It’s happening all over the country. Doctors are prescribing opioids for pain. And, while these medications do their job to reduce symptoms of pain, long-term use of these medications can result in both physical and psychological dependence. Many of these patients, before taking the prescribed medication, are not even aware of the addictive properties of these medications present. And, with increased and long-term use, the medications begin to offer adverse effects; leaving patients physically dependent on their medications when they no longer provide help with pain management. Fortunately, it is possible to be free of an opioid prescription and manage pain with alternative methods with the help of medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence.
Before you can understand medication-assisted treatment (MAT), you must understand dependence. Those who can benefit from MAT are dependent on prescription opioids or even, in some cases, heroin. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dependence is defined as, “a state in which an organism functions normally only in the presence of a drug…manifested as a physical disturbance when the drug is removed (withdrawal)”. So, dependence is present when an individual experiences withdrawal symptoms when the use of the prescribed opioid pain medication or heroin stops. Withdrawal symptoms which can help to determine a dependence may include:
While many individuals may become dependent on their opioid medication, it certainly doesn’t mean they may be addicted. Addiction is characterized by continuing substance abuse even after experiencing consequences of drug use. However, those physically dependent on their opioid medications may not experience any consequences of drug abuse. As a result, standardized treatment in a residential facility for extended periods of time may neither be ideal nor necessary. So, to tailor treatment to meet the needs of opioid dependency, medication-assisted treatment has been introduced.
Medication-assisted treatment is the term used for treatment which includes specific opioid replacement therapies. These therapies, when used as intended, help individuals dependent on their medications to reduce the severity and quantity of withdrawal symptoms. This way, individuals can stop taking their opioid medications in a more comfortable way than simply attempting to quit cold turkey.
What are the Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence?
Getting the Help You Need for Pain Management
If you’re struggling with addiction to alcohol or heroin, don’t become another statistic. You can establish a life of recovery through outpatient detox and treatment here at Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services! To speak to an addiction specialist about beginning your admission process, contact us today.
Additionally, if you have an opioid prescription for pain, there are alternative ways of dealing with pain besides addictive medications. You don’t have to be dependent on your pain medication any longer. But, the chances are you won’t be able to do it alone! We’re here to support you on this new journey to reclaim your life and overcome your pain. Learn how to live without your pain medication through medication-assisted treatment and the treatment services offered at Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services and Diablo Valley MAT.