If you’ve become addicted to heroin, prescription painkillers, or another opioid, it can be virtually impossible to stop using these substances without professional treatment.
Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, has proved to be an extremely effective means of helping people escape the chains of opioid addiction. MAT incorporates both medication and counseling to put you on the path toward a healthy, drug-free future.
How Medication Helps
Addressing the biological component of addiction
Once your body has become dependent on opioids, the pain of withdrawal can overwhelm even the strongest desire to stop using these dangerous drugs. When you try to end your opioid use on your own, the physical and psychological distress that you experience can quickly push you back into this self-defeating behavior.
However, certain prescription medications can alleviate intense drug cravings, nausea, vomiting, and other common symptoms of opioid withdrawal. When taken as directed by a qualified medical professional, medications such as methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), and Vivitrol allow you to stop using opioids without experiencing the pain of withdrawal.
These medications interact with the same parts of your brain that are impacted by opioids, but they won’t cause you to experience the disorienting high that occurs when using heroin, prescription pills, or similar substances. When you’re taking these medications, you can work, attend school, drive a car, and fully participate in a healthy and productive life.
Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol are highly regulated and thoroughly studied medications. Considerable research has documented their safety and effectiveness for both short- and long-term use when they are taken as directed within the context of a licensed MAT program. They can even be used safely by pregnant women, which can have a considerable positive impact on both mother and child.
What Happens During Counseling
Individual and group therapy to promote long-term recovery
The effective use of certain prescription medications can be an essential part of your effort to escape opioid addiction. But medication alone can’t help you address the issues that led to your substance use problems, nor can it guide you through the process of making the lifestyle changes that will support successful long-term recovery.
When you take part in medication-assisted treatment at one of the five Indiana Comprehensive Treatment Centers (CTCs), your personalized treatment plan will include individual and group counseling. Both types of counseling can help you take significant strides on the path toward lifelong recovery.
Individual sessions are one-on-one meetings with an experienced professional. These sessions are optimal opportunities for you to process your experiences, discuss matters that you may be hesitant to bring up in a group setting, and receive focused feedback from a member of your treatment team.
Group sessions allow you to share your thoughts, learn from the experiences of others, and practice healthy interpersonal communication skills, all with the guidance and supervision of an experienced professional. Groups also allow you to form beneficial bonds with other adults who are working to achieve recovery from opioid addiction. The power of the recovery community can serve you well during and after your time in treatment.
The skills, strategies, and insights you develop during individual and group counseling sessions can help you gain a strong foothold in early recovery, resist relapse, address minor challenges before they become major problems, and attain sustained improvements in both the quality and substance of your life.
The Benefits of a Combined Approach
Medication plus counseling to achieve true and lasting healing
To achieve successful long-term recovery from opioid addiction, you need to address the biological, psychological, and social components of this disease. The effective implementation of medication and counseling can accomplish these objectives and prepare you for a much healthier and more satisfying future.
In general terms, medication will ease the mental and physical pain of opioid addiction as well as the anguish of opioid withdrawal. Counseling provides a means of addressing the psychological challenges that may have contributed to or resulted from your opioid use and addiction. Counseling can also help you with vital social concerns such as mending strained or fractured relationships, improving your ability to get and keep a good job, enhancing your confidence and self-esteem, and developing healthier thought processes and behavior patterns.
Each person who has become addicted to opioids walks a unique path toward long-term recovery. When you choose to begin your recovery journey with medication-assisted treatment, you will have a much greater likelihood of navigating the obstacles that stand between you and the healthier future that you deserve.