While any chemical addiction or dependency can be extremely difficult to overcome without help, opiate use disorder brings with it an even greater degree of difficulty due to the effects of continued use on your brain chemistry. Individuals who have used opiates for an extended period of time have unknowingly trained their brains to not only expect, but rely upon the presence of the chemicals just to make them feel normal. Feeling normal does not just mean feeling euphoric, but can mean feeling well enough to perform even basic tasks and functions in life. Without the opiates, individuals may experience terrible withdrawal including physical symptoms such as aches, pains, chills, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, cramps as well as psychological symptoms such as extreme anxiety and depression. These are just the tip of the iceberg of symptoms an individual would experience without some assistance managing withdrawal.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, such as Methadone, Vivitrol and Buprenorphine, in combination with individual and/or group counseling in the treatment of a disease. MAT has been rigorously studied over more than five decades and is widely considered the most effective way to treat opioid use disorder.
In practice for almost 30 years, VCS medical specialists clearly understand what a patient in medication-assisted treatment needs to successfully overcome opiate use disorder and live a happier, healthier and more productive life. That experience in producing successful outcomes has allowed VCS to develop a treatment protocol which incorporates a harm reduction model, medications and proven psychosocial interventions such as motivational interviewing and substance use disorder counseling. Through this methodology, VCS has helped patients to reclaim their lives.
“Research shows that when treating substance-use disorders, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is most successful. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) is clinically driven with a focus on individualized patient care.”
VCS medication assisted treatment programs offer:
For more than 50 years, methadone maintenance has been proved time and time again as the most effective treatment for individuals afflicted with addiction or dependency to opiates. Its safety and effectiveness are documented by countless research studies around the world.
“Methadone maintenance has been demonstrated repeatedly to be safe and effective when used with appropriate safeguards and psycho-social services. Maintenance treatment typically leads to reduction or cessation of illicit opioid use and its adverse consequences, including cellulitis, hepatitis, and HIV infection from use of non-sterile injection equipment, as well as criminal behavior associated with obtaining drugs. Methadone pharmacotherapy has been shown to lead to improved overall adjustment, including reduction in psychiatric symptoms, unemployment, and family or social problems.”Methadone reduces or eliminates the drug cravings and harsh withdrawal symptoms that are often triggers for a patient’s relapse, without creating the sense of euphoria associated with the abuse of opiates. Methadone’s effects last between 24 and 36 hours, and therefore most patients benefit from a single daily dose.
Another medication that has been approved more recently is Buprenorphine (brand names Buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex). Buprenorphine paired with substance use disorder counseling, has been proven to be another safe and effective way of treating opiate addiction.
Buprenorphine acts as a medical intervention to alleviate the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal, in order to allow successful recovery and encourage a smooth continuance of day to day life for the patient. Once Buprenorphine treatment begins, a patient will experience a dramatic reduction in withdrawal symptoms and also a suppression of harmful drug cravings. Counseling is a critical element of the treatment process to support successful recovery from opiate addiction.
Medically supervised withdrawal from methadone or Suboxone is offered to those persons requesting short term stabilization of their physical addiction.
Vivitrol is a monthly medication given through an injection that is FDA approved for the treatment of people with opioid dependence. Vivitrol can be used for maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy can continue as long as medically necessary. Vivitrol itself is not an opioid, but it is a blocker to opioids such as oxycodone, heroin or morphine. Vivitrol has no withdrawal and can be suddenly discontinued, but the effects of the injection will continue until the 28 days are completed. If you are dependent on opioids, you need to be completely opiate free for 7-14 days when you receive you’re first injection of Vivitrol.
Alcohol addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that affects people psychologically and physically. Effective treatment programs can address both aspects of addiction through counseling and medication. If you are seeking medication as part of your treatment plan, consider VIVITROL. VIVITROL is the first and only non-addictive, once-monthly medication that, when combined with counseling, is proven to help reduce heavy-drinking days. VIVITROL and counseling help reinforce recovery for one month at a time while you work on the psychological aspects of addiction through counseling.