Countless individuals focus on the physical aspects of addiction and overcoming cravings and physical dependency. When doing so, they ignore the shame and stigma that often come with the addiction. These elements, however, are just as important as the physical aspects.

An addict experiences shame when they cannot kick the habit. They feel they are flawed in some way or unworthy of help. They won’t reach out to others for addiction rehabilitation because they worry they cannot change, and this keeps them trapped in the addiction.

Society often isn’t helpful in overcoming addiction. People frequently view addicts as dangerous or morally weak. They don’t feel addicts are worth helping. This stigma extends beyond individuals to every aspect of society and leads to addicts feeling isolated and reluctant to seek help. How can medication-assisted treatment help these individuals?

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a method used by doctors to treat substance abuse patients today. The patient benefits from medications, behavioral therapies, and counseling to address all aspects of their addiction. This whole patient approach appears to produce better results, and the medications used are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Studies show the combination is useful in treating substance abuse disorders. In addition, the medications can help to sustain recovery. At the same time, they reduce the risk of an opioid overdose.

Medications Used as Part of the Treatment Program

At this time, the FDA has approved three medications for treating opioid dependence. Buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are safe and effective when used alongside counseling and psychosocial support to treat opioid addiction. However, the person must work with a licensed professional to determine the length of treatment, as this differs by the patient. Some people may need to take part in medication-assisted treatment indefinitely.

The Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Patients entering an opioid addiction program do so with the goal of recovering fully. They want to be able to live a self-directed life. When they are addicted to a substance, the substance has control over them, and they want to break this control. Medication-assisted treatment can help them do so.

MAT has been shown to improve patient survival rates and increase retention rates in treatment programs. Individuals with substance abuse disorders are less likely to use illicit opiates and engage in criminal activity when taking part in this treatment. As a result, they find it easier to gain and maintain a job. In addition, MAT benefits women who are pregnant and suffering from substance abuse disorders. Birth outcomes improve when they take part in a medication-assisted treatment program.

A person taking part in one of these programs reduces their risk of contracting hepatitis C or HIV. The program reduces the risk of relapsing, which is important because every relapse puts them at a higher risk of these diseases. Any person struggling with opioid addiction should seek help right away, as MAT may be what they need to break the habit permanently.

A medical professional is needed to oversee the MAT plan because every person differs in terms of what they need to overcome addiction. One person may achieve full recovery in weeks while another person might need a few months. The medical team is there to help them determine when the medication is no longer needed, as the person is ready to take the next step to a full recovery. This remarkable achievement may be reached sooner when this approach is used.