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Medication Assisted Treatment For Opioid Addiction

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What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

When it comes to opioid addiction, one of the most common treatment options is medication-assisted treatment, or MAT.

Unlike other rehab treatment options, medication-assisted treatment treats addiction with a “whole patient ” approach.

That means it focuses on more than just treating your addiction.

Medication-assisted treatment also focuses on treating every part of your life that contributes to your drug use.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we know just how important taking a whole-body approach to addiction treatment is.

That is why we frequently recommend medication-assisted treatment to our clients.

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Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment uses medicines along with counseling to treat opioid addiction. It can also be used to treat a heroin addiction. The medications used in MAT act in the same area of the brain that opioids do without giving people a “high.” There are a few different medications that can be used during medication-assisted treatment. These include:

  • Buprenorphine – reduces cravings for opioids
  • Methadone – reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and also helps prevent users from getting high if they do use opioids
  • Naltrexone – prevents users from getting high on opioids

All three of these medications are safe to use for an extended period of time, without causing any negative side effects. This means that people who are addicted to opioids have the chance to slowly allow their brains and bodies to get used to being sober. All while being able to avoid negative withdrawal side effects.

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What are Opioids?

Opioids are pain medications that are usually prescribed after surgery or to treat chronic pain. These drugs were originally made from the opium poppy plant, the same plant that heroin is made from. Today some opioids are synthetics made in labs. Much like how individuals may need guidance on how to wean off Zoloft, understanding opioids is crucial. These drugs work by blocking pain receptors in your brain.

What makes them addictive is their other effect on the brain. Opioids cause your brain to release a flood of dopamine, which is responsible for making you feel happy and relaxed. The longer you take opioids, the less your brain is able to make dopamine on its own, paralleling challenges some face when trying to understand how to wean off Zoloft or other medications that affect brain chemistry. Consequently, the more you crave opioids in order to feel good. Over time, your body will get used to the dose of opioids you are taking, and you will have to take more in order to feel high. This is what makes it so easy for people to accidentally overdose on opioids. While opioid painkiller overdoses can be reversed if treated quickly, they can also be fatal if not caught soon enough.

The Negative Effects of Drug Abuse

Opioids may be very effective at relieving pain, but they are only meant to be taken for up to a few weeks. This is because they are not only highly addictive, but they can also have negative effects on your body. These effects can include drowsiness, confusion, constipation, depression, nausea, vomiting, and slowed breathing. And the longer that you take opioids, the worse these symptoms can become. One of the more serious risks of opioid addiction is called hypoxia. This condition happens when opioids cause your breathing to slow too much and not enough oxygen reaches your brain. Hypoxia can cause both short term and long term health problems, including brain damage, coma, and even death.

How Can Medication-Assisted Treatment Help With Withdrawal?

When someone develops an opioid addiction, they feel sick if they stop taking them. This is called withdrawal, and it can include a number of different unpleasant symptoms. These can be things such as agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, diarrhea, nausea, runny nose, trouble sleeping, insomnia, vomiting, and sweating.

While withdrawal is rarely life-threatening, it can be extremely unpleasant to deal with. They are a big part of what makes overcoming an opioid addiction so difficult. Unlike many other rehab options, medication-assisted treatment helps to treat withdrawal symptoms. This way clients can focus on addressing their physical and mental health, and allow their brains to heal and relearn how to regulate itself without drugs.

Mental Illness and Medication-Assisted Treatment

Many people that are struggling with an opioid addiction are also dealing with a mental health issue. Research has found that people who are addicted to opioids are twice as likely as non-addicts to have at least one mental illness. The most common symptoms are depression, aggression, anxiety, hallucinations, and mood swings. If you suffered from a mental illness before you became addicted to opioids, opioids can actually make these symptoms worse. People with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing an opioid addiction. Often this can happen because a person thinks that they can get rid of their mental illness symptoms with opioids. Unlike other rehab options, medication-assisted treatment treats your mental illness symptoms along with your opioid addiction.

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What can Medication Assisted Treatment do for You?

When administered in a reputable treatment center like Resurgence Behavioral health, medication-assisted treatment is an extremely effective treatment for opioid addiction.

It helps to decrease opioid use, overdose deaths, and mental health problems. In just one year, the city of Baltimore found that medication-assisted treatment helped reduce their opioid overdose deaths by 37 percent. It also helps clients relearn how to be social in a positive way, and makes them more likely to stay in therapy than clients that do use medicinal treatments. For women who are struggling with an opioid addiction while pregnant, MAT helps them to have healthier babies. But despite its effectiveness, less than half of all rehab facilities in the United States offer medication-assisted treatment. Resurgence Behavioral Health is proud to be one of them.

Myths About This Treatment

As with many newer forms of addiction treatment, medication-assisted treatment has some common myths surrounding it. These myths can make people feel uneasy about trying MAT as a part of their recovery plan. But there is no reason to worry; here are some common myths, as well as the truths behind them.

  • MAT trades one addiction for another. Some people believe that the medicines used in MAT are also addictive, but this is simply not true. All of the medicines approved for MAT are non-addictive; they just help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms for opioid users.
  • MAT is only for short-term treatment. MAT medicines are approved for long-term use. The heaviest of opioid users can use these medicines for months and even years in order to help them stay sober.
  • MAT increases the risk of an overdose death. Many studies have found that the exact opposite is true. MAT medicines help to reduce overdose deaths, not increase them.
  • There is no proof that MAT is better than abstinence. Expecting someone with an opioid addiction to simply stop using drugs is just not realistic. MAT is an evidence-based treatment option that has been proven to help clients to be more successful at kicking their opioid habit for good, with less chance of a relapse.

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Get the Help You Need From a Quality Rehab

The first step in your journey to overcoming your opioid addiction is simple: contact us! At Resurgence, we pride ourselves on building an affordable, personalized recovery plan for each client – without sacrificing quality. Our free insurance verification allows us to help you figure out exactly what your insurance will pay for.

We accept most PPO insurance as well as private forms of payment for treatment. We will also communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to. You can complete a simple form right from our website, or call us directly.

At Resurgence, we believe that environment is just as important as treatment. That is why our locations are in peaceful neighborhoods, with plenty of open space for clients to take time to themselves as well as participate in our supportive community.

Our warm, sunny weather, as well as our nearby beaches and parks, means that, when you are ready and able, you can enjoy being outside. And our specially prepared nutritious meals help to support your total physical recovery.

There is no such thing as one perfect addiction treatment option. Each client is an individual, and we focus on making sure that your treatment plan suits your wants and needs. But for clients with an opioid addiction, we believe that medication-assisted treatment is a very valuable treatment option. Let us help you find the right opioid addiction treatment plan for you.

Resurgence Behavioral Health’s team of dedicated addiction specialists can help you with every part of your recovery process, from detox to therapy, for a lifetime of success. Call us today to get started in a drug rehab program, and get on the path to a drug-free life.

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Alexa Iocco

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At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.