Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that currently affects 21.5 million Americans each year according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). With so many people suffering, the medical community has responded by developing multiple addiction treatment techniques designed to help those addicted to drugs and alcohol find relief from their disorder and be able to maintain a normal life.
Table of Contents
Currently, there is no cure available for addiction or a substance use disorder (SUD). However, there are various approaches to treating the condition and bringing it down to manageable levels. This requires rigorous work on the part of the addict or alcoholic and a firm commitment to their recovery. Without making a decision to truly undertake addiction treatment seriously, it will most likely not be effective.
That said, if you or a loved one has had an issue with addiction to drugs and alcohol and have decided to seek professional help to turn your life around, then perhaps attempting medication-assisted treatment is right for you.
ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION AND SEEKING HELP?
GET IN TOUCH WITH ONE OF OUR TREATMENT SPECIALISTS NOW.
ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION AND SEEKING HELP?
GET IN TOUCH WITH ONE OF OUR TREATMENT SPECIALISTS NOW.
Whether you have heard of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or not, it’s important to realize that it is not simply a “crutch” or “short-cut” as some have labeled it. It’s a completely viable and effective means of treatment, but only when combined with medication-assisted treatment therapies.
Learn more about medication-assisted treatment, what the different medication-assisted treatment therapies are, and how they can work to benefit your life today!
What Is Medication Assisted Treatment?
If you are unfamiliar, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a form of addiction treatment that combines specific prescription medications and medication-assisted treatment therapies to help an addict or alcoholic overcome their addiction. Implementing the medications can help an addict stop using a substance to obtain proper addiction therapy and actively participate in recovery.
This is by no means a short-cut to recovery. Many people have a negative view on MAT for substance abuse treatment, believing these medications act as a “crutch” for addicts and can cause more harm than good. This is not true. Medication-assisted treatment is not only effective but it also employs specific medication-assisted treatment therapies that are a mandatory aspect of treatment.
This means that treatment is not simply taking a pill and being on your way. You must actively participate in specialized addiction therapy sessions to also simultaneously treat the psychological aspect of addiction treatment. Addiction is a disease that affects the individual in physical and psychological ways. Without treating both parts of the disease, the person cannot get better.
So if an individual desires recovery and undergoes therapy, but cannot stay clean from drugs and alcohol during their therapy sessions, they cannot be successful.
The same goes for people who can stay off of drugs and alcohol (temporarily) but do not undertake intensive addiction therapies to get to the root of the problem. In both scenarios, the addict is destined to relapse, which means returning to active drug and alcohol use.
Because of this, medication addiction treatment helps addicts and alcoholics have the ability to stay off of drugs and alcohol while attending therapy sessions. This allows for treating both parts of the disease at the same time, allowing the addict to recover.
Many people do not realize that MAT for substance abuse treatment implements numerous medication-assisted treatment therapies to help the individual process emotions and any other underlying mental health issues that may be impacting their addiction.
What Are the Medication-Assisted Treatment Therapies Used?
There are several different medication-assisted treatment therapies utilized when treating a MAT patient. These therapies are usually evidence-based behavioral therapies. There are many different facets that must also be addressed in the therapeutic aspect of medication-assisted treatment. Client education about learning effective relapse prevention skills and undergoing individual and group therapy are all parts of a complete medication-assisted treatment regimen.
Evidence-Based Behavioral Therapies
Evidence-based behavioral therapies are also known as evidence-based practice (EBP). This is the term used to describe treatments that have been proven to not only work efficiently but also produce long-term desired results. Utilizing evidence-based practice is crucial when it comes to medication-assisted treatment. The medication-assisted treatment therapies that are most commonly seen are those that have been scientifically proven to work through various studies and research projects.
Evidence-based behavioral therapies are effective as medication-assisted treatment therapies as they are considered the “Best Practice” and are the recommended treatment by the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Associations.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one form of evidence-based practice used in medication-assisted treatment. The premise behind cognitive behavioral therapy is to change any negative and/or self-destructive thoughts and behavioral patterns associated with addiction and alcoholism. This is accomplished by replacing these thoughts with alternative positive and healthy behaviors.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy combines thought (cognitive) and feelings (behavioral) into one. By changing both the thoughts and the feelings associated with experiences and behaviors, an addict can begin to stop engaging in their negative drug-using behaviors and replace these habits with positive ones like attaining and maintaining recovery.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is another form of evidence-based practice. As a medication-assisted treatment therapy, it is highly effective. This is due to the fact that DBT aims to provide clients with new skills to manage any negative emotions while simultaneously learning to decrease conflict in their relationships.
There are four key areas of DBT:
- Distress Tolerance
- Emotion Regulation
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
By mastering these four areas of DBT, clients can not only have healthy coping mechanisms that differ from their previous drug use but also prevent experiencing negative interpersonal exchanges, which may fuel the need to use coping mechanisms.
Relapse prevention is a key type of medication-assisted treatment therapy as well. The overall goal of relapse prevention is just that: stopping a recovering individual from relapsing. This is accomplished in a number of ways.
The main priority of relapse prevention is providing recovering addicts and alcoholics with new coping skills that are not drinking and using drugs. These behaviors have long been ingrained into addicts and alcoholics as the only way to manage emotion, whether positive or negative. Learning new ways to cope with intense emotions or stressful situations can help negate an addict’s desire to reach for drugs and/or alcohol to handle their feelings.
Addiction education is a crucial type of medication-assisted treatment therapy. It is important for clients struggling with alcohol use disorders and/or substance use disorders to understand what their condition truly is, what it entails, and how it affects themselves and those around them.
Without having an extensive knowledge of their condition, recovery from addiction is nearly impossible. You must understand the severity of substance use disorders and how they affect the brain and body as a very real disease in order to employ the techniques and coping skills you’ve acquired throughout medication-assisted treatment. Addiction education is also an excellent way to help families with addicted loved ones better understand the science behind the condition so they know how to better support their loved ones.
How Effective are Medication-Assisted Treatment Therapies?
If you are wondering what the actual statistics are surrounding the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment and medication-assisted treatment therapies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has done plenty of studies on the question at hand.
According to SAMHSA, as of 2013, approximately 1.8 million individuals struggled with an opioid use disorder directly related to prescription pain relievers, and 517,000 people struggled with a heroin use disorder. MAT for substance abuse treatment not only showed to be clinically effective for these individuals but also substantially reduced the number of people who needed inpatient medical detoxification services.
Medication-assisted treatment therapies help teach individuals how to improve patient survival, increase retention in treatment, decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders, increase patient’s ability to gain and maintain employment, and improve birth outcomes among women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant.
SAMHSA also reports that medication-assisted treatment helps to lower the risk of contracting communicable diseases like hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS by lowering the propensity for relapse among MAT clients. The underlying goal of medication-assisted treatment therapies is to help patients experience recovery and attain the capability of living a self-directed life.
The unfortunate aspect surrounding medication-assisted treatment is the lack of availability. This is due to the stigma surrounding MAT for substance abuse treatment. People have incorrectly labeled it as “replacement therapy,” when that is simply not the case. Due to the negative connotation of MAT, it is not as readily available in most areas or treatment facilities as other forms of addiction treatment.
However, at New Perspectives, we believe in treatment that is evidence-based and designed to help you achieve your recovery goals. By offering a curriculum geared toward promoting medication-assisted treatment and providing medication-assisted treatment therapies, we help our clients not only stop using drugs and alcohol but also learn to grow as people in recovery!
ready to get help?
If You’re Suffering from Addiction, We Can Help!
Are you or a loved one currently struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol? Let our experts here at New Perspectives help you! Specializing in medication-assisted treatment, we are confident our evidence-based practices and our services can help get you or your loved one not only healthy but also happy and most importantly sober!
By calling now or contacting us online, you’ll be connected to one of our admissions specialists who can answer any questions you may have about our facility or program, verify your insurance, and get you started on the admissions process. We are standing by 24-7 ready to take your call and help you get the proper addiction treatment you both need and deserve.
Don’t delay, call (855) 598-3748 now and start living your best happy, healthy, and sober life with New Perspectives!