Going through opioid withdrawal feels like having a terrible case of the flu. Nausea, body ache, fever, and fatigue are common withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety, depression, restlessness, and irritability are often part of the picture as well. Treatment drop-out rates are high, and if the opioid-addicted person relapses, overdosing is likely—and often deadly. At Westwind Recovery®, we understand the urgency behind keeping opioid-dependent clients in treatment. The use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to treat opioid-dependent clients has been shown to keep them in treatment longer and help them to engage in the program.
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Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Our program is designed to ease the detox and recovery processes when rehabilitating from addiction. From opioid treatment and anxiety medications to pain management and ADHD, there are a host of effective, medically prescribed pharmaceutical drugs that can be utilized during and beyond recovery to help keep our clients living a life free from substance abuse.
Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction utilizes buprenorphine-based medications including:
Buprenorphine is a relatively new drug used to treat withdrawal symptoms associated with opiates, including prescription painkillers and heroin. Headaches, nausea, muscle aches and excessive sweating are just a few of the symptoms lessened by opioid treatment drugs like Suboxone. Through the careful and clinically supervised use of buprenorphine along with traditional rehab therapy methods, attendees of our MAT program can expect a smoother and more comfortable detox process. The pain and discomfort of opiate detox is a primary cause of relapse back into addiction, by using drugs like Suboxone, our medication-assisted treatment provides individuals with a better chance at long-lasting recovery.
Use of MAT is determined on a case-by-case basis by clinicians who work in multidisciplinary teams to carefully assess each client’s situation. For some clients, medication to ease opioid withdrawal might be determined as clinically appropriate. Other clients might need an extended-release medication to block opioid cravings, increase engagement the treatment and recovery process, and help prevent relapse. The interdisciplinary care team may recommend MAT for an extended period of time to help clients establish a strong recovery program post-treatment.
In all cases, Westwind Recovery® uses medications only as an adjunct to, and never as a replacement for, Twelve Step, evidence-based addiction treatment. Ongoing recovery management—including continuing care, education, and accountability—is especially critical for people in recovery from opioid addiction because the risk of accidental overdose during relapse is extremely high.
The team at Westwind Recovery® is experiencing promising trends with MAT for opioid addiction. More clients are staying in treatment longer, which allows for greater engagement in other evidence-based therapies and techniques. As national studies consistently show, the longer clients remain engaged in treatment, the better their outcomes and long-term recovery rates.
Myths Surrounding Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Despite the ongoing evidence that MAT programs are an effective method in treating opioid addiction, there are still stigmas and myths from the public and policymakers surrounding the treatment.
People struggling with opioid addiction may not know MAT programs are available to them, they may feel ashamed by their addiction, or they may be given false information about this form of treatment. These harmful myths and stigmas surrounding medication-assisted treatment can be detrimental and hinder life-saving efforts.
Myth: MAT just trades one addiction for another
One of the biggest misconceptions about medication-assisted treatment is that it simply trades one for another. Medications used during MAT can be the very thing that stabilizes a client and helps keep them in recovery.
By alleviating the physical and mental pain that is often associated with opioid withdrawal, MAT helps clients feel healthy and ready to work towards their goals of sobriety.
Myth: MAT is only for the short term
It’s also important to remember that medication assisted treatment isn’t a “quick fix.” Like any successful recovery and rehabilitation, medication assisted treatment may be a lifelong process that requires both the ongoing efforts of trained medical staff and a client who wishes to continue in their sobriety.
Myth: MAT will disrupt the recovery process
Medication assisted treatment doesn’t “disrupt” the recovery process—for many, it is a vital step in the recovery process.
Myth: MAT is not covered by most insurance plans
Westwind Recovery® provides affordable care that is covered by most insurance
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