Opiate addiction is one of the fastest growing drug abuse problems in the U.S., and it’s also one that needs the most long-term treatment. Forty to sixty percent of individuals who enter addiction treatment will relapse. 1
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective and proven way for people who suffer from opiate addiction to maintain their sobriety. MAT helps to relieve cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of substances, decreasing the likelihood of relapse. There are several benefits of participating in a MAT program.
MAT is an Effective Long-Term Treatment Option
The growing problems of opiate abuse and high rates of relapse point to a need for treatment that is safe and effective over long periods of time. Adding MAT to counseling and behavioral treatments increases overall efficacy of treatment. 1
When provided with maintenance medications, people in recovery from substance abuse have the best chance to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse. MAT aids in relief from physical withdrawal symptoms while allowing participation in other therapies with a clear mind and improved concentration.
MAT Participation Benefits Other Conditions
Many people suffering from opiate abuse are also facing other health challenges. When individuals are required to visit a facility regularly to receive their medication for opiate addiction, it’s also an ideal situation to obtain other medications for health issues. Also, monitoring of chronic illnesses like AIDS, heart problems, liver disease and other conditions can be conducted on a regular basis at the facility. 2
Individuals with a dual diagnosis, meaning the co-occurrence of a mental health disorder and addiction, can benefit from regular visits to a facility as well. They have their psychological health and psychiatric medications monitored on a regular basis.
MAT Complements Other Therapies
Most MAT programs require participants to attend therapy sessions. This helps motivate individuals to go to other therapies like 12-step meetings, cognitive behavioral therapy sessions and individual psychotherapy appointments. MAT is much more effective in maintaining sobriety when used as one part of a comprehensive treatment approach.
One study found that individual, family or group counseling offer many opportunities for different treatment approaches and educational interventions. These sessions also provide support for substance-free lifestyles and promoting sobriety. The study also reported that MATs providing regular, structured, addiction-focused counseling had better outcomes than those that didn’t. 3
Consistent treatment is critical for preventing relapse and controlling the harmful effects of drug abuse. Once individuals are stabilized and consistently passing drug tests, many programs don’t require daily attendance. Frequency of visits will depend upon the states of their medical conditions, mental health illnesses and substance abstinence. By providing the right amount of monitoring and treatment, MAT helps people successfully reach and maintain sober lives while improving their physical and mental health.
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