We learn from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that, during 2018, an average of 41 people died due to overdosing on prescription opioids. Data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicate that, between 2011 and 2014, over 200,000 abused or were dependent on opioids within the past year. These statistics lead many families of loved ones who are suffering from substance abuse disorder, wondering about the benefits of MAT, medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Fortunately, ALEF Reidsville, a CleanStart company, can guide individuals and families through the process so they understand the usefulness of this particular kind of treatment.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction?
Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction is an option that has proven effective for those suffering from this disorder. Those who are undergoing this treatment receive FDA-approved medications, including buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. According to the FDA, these medications are beneficial when used simultaneously with behavioral and counseling therapies. Reporting from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) outlines that when patients receive long-term treatments, that helps reduce overdose deaths.
Understanding the Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Those who recommend mediation assisted treatment for opioid addiction state that it must occur in conjunction with therapy and counseling sessions. An addict cannot stop using opioids cold-turkey due to the mental or physical side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Below are benefits to how MAT is beneficial:
- Criminal activities reduce
- Fewer opioid-related overdose deaths
- Increased rate of social functioning
- Reduced rate of transmitting infectious diseases
- Reduces the rate of use and addiction
Relapse Reduction and Prevention
After someone works hard throughout the recovery, the last thing they want to worry about is relapsing. Families and friends watch them throughout their addiction and offered support during their recovery. That is why relapse reduction and prevention for opioid reduction is a requirement. Due to the relapse rate of opioid users, which is up to 91%, the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction is a high priority. Using these treatments means those in recovery have access to medications that are:
- Increasing retention in treatment
- Reducing overdose risks
Reduction of Withdrawal Symptoms
Another benefit of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction includes how it reduces withdrawal symptoms. In addition to reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms, these medications also help reduce opioid cravings. The detox process is incredibly challenging, and because withdrawal symptoms are intense, some suffering from opioid addiction are too scared to seek treatment.
Understanding the Risks of MAT
While the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction is beneficial to many, there are risks. Understanding these risks helps keep those who are seeking MAT safe and aware of all possible outcomes. Some of the potential risks include the following:
- Difficulties finding nearby facilities offering medication-assisted treatment
- Some patients in recovery experience side effects from the medications used during MAT
- Because the medications used during MAT are controlled substances, there is a risk for medication abuse
- There is a risk of overdosing when receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction if users are co-administering other illicit drugs
Even though these risks are concerning, they are far outweighed by the benefits of MAT for opioid addiction. Your best recourse is to contact your physician to learn more about these treatments, which facilities in your area offer them, and how they are beneficial.
Do you or a loved one suffer from opioid use disorder? Do you have questions about medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction? No one should have to endure these challenges without support on their side. Contact ALEF Reidsville at 833.916.0562 to receive answers to your questions and learn more about these treatments.