Medication-assisted treatment pathways for opioid addiction
In the United States, nearly 1 in 3 patients who are prescribed opioids reportedly misuse them. These drugs are highly addictive and potentially harmful, and the opioid epidemic in America has tragically and distressingly spun out of control. Every day, more than 128 individuals die from an opioid overdose, as thousands more struggle with their addiction.
But all is not lost. There are a number of treatment options available to help individuals struggling with opioid addiction and misuse, as well as their families. The most effective way is through personalized, medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Read on to learn more about opioid addiction, treatment options, Suboxone and other medications used in treatment, and the road to recovery.
What is opioid addiction?
Opioids include both prescription and illegal drugs, such as heroin. Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl and pain relievers, may be prescribed to patients who are recovering from an injury or otherwise suffering chronic pain.
Prescription opioids, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (Vicodin®), are highly addictive. Other examples include codeine and morphine. No amount of any opioid is considered risk-free in terms of addiction and misuse.
All opioids share similar chemical structures and, when taken by humans, they interact with the opioid receptors found on nerve cells inside the brain and body. When used for short periods of time for pain relief, prescription opioids are regarded as generally safe, but the euphoric feeling they produce beyond pain relief and the decrease in natural endorphin production opioids bring about over time can lead to misuse and addiction.
Opioid misuse is characterized by patients taking more than the amount they were prescribed or using the drugs without a prescription. Regular use can lead to dependence, and ongoing use – especially combined with misuse – can lead to addiction, putting patients at risk of overdose incidents and death. Even in smaller quantities, long-term use of opioids carries a host of other potential side effects that can harm a person’s health and wellbeing.
Treating opioid addiction is not impossible, and treatment centers will often create a medication-assisted treatment pathway to reduce the physiological cravings of opioid addiction and help patients establish and maintain recovery.
Effective medications exist to help treat opioid use disorders, with one of the most popular being Suboxone. Medication-assisted treatment combined with psycho-social counseling is considered the gold standard in treating those suffering from opioid use disorder.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone® is a brand-name medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone. This medication is used to help treat adults who are dependent on opioid drugs, whether they are prescription or illegal opioids. It is part of a larger treatment program that combines the medication with behavioral therapy and counseling.
Other medications are also available, including methadone and Vivitrol. A medical provider will help a person determine if a medication-assisted treatment path is the right move and walk them through their options. It’s important to remember that all medications have side effects, and a doctor can help a person understand them before starting any treatment plan.
Other treatment options
While Suboxone and other medication-assisted treatment pathways like methadone and Vivitrol are very common for helping those dependent on opioids recover from addiction, abstinence-based options also exist. All treatment plans should be tailored to each unique individual and their specific needs.
Treatment for opioid use disorder should almost always consist of counseling and behavioral therapy, likely in addition to medication. This allows patients to get to the root cause of their opioid misuse and help them develop healthier habits. Treating opioid addiction goes far beyond stopping misuse, and involves individuals being able to pursue healthier, more fulfilling lifestyles overall.
Inpatient vs. outpatient
Many opioid users will be directed to inpatient treatment options when it comes to addiction recovery. Inpatient facilities are very good at stabilizing a patient in crisis or for a patient needing 24/7 monitored detox. However, outpatient programs may prove more effective at helping a person maintain recovery and a healthy lifestyle over time, and outpatient options are also less expensive.
Understanding your options and the continuum of care available, both inpatient and outpatient, during your recovery journey is paramount to recovery. While both focus on rehabilitation, they offer different benefits. The best choice for you depends on where you are in your recovery journey, your support system and, sadly, your financial situation.
Choosing the right treatment setting and pathway is critical, as doing so substantially reduces the chance of relapse and helps keep you on the path to a healthier, happier lifestyle. The cost of treatment and your insurance coverage may also impact your inpatient vs. outpatient decision. Rest assured that, at SaVida Health, we strive to make impactful outpatient care affordable to everyone. That is why we accept Medicaid, Medicare and most commercial insurance programs.
Outpatient addiction treatment
Recovering from opioid addiction doesn’t necessarily mean spending weeks or months away from your loved ones or missing time off work or school. With an outpatient addiction treatment clinic like SaVida, you can get back to your normal life as quickly as possible, while easing the transition from opioids to clean health and minimizing your downtime and costs.
Are you interested in learning more about the addiction treatment options available for you or a loved one? As an outpatient, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) practice, SaVida Health specializes in helping individuals recover from alcohol and opioid addiction. Reach out to us to learn more.