There is hope.
Treatment can work.
Addiction care can be as effective as treatments for other diseases and works the same way — with medication, counseling and ongoing support.
The lowdown

How treatment works

Addiction treatment doesn’t happen overnight, over a week or even over a few months. It’s a long-term, multi-faceted continuum of care.

Behavioral therapy helps patients achieve the ultimate goal of living in recovery through individual and/or group counseling. Therapy tailored to the individual is the most successful — just as no two addictions are exactly alike, the same should be true for treatment plans. Therapy can help patients modify underlying behaviors, manage crises, stick to medication regimens, make connections to family and community support systems, and address other psychosocial needs.

Medication-assisted treatment combines targeted, FDA-approved medication with behavioral therapy and sustained follow-up care. Under a comprehensive, patient-centered treatment plan, medications can be prescribed to relieve withdrawal symptoms and/or block the euphoric effects of the substance. Once cravings are curbed, the brain can gradually recover from the chemical changes caused by addiction.

Consistent follow-up care solidifies the treatment process and ensures the patient has the ongoing support he or she needs.

Professional opinion

Dr. Jeremy Dubin

ACOFP, ABIHM, ASAM

One must understand that there is a biochemical component to opiate addiction if one wants to create long-term recovery. All someone has to do is read the current headlines to know that we have learned this the hard way. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) gives us the opportunity to level the biochemical playing field. This finally gives patients the real opportunity to work on the challenging psychological, social, emotional, psychiatric and trauma work that often needs to be done to create the long-term safety net to keep opioids at bay. Whether using injectable naltrexone (Vivitrol), or opiate replacement therapy (ORT) via buprenorphine or methadone, attention to this biochemistry is integral to treatment success. Ignoring this biochemical component is at a patient’s peril and often leads to treatment failure.

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