Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has become a much more accepted part of the recovery and treatment industry. Still though, people often struggle with determining how long MAT should last. Should it be used short-term to help people get through initial withdrawal? Or should people plan to be on MAT indefinitely?
The truth is, there are as many answers to these questions as there are people on MAT. Individualization is the key because everyone’s addiction and recovery process are different.
An Individualized Approach to Recovery
There is not one single cause of addiction, and similarly, there is not just one path to recovery. Biology, previous trauma/s, cultural values, emotional regulation skills, family background and innumerable other factors play a role in both the development of addiction and the pathway of recovery. For these reasons, we should view MAT the way we do any other medication.
Are there people who get on antidepressants or insulin who at some point can come off these life-saving medications? The answer is yes. But are there people who need to stay on antidepressants or insulin their entire lives? The answer here is an obvious yes as well. That’s how MAT should be approached. The collaborative decision-making process between physician and patient is the only way to determine how medication should be used and when and how it should be stopped.
Treating Addiction as a Disease
If it is true that addiction is a disease, it is time we treat it like a disease. Most of us would never demand a person with another chronic disease only use medication for an arbitrarily specified period. We shouldn’t do that with MAT either. When a person is ready to seek recovery, whether through medication or other means, we need to be supportive and help that person make decisions based on their unique history, beliefs, and values, and in conjunction with qualified healthcare professionals. This isn’t to say that everyone should be on medication either. Multiple pathways to recovery include pathways that don’t utilize medication. Any pathway that help people live meaningful lives in recovery are valid.
At kathy ireland® Recovery Centers, we believe medication can help people stay alive, but it is the psychotherapeutic treatment and recovery support that teaches people how to live.
About kathy ireland® Recovery Centers – Laconia
kathy ireland® Recovery Centers – Laconia (ki®RC) merges the brand of excellence of kathy ireland® Worldwide with the management expertise of Ascension Recovery Services. ki®RC provides treatment across the continuum for people struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. ki®RC – Laconia provides Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient services to aid clients in their recovery journey. Managed by Ascension Recovery Services, ki®RC – Laconia’s leadership team has decades of experience in the industry and brings the requisite expertise to assist in providing focused, high-quality care.