To head the ongoing opioid crisis that is plaguing the United States, many treatment facilities are adopting an “all hands-on deck approach”. One of the most effective tools in turning back drug addiction is medically-assisted treatment (MAT). While there is substantial scientific data showing its effectiveness, there is a strong stigma surrounding medically-assisted treatment. The negative connotations surrounding MAT is a factor when addicts try to find treatment.
Much of the stigma of medically assisted treatment is due to lack of knowledge. This article serves as a primer to understanding MAT and how it helps addicts find long-lasting sobriety. If you or a loved one are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, call Comprehensive Wellness Centers toll-free today.
What is Medically Assisted Treatment?
Medically assisted treatment combines the use of medications such as Vivitrol with counseling and other traditional therapeutic methods. When people suddenly stop taking drugs and alcohol, the body often reacts violently producing nausea, vomiting, depression and other withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms lead to strong cravings for substances, and many times causing addicts to go back to active use.
With MAT, trained treatment staff administers medications such as Vivitrol to decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These medications also diminish the euphoria that people feel when taking drugs such as heroin or prescription medications. Combined with a solid individual treatment plan, medically assisted treatment can be an asset in an addict’s recovery.
Why is There Stigma Surrounding Medically Assisted Treatment?
Many drug treatment facilities have incorporated MAT as part of one’s recovery plan, yet there is strong stigma surrounding MAT. First and foremost, people who stigmatize medically-assisted treatment feel that addiction is a moral failing instead of being a disease. People who fall into this category feel that counseling and therapy are the only ways people will be able to change their behavior.
Secondly, there is stigma concerning medically assisted treatment because people view it as replacing one drug with another. Replacing one opioid drug with a substitute opioid drug is seen as risky. As a result, newly recovering addicts may become addicted to medications that are supposed to help. Additionally, stigma surrounding MAT is perpetuated by recovering addicts who got clean and sober without medication. Those who recover without medications simply feel that others should use the same approach.
Beating Back the Stigma of Medically Assisted Treatment
While the stigma of using medications in drug treatment is still prevalent, opinions are slowly changing. For example, major drug treatment centers such as the Hazelden Clinic have started utilizing MAT over the past few years. As research continues, studies are showing the effectiveness of MAT programs such as Vivitrol in helping addicts overcome addiction.
Medications such as Vivitrol are effective in helping addicts get clean without the high addiction potential with drugs such as methadone. Additionally, people who want to undergo MAT receive a comprehensive evaluation to see if they are a candidate for this treatment methods. Medically assisted treatment is done under the strict and careful supervision of specially-trained medical staff. With these points in mind, some of the stigma of MAT can be removed—and those struggling with addiction can get the help they desperately need.
Would you like to learn more about the effectiveness of medically assisted treatment? Are you or a loved one struggling with substance abuse and need help? Call Comprehensive Wellness Centers today. We are a premier treatment facility who utilizes MAT along with traditional and holistic treatment approaches that can be individually tailored to meet your specific needs.
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