Each journey through recovery will be different for each person. Depending on the needs and goals of the individual, the treatment plan will vary. Some may require intensive behavioral therapy in order to address many of the overt and underlying factors involved in one’s addiction recovery and any co-occurring mental health disorders. However, other circumstances may have someone asking about a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) approach. While medication-assisted treatment can make a huge difference in someone’s ability to cope with the daily stresses and difficulties that addiction recovery presents, it is important to also go over both what medication-assisted treatment can and cannot do during recovery in order to determine if medication is the right route for each person, as well as what kind of medication that they may benefit from.
Don’t Jump Right Into Medication
As someone begins their journey through recovery, there can be all kinds of discomfort. It can be tempting to seek out any means that may ease this discomfort, and medication-assisted therapy is one way in which to address these difficulties on a biological level. While it can undeniably be effective, it is important to discuss a person’s history with certain medications before the first prescription is written. This conversation can take a couple of different forms. First, it means discussing someone’s own history with substance abuse. If someone has had a history of addiction, particularly in regards to opiates, it may be best to avoid those classes of drugs when addressing medication-assisted therapy in order to avoid developing new dependencies.
However, there is another aspect of this conversation that someone needs to have. Discussing the familial history of each person also yields pertinent information, as there is a genetic component to how someone may react to certain classes of medications. For example, if someone’s mother had a negative reaction to using Paxil, it may be beneficial to find a medication that is in another class than an SSRI. Even if certain medications are traditionally very effective across the board, that doesn’t mean that every individual will react in the same way. Therefore, it is always essential, both for the patient and professional, that this conversation takes place.
Having this conversation is important, but can be difficult depending on the expectations of each person. Some people may think that they simply just need some medicine to feel better, or that finding the right medication can help solve all of their problems with anxiety, depression, or other emotional instabilities brought about by addiction recovery. However, explaining the reasons for not jumping into medication immediately due to not having this information at hand can help open a dialogue, not just about the root of their issues, but also their goals and expectations for medication.
Work With Them to Set Goals and Expectations
It is also important to explain to each person that there isn’t going to be a medication that is going to solve all of their problems or eliminate the need for therapy. While patients may not overtly ask this, it is important to bring up as they may have these kinds of underlying expectations. When addressing medication, it is important to go over the various ways that medication can assist their recovery, rather than replace the recovery process.
It is also important to note that medications may not begin to take effect immediately and to help manage each person’s expectations when it comes to how much and how quickly a given medication will assist their recovery process.
Give Options When Possible
It may also help to take all of the information on various medications and present it to a person, coupled with all of the side effects, potential benefits, and potential risks that may be involved. Providing options and offering a choice of medications to a patient can be incredibly powerful and can help build a more trusting relationship between patient and professional. Providing options may not always be possible depending on the individual and their needs, but when it is possible, it can be empowering. Having a patient select the route that they believe may best help them can be the first step to helping them express agency over their addiction or mental health disorder, and thus they can approach their treatment with a sense of empowerment and confidence. Having them select a medication from a few curated options also showcases to a person that there are other options available, and which can help them stay confident in their treatment even in the case that a certain medication doesn’t work for them. Lastly, it can also help the prescriber so that if the medication doesn’t have the intended effect, there can be less blame put upon them, and instead, they can work together with the patient to try something new.
Medication-assisted treatment can be the extra push that someone needs in order to help them through difficult times in their recovery. However, it isn’t something to be taken lightly. Patients and professionals working together to create expectations and determine options is important in approaching the subject of medication with the necessary caution and optimism that it requires in order to create a positive outlook on the recovery process.
Addiction recovery is a difficult and complicated process. Being as comfortable as possible while taking the first steps towards sobriety can help mitigate many of the difficulties that someone may face. At Alta Centers, their luxurious approach to the detox phase of recovery can help provide you with the comfort and care that you need in order to tackle even the most difficult parts of recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and any of the mental health issues that may arise as a result of one’s addiction, Alta Centers can help you today by personalizing each program to fit your own needs in recovery. With comfort and professional, genuine, individualized care available, call Alta Centers today to schedule your first step towards sobriety. For more information on how Alta Centers can help you, call today to speak to a professionally trained staff member at (888) 202-2583.