When it comes to addiction, it can be hard to know what is true and what’s not about available treatment options. It can be even more difficult when looking into medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for those suffering from substance use disorder. There are many claims and myths surrounding this form of care, which has the potential to improve long-term outcomes in individuals struggling with addiction if the correct approach is taken toward recovery.
Before discussing the myths surrounding MAT, it’s important to understand what exactly this form of treatment consists of. Medication-assisted treatment is a comprehensive approach to treating substance use disorder that combines psychosocial therapy and medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This type of care is often used in opioid and morphine addiction recovery, but can also be effective for other substances such as alcohol dependence.
Despite medication-assisted treatment being a safe, effective form of care for those struggling with addiction, there are still many people who have misconceptions about this type of treatment. Here are four myths you should be aware of when considering medication-assisted treatment.
It is a common misconception that medication-assisted treatment is only intended for those battling severe addictions. While it is true that medication-assisted treatment can be a valuable tool in tackling intense substance dependencies, it is crucial to understand that this form of treatment can also be advantageous for individuals with milder addiction issues.
Medication-assisted treatment combines medication with behavioral therapy and counseling, offering a personalized approach that works to address the specific needs of each patient. Medication-assisted treatment can also increase retention in treatment and enhance the overall success rates of recovery for individuals from various degrees of substance abuse issues.
Many individuals mistakenly believe that undergoing medication-assisted treatment is merely substituting one addiction for another. However, this perception is not misleading. Medication-assisted treatment utilizes carefully monitored and regulated medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and ultimately enable patients to regain control over their lives. These medications stabilize the brain’s chemistry, helping individuals to focus on therapy and counseling, which are critical components of lasting recovery.
Medications form a vital part of a well-rounded recovery process, complementing therapy and support groups to assist in regaining control over one’s life. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone have demonstrated success during opioid or morphine addiction treatment. Additionally, drugs like disulfiram and acamprosate are utilized to curb alcoholism. By addressing the physical aspects of addiction and alleviating withdrawal symptoms, these medications make it easier for individuals to focus on the emotional and mental aspects of their recovery journey.
A comprehensive approach combes medication-assisted treatment with therapeutic interventions and social support systems to enhance the patient’s chances of recovery and long-term abstinence. Counseling can help patients identify underlying emotional triggers and behavioral patterns leading to substance use while also equipping them with effective coping strategies. In addition, support from peers and loved ones play a vital role in encouraging the patient to maintain a drug-free lifestyle and stay accountable to their recovery goals.
If you are noticing signs of addiction in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to consider medication-assisted treatment. Signs can include changes in behavior such as withdrawing from activities and people, avoiding conversations about substance use, and exhibiting signs of physical dependence. If you recognize any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Medication-assisted treatment is an effective form of care that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction and provides individuals with the support they need to recover and lead healthier lives.