doctor-prescribed, it can be easy to overlook how dangerous they are. The intentional misuse of opioids is common among teenagers and young adults.

They might find an old, unused prescription in the medicine cabinet, or have some leftover from minor surgery (like the removal of wisdom teeth). Sadly, because prescription painkillers are so addictive, many of those who misuse them – even once, twice, or several times – will develop a physical dependency. Up until recently, painkillers were a lot easier to find. However, due to a recent spike in overdose-related deaths, government officials began a crackdown. Painkillers became much more difficult to obtain, and those who had already developed opioid dependencies switched over to heroin – a more affordable and widely available alternative.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid Addiction and the Brain 

Changes within the brain lead to physical and mental addiction. Those who may lack knowledge about drug addiction might think that using is a matter of choice, or it concerns nothing more than a lack of will-power. The truth is, addiction is a compulsive disorder – the afflicted feels a completely overwhelming urge to obtain and use drugs – addiction is a mental obsession. Once people become dependent on drugs, they completely change.

They become shells of their former selves, and no amount of moral support, rationalism, or ultimatums will convince them to stop using. It simply doesn’t work like that. The brain is rewired, and it cannot stop thinking about the drug of choice. So, how does someone get clean after being addicted to drugs for an extended period of time? First of all, there is a vital, three-part treatment process: medically monitored detox, inpatient treatment (also known as rehab), and aftercare (which always includes sober living).

MAT Programs for Opioid Dependency

Once an addict has been detoxed (and deemed physically stable), he or she will be transferred to an inpatient treatment facility. Here, he or she will undergo intensive group and individual therapy, learn more about addiction and what it entails, and be introduced to a twelve-step program of recovery. There will be a host of medical professionals and addiction specialists on staff, who will determine a highly individualized and personalized treatment plan. If deemed necessary, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) will be provided. What is Medication-Assisted Treatment? Certain medications help reduce cravings and ease symptoms of post-acute withdrawal, making the recovery process a lot easier.

While medication-assisted treatment isn’t a good long-term solution, it can be a great tool for very early sobriety. There are some common misconceptions about MAT. Some people who are heavily involved in 12-step programs are told that medication of any kind can be detrimental to recovery. This isn’t the case. When used as prescribed by an addiction specialist, MAT is beneficial and completely safe.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opiate Abuse

We at Recreate Life Counseling offer medication-assisted treatment to those we believe it can benefit. Of course, we don’t prescribe medication to everyone who walks in our doors – addiction is a highly individualized disease, and recovery is just as personal. Some of the medications we utilize include suboxone and naltrexone – we monitor use carefully and check in regularly to make sure the medication is still working the way it’s intended.

We have carefully reviewed our MAT Program and made an informed decision to incorporate medications (in some instances) while utilizing the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s (HBFF) COR-12 program foundation. Consistent with scientific evidence, we offer MAT services to patients with opioid dependencies who meet Comprehensive Opioid Response with the Twelve Steps (COR-12™) program requirements. To learn more about our comprehensive program of recovery, please feel free to contact us today – we’re happy to describe our MAT program in detail.