As with the medical management of all diseases, drug addiction treatment should be evidenced-based, providing proven medical treatment to stop compulsive drug seeking and addictive drug use. Addiction is a chronic disorder and occurs in many different forms. Depending on an individual’s symptoms, circumstances, and history, different treatment paths may be appropriate and take different lengths of time. Again, as with the treatment of all disease processes, treatment protocols MUST BE INDIVIDUALIZED to the patient’s unique circumstances. Attempting to squeeze all addicts into ANY given recovery plan, whether it be 12 step or MAT, is doing the patient a great disservice!
Drug addiction treatment rendered immediately is more important than ever. The national heroin epidemic is taking more than 150 lives per day in the US. These deaths are often due to the patient’s unknowing use of drugs such as fentanyl or carfentanyl, among many others, which dealers may use to “cut” the heroin, or use entirely in the place of what the addict believes is heroin. Unfortunately, since addiction is extremely complicated and multi-factorial, the chances of relapse are very high (upwards of 90% utilizing stand-alone, traditional “abstinence-based” recovery methods). One single extra use can, and often does, equal death- it is thus vitally important for doctors and recovery providers to intervene in such a way to maximize our patients’ chances of never using again!
The evidence-based approaches utilized to treat the disease of addiction usually are varied depending on an individual’s unique needs and the types of drugs they are addicted to:
- MAT Medication Assisted Treatment (prescribed by a well-trained Addiction Physician)
- Harm Reduction
- Behavioral Therapy
- PHP Partial Hospitalization Program (Treatment Center)
- IOP Intensive Out-Patient Program (Treatment Center)
- OP Out-Patient Program (Treatment Center)
- Needed testing for possible addiction-related diseases that many treatment centers do not check for: STD’s, TB, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, general health panels to ensure optimal physiologic function, female health such as PAP smears and birth control methods, and much more
- The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and on the types of drugs they use.
MAT and some Harm Reduction medications vary depending on the drug of choice (DOC). Approved FDA drugs to treat opioid addiction include Naltrexone, Methadone, and Buprenorphine products (i.e. Suboxone, Zubsolv, Bunavail).
Having a treatment plan that keeps all practitioners “in the loop” is extremely important to the success of the addict. Since addiction is too complex and multi-factorial to be treated with any individual modality, a comprehensive, “holistic” approach incorporating behavioral and medical intervention is often the most effective approach to help motivate and propel participation of the addict in their recovery. This is extremely important because it provides proven strategies for coping with cravings, providing education and tools to avoid relapse. It also helps individuals learn from relapse if it occurs and get back on their journey. Behavioral therapies are also vital to improving family dynamics (all family members need to be involved in recovery), professional and personal relationships, overall communication, and in some cases parenting skills.
We work closely with preferred treatment centers and encourage, when appropriate, group therapy with other individuals in similar situations. This provides social reinforcement and help enforce the behavioral likelihood to abstinence and a healthy lifestyle. Including group therapy can drastically improve long-term sobriety.
With our closely-monitored, individualized treatment plans we ensure that our treatment center partners guide our clients through other aspects that directly affect their recovery. These may include legal issues, family issues, and other social problems that require assistance. We will put you on the best path for you, depending on your individual needs and circumstances.
Having a physician or healthcare provider that is trained and experienced in addiction addressing your needs is vitally important. While we try to provide and encourage non-medication solutions they are not always adequate on their own for the individual suffering from addiction. Our caring staff evaluates for co-occurring psychiatric disorders (bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), and schizophrenia to name a few), analyze possible underlying metabolic issues in men and women that may be contributing to these disorders or patient’s addiction, and ensure our patients are physiologically in an optimal place to proceed with an effective and individualized treatment program.