Abstinence-based rehabilitation versus drug-assisted programs (2023)

Given the diverse nature of addiction, it makes sense that there are multiple approaches to treating and rehabilitating addicts. With the different types of programs available for alcoholics and addicts, finding recovery programs that work best for the individual is highly recommended.

In recent years, physician-assisted treatment programs have become the next big thing in treating opioid addiction, but the differences between the programs are still very confusing for people.Medically Assisted Treatmentand abstinence-based rehabilitation programs.

Let's talk about the treatment.

Long the standard of rehab for alcoholics and addicts, abstinence-based rehab is mostly what one thinks of when imagining treatment. It is usually an inpatient unit, lasting between 30 and 90 days, where the person is separated from their life to focus on addiction recovery.

Fortunately, this method has improved a lot over the last century, as treatment used to be basically a detox session in a hospital where the doctors had no idea how to treat addiction and it was “3 times, you're out”. " " Mentality. In other words, if a person went back into detox three or more times, they would often undergo a lobotomy and remain in psychiatry for the rest of their lives.

Drug abuse treatment is very different today. We can confirm many of these changes in the formation ofAlcoholics Anonymousand how much they have done to bring about change and promote an open dialogue about what addiction is and how to successfully treat it.

As a result of this discussion, it was recognized that many people who struggle with substance abuse also struggle with other mental disorders, such as:

  • Depression
  • Suffering
  • Bipolar disorder
  • borderline personality disorder
  • post traumatic stress disorder
  • Eating disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • TOC

This finding allowed for a more in-depth and constructive treatment approach for people with substance use disorder, as untreated mental disorders often lead to relapse.

abstinence-based rehab

Most treatment centers across the country are primarily abstinence programs. This simply means that there are no drugs or alcohol that a person can abuse. A prolonged stay in these centers is usually required and during this time the patient is subjected to an intensive form of psychotherapy and healing in the hope of returning to life sober and cured.

As the United States and the rest of the world continues to be plagued by an increasing rate of addiction, research programs have expanded our ideas of what constitutes effective treatment. Over the past few decades, experiential and adventure programs have worked to provide a “whole health” approach that allows people to not only recover physically from substances, but also heal mentally and spiritually. Some of these newer programs offer healing activities such as:

  • yoga and meditation
  • Adventure activities (kayaking, rafting, climbing, surfing, gardening, hiking, camping, sailing, skiing, etc.)
  • Experimental therapy methods such as horse and pet therapy and music therapy.
  • Based on service work (volunteer work)
  • based on religion

Abstinence-based treatment has long been the norm and is usually as effective for the individual as the individual is willing to accept. They vary in their price ranges and most substance abuse treatment centers accept insurance as a viable payment option for treatment.

There are thousands of such treatment programs across the country, and looking at different corners of the map opens up whole new doors to experiencing the natural setting, different activities, and different types of treatment depending on where you choose to go to get sober.

Abstinence-based rehabilitation versus drug-assisted programs (1)

The creation of drug-assisted treatment programs.

Abstinence-based programs have shown both positive and negative effects over the years, and research has begun to show that abstinence-based treatment alone may not be the most effective form of treatment for everyone.

Confronted with the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic, people found that no matter how many times they sought treatment, once they quit, they just couldn't stop using the drug. People began to believe that the treatment was not enough or that it was not worth it. This niche has led to extensive drug research and development to find an alternative for people who are unable to stay sober on their own.

This led to the creation of drug-assisted treatment programs that are now hailed by many government officials as the only solution to the current opioid epidemic.

Medication-assisted therapy programs

In addition to the usual behavioral therapy approach described in the context of the traditional abstinence-based treatment modality, drug-assisted therapy programs are specifically designed to treat opiate and alcohol users with substitution drugs.

These medications are designed to reduce cravings, ease opioid or alcohol withdrawal, and facilitate the withdrawal and recovery process for people considered "chronic relapses."

There are several forms of medication that can be used in these programs, and some programs use one, the other, or all three. Medications used primarily in drug-assisted treatment programs are:

  • methadone– This is an outpatient clinical opioid agonist that does not block other narcotics. It is administered in a specially certified clinic in the form of a liquid drink. It is said to reduce cravings for opiates. This medication has been used since World War II, but it has been known to cause prolonged and excruciatingly painful withdrawal symptoms in people who take it for extended periods of time.
  • naltrexone- Naltrexone is mainly given by a doctor or as part of a treatment and counteracts the effects of other opioids. This means that a person taking naltrexone will not get high when using another form of opioid.naltrexoneit's a little newer on the scene and has been used to help people kick the addictive use of opioids, alcohol, and even nicotine. It is given as a daily pill or monthly injection.
  • Buprenorphine– Also known as Suboxone, it is an opioid blocker intended to help people stop using opioids. Taking this medication almost eliminates the intoxication experienced by any other opioid and can even cause excessive nausea and vomiting when a person tries using other opioids. This is the most commonly administered drug in treatment settings, but it is also known to be addictive as it can induce a euphoria of its own. Administration is done by daily pill, film on the cheeks or as an implant that can last for 6 months.

One of the advantages of drug-assisted treatment programs is that people can use them in or outside of a traditional treatment setting. For example, many people are unable to walk away from life for 30 days or more to seek treatment, so they continue to use. These could be single parents, breadwinners, people without health insurance, etc.

Medication-assisted treatment programs offer people who are unable to seek treatment the opportunity to stay sober from the dangerous drug that has ruined their lives.

On the other hand, people who opt for hospital treatment also have the option of receiving drug therapy in addition to psychological counseling and psychological therapy. Many people who have attended multiple treatment centers in the past and still have difficulty staying sober have found that MAT programs have allowed them to focus more on psychotherapeutic work during their stay in treatment.

Until you have to stop taking the medicine.

o debate

The main anger that many people, especially those in recovery, feel against drug-assisted treatment programs is that they tolerate substitution of their substance of choice, which can lead to long-term dependence or a substituted dependence.

Many people believe that abstinence-based programs promote whole-body sobriety, while drug assistance programs encourage people to remain dependent on a substance. However, there is research and more drug treatment is needed, as the results have been shown to be extremely beneficial in preventing recurrence.

The way MAT programs work is based primarily on a tapering process that eventually slowly wean you off the adjuvant medications. The aim is to ensure that the user does not have to abruptly stop using an opioid or an alcoholic substance, which will hopefully help prevent cravings and relapse.

While there is still intense debate as to whether MAT programs simply allow users to switch to another drug of choice, research has shown that they have helped to save many lives. The best thing you can do is seek drug treatment and talk to your family, your treatment center, your doctor and yourself to decide whether you'd rather go through the hellish three to five days of detox now or taper off to another substance later. in your life, sobriety. .

I'm looking for help with addiction issues.

If you think you need treatment for your addiction and want to know how to stop, call our free 24-hour helpline: (855) 211-7837. We can help you to refer you tonearest quality substance abuse treatment centerand help you decide the best course of action for you or a loved one struggling with drug addiction. While it can be daunting to take the first step into your new life in recovery, know that there are caring people who are there to help you with any issues that arise.

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