The beginning stages of recovery are generally a time of serious transition. As individuals begin to re-imagine and recreate a life for themselves free from substances, begin identifying support, and what does and doesn’t work for them going forward, many turn to medication assisted treatment or MAT. Although this may be a fitting route for some, we wanted to take a closer look as to why it should be considered very carefully, and with much knowledge about the risks it holds. If you or someone you love is considering entering a substance abuse treatment center for opioid addiction, the first thing to know is that the first few months are going to be hard no matter what. The second thing to know is that if you are considering MAT, and getting on some form of an opiate maintenance and/ or management drug such as Suboxone, Subutex, or Methadone, the end result could be detoxing from another substance down the road.
Here are some of the reasons you should carefully consider the long-term implications of MAT in any plans for substance abuse recovery.
Opioids are addictive period. Despite being a drug that’s frequently used to alleviate painful effects of opiate detox, they are still opiates, and they are still in and of themselves highly addictive and abuse-able. The issue with some of these medications is that they can be abused just like any mind altering substance. Some of these medications are bought and sold on the street; and when abused have a similar effect as the opiates the individual was trying to stop using in the first place.
Some individuals struggle to taper off of theses medications reporting that the withdrawal symptoms are just as bad, if not worse than the original drugs they were abusing. Due to the nature of medications like Suboxone and Methadone the withdrawal symptoms can last longer than heroin or prescription pain killers. It is recommended that any Medication Assisted Treatment plan includes a Doctor who understands addiction who is easy to talk to and be honest with but also a full treatment plan which covers exercise, mental health, peer support, diet and various other facets which will ensure a successful recovery.