Health centers that specialize in addiction medicine are helping to change and save the lives of thousands of individuals who were hopelessly addicted to opioids. The Surgeon General was quoted as referring to some forms of medication assisted treatment as the gold standard in current addiction recovery treatment.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex, Probuphine, Sublocade), and Naltrexone (Vivitrol), and other prescription medications are utilized by doctors who are specialists in addiction medicine to treat addiction to opioids and other substance use disorders. These medications act on the same targets in the addicted individual’s brains as morphine and heroin.
Buprenorphine suppresses cravings for opioids and withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone is for individuals who have already detoxed, it blocks the effects of opioids in the brain at receptor sites. The goal of all these medications is to help those who have been suffering from opioid addiction to reduce drug seeking, criminal behaviors, and to help them to become more openminded about behavioral health treatments. Medication assisted treatment utilizes a combination of behavioral therapy and certain prescription medications to treat those people who are suffering from opioid substance use disorders. The use of these medications has become a key component of the treatment of opioid use disorders, alcohol use disorders, and tobacco use disorders. Certain prescription medications are also used to combat other types of substance use disorders. Medication Assisted treatment helps to
- Suppress drug cravings in the first stages of recovery.
- Reduces the horrible withdrawal symptoms by utilizing an opioid recovery medication. These specialized prescription medications help to reduce the risks of relapse during the early stages of recovery.
- Provide specially trained professionals who provide individuals with medical supervision which is key in the early stages of recovery from addiction. Professional supervision is essential to addressing behavioral issues, triggers, and reducing the risks of relapse into addiction.
- Provide individuals with a taper of the drug, so that they can have their bodies adjust to not having opioids in their systems.
Medication assisted treatment varies in length of treatment on an individual basis. It not only addresses acute withdrawal, it may also can address chronic relapse issues. In most scenarios, most of the detoxification withdrawal symptoms from opioids are relieved within a few weeks. Then the treating doctor can taper the dose of the prescribed medication. Each individual’s treatment schedule is based on the individual’s life circumstances and the treatment team’s judgement. The overall cost of medication assisted treatment will vary depending on the medication prescribed. Those individuals who are seeking treatment can check with their insurance companies to see if the treatment is covered or if they will have to pay out-of-pocket for services.
Those who are suffering from substance use disorders can make an appointment with the addiction treatment center of their choice that utilizes medication assisted treatment. A specialized physician will supervise the individual’s treatment and prescribe the required medications. Most treatment plans start with
- The initial appointment phone call and required paperwork.
- The doctor’s consultation with a qualified medication assisted treatment physician.
- A physician’s evaluation which determines suitability for medication assisted treatment. The individual will receive a complete physical and education about the treatment procedure.
- The physician will prescribe the appropriate medications when the individual starts to experience withdrawal symptoms.
- The doctor will establish appropriate stabilization and maintenance of the prescribed medications.
Medication assisted treatment should also incorporate behavioral health treatment that considers the individual’s psychosocial needs, provides counseling, individual and/or group counseling, community services, family and community support systems, and any needed referrals. The many benefits of medication assisted treatment are
- A smooth detoxification with reduced cravings and withdrawal symptoms while transitioning into a drug-free life.
- The treatment specialists and treatment team can provide expertise into many areas of the treatment process.
- Helps to develop skills associated with long-term recovery.
- The individual’s in treatment experience a much lower relapse rate, related illnesses, legal, and social issues, and relationship and anger issues.
- The research and science show conclusive evidence that medication assisted treatment is the gold standard of addiction medicine and treatment.
If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, please consider contacting the addiction treatment health center in your area. This treatment process has already changed and saved thousands of lives that had formerly been in the grips of addiction.