Medically Assisted Treatment

Medically Assisted Treatment: How Does It Work and Is It Right for You?

Did you know that research shows nearly three-quarters of people with a substance use disorder recover? This fact sheds light on the startling reality of drug overdoses in America.

Last year, drug overdoses led to more than 100,000 fatalities, sparking concern about addiction treatment. Medically assisted treatment facilities specialize in helping individuals with addictions. These facilities are one of the primary reasons 75% of people overcome addictions.

But what is included in addiction programs? We have put together a complete guide on medically assisted treatment programs and how you or a loved one can start getting help today. Keep reading for more information!

What Are Substance Use Disorders?

Substance use disorders are mental health illnesses. It occurs when a person frequently uses alcohol or drugs. Over time, a substance use disorder can affect someone’s mental and physical health.

If you stop taking them, it can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. For adults, it may lead to missed work. In children or teens, absences from school are often a tell-tale sign.

Nearly half of people with substance use disorders also have a mental health illness. Some of the more common co-occurring mental illnesses include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

In 2020, studies found that mental illnesses and substance abuse increased. The link between the two is a bit of a gray area.

Some experts speculate that depression leads to self-medication. Others could argue that increased substance use leads to depression and anxiety.

Medically assisted treatments are ideal for patients with a co-occurring disorder. Medical professionals can help address both conditions. Most treatments focus on:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Medication
  • Support groups

Experts recommend that treatments balance these three components for the best outcomes.

What Is Medically Assisted Treatment?

Medically assisted treatments are addiction treatment programs. They use medical professionals and research-based evidence to help in the recovery process. Most times, these addiction programs include medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Medication-assisted treatments are common addiction treatment programs that help during the detox stage. A physician may decide to continue use after detoxing. These FDA-approved medications help curb withdrawals, cravings, and facilitate long-term sobriety.

A quality addiction program will use more than an MAT program. Other interventions can also include:

  • Outpatient therapy
  • Medically supported withdrawal management
  • Inpatient rehab and detox
  • Recovery housing

How do these treatment programs differ in their ways to treat addictions?

Withdrawal Management

There are two routes for withdrawal management: outpatient and inpatient. Most withdrawal management programs in an inpatient setting will receive:

  • Exam
  • Medication
  • Supervised medical care
  • Individualized treatments
  • Counseling
  • Support groups
  • Discharge planning

Most inpatient withdrawal management programs will refer to outpatient therapy. The main difference between them is that outpatient programs don’t require an overnight stay. You will still receive the same access to qualified medical professionals, prescription medication, and individualized care.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient rehabilitation stays are intensive medically assisted treatments that require overnight stays. Some of the key characteristics of an inpatient program are:

  • Assessments
  • Screenings
  • Counseling
  • Life skill training
  • Family or group therapy

An inpatient stay may also include a medical detox program or medication-assisted treatments. A detox program is often recommended at this level because of the high risk of relapse. Often, residents need 24/7 supervision to monitor symptoms and provide medical attention as needed.

Inpatient medically assisted treatments can also help with social support groups, 12-step programs, and educational support. Life skill training and job readiness are included in adult inpatient rehabilitation programs.

Outpatient Treatment

Most patients progress from detox centers or inpatient rehabilitation programs to outpatient treatment. Outpatient therapy is beneficial because it encourages accountability and sobriety. Many similar treatment interventions are still used at this level.

Participants will have more opportunities to implement life skills and training in a real-world application. Outpatient recovery centers focus on individual and group counseling. Some of the benefits of outpatient counseling programs are:

  • Improved coping skills
  • Trigger identification
  • Conflict resolution
  • Anger management
  • Treating underlying mental health issues
  • Relapse prevention

Rehabilitation centers can involve family and help you rebuild meaningful relationships.

Recovery Housing

Following inpatient rehab, residents could choose recovery housing. It is an excellent option for residents who do not have a good support system at home. It can also help transition to real-world instances such as managing relationships and jobs.

Recovery housing is an intermediate stage in the recovery process. Residents can attend recovery housing at Cenikor after 30 days of sobriety.

Detox Programs and Withdrawals

Detoxing includes stopping or removing substances from the body. Withdrawal symptoms often occur in conjunction with detoxing. They are the physical and cognitive effects of stopping a drug or substance.

Most cases of opioid withdrawals are uncomfortable rather than life-threatening. Alcohol withdrawals act differently. Withdrawal symptoms can start within eight hours of a person’s last drink.

There are three main alcohol withdrawal stages, including:

  1. First eight hours
  2. 24 to 72 hours
  3. Days 2 to 4

Stages two and three are the most dangerous. If symptoms progress to hallucinations and seizures, the person is at risk for delirium tremens. Delirium tremens is a medical emergency when the central nervous kicks into overdrive.

Since alcohol is a depressant, suddenly removing it from your system can create too much stimulus, leading to cognitive and physical impairments. Other alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Hypertension
  • Arrhythmias
  • Confusion
  • Fevers

The best withdrawal treatment during this stage is an inpatient detox program. Dietary supplements such as thiamin can help reduce long-term complications.

Medical professionals can also help regulate body temperature and other vitals. Lastly, medication can be used to curb withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Opioid detox programs function similarly. Withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours and include:

  • Cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation and frustration
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Tachycardia
  • Insomnia
  • Other flu-like symptoms

Peak withdrawal symptoms are usually within one day of stopping use. The risk of performing an at-home detox is relapsing. Intense cravings and physical symptoms often drive people to use more of the drug. The main treatments for detoxing from opioids are:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine

Some treatment centers may also use Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Naltrexone is another medication used for alcohol and opioid addictions.

Is Medication-Assisted Treatment Effective?

Medication-assisted treatment is highly effective in reducing:

  • Opioid overdoses
  • Criminal activity
  • Disease transmission

It is widely used for alcohol and drug addictions. Studies also show that medication-assisted treatment groups have higher retention rates in programs.

These patients will also have a better chance of employment after rehabilitation. Methadone studies show:

  • Reduced opioid use
  • Reduced opioid-dependent infectious diseases
  • Reduced criminal activity
  • Long-term sobriety outcomes

Buprenorphine typically requires higher dosages. However, positive drug tests decreased by nearly 15 percent when used correctly. Patients were also almost two times more likely to remain in addiction treatment programs.

Naltrexone is a newer medication for opioid addiction. Traditionally, it was used for alcohol detoxing but was FDA-approved for opioid addiction treatments in 2010. Since then, studies show a reduction in:

  • Drug cravings
  • Relapse
  • Treatment retention

Its non-addictive properties can make it an excellent alternative to methadone or buprenorphine.

Finding the Right Medical Detox Program

Finding a medically assisted treatment program can be scary. There are many stigmas surrounding addiction and substance abuse.

However, seeking help through a qualified program can prevent long-term physical and mental health issues. Rehabilitation programs can help with:

  • Sobriety
  • Health and wellness
  • Social functioning
  • Healthcare costs

Medically assisted detox and rehab programs are unique because they offer a drug-free environment. Qualified programs can provide individual, group, and family therapy. Certified medical providers use research-based evidence such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help.

Lastly, you have opportunities to connect with others in similar situations. Some people may find this useful in seeing other individuals in similar positions.

It can help you develop positive relationships. When searching for a program, you want a treatment facility that is:

  • Close
  • Affordable
  • Addresses your needs
  • Employs medically qualified individuals

Cenikor provides multiple substance abuse programs and treatments. Assessments are completed by medical providers with vast experience in substance abuse. With several centers across Texas and New Mexico, you can find one close to home and family.

One of the main benefits of Cenikor rehabilitation programs is the after-care program. As you or a loved one transitions to home life, Cenikor continues offering services and support. Staying involved in health programs can help you develop long-lasting habits.

Start Your Journey

Medically assisted treatment programs can help you or a loved one start the journey to sobriety. At Cenikor, we offer multiple addiction programs for adults and youth.

Highly trained and qualified individuals run these programs. It offers research-backed and medication-assisted treatments.

Choosing a medical rehabilitation program can help with every stage of the recovery process. Are you ready to get started? Contact us today and find out which program will work best for you and your recovery.

man on beach enjoying freedom from substance abuse

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