Every year, about 10.1 million Americans misuse opioids at least once, with 1.6 million of them suffering from opioid use disorder and over 70,000 resulting in death from overdose. The number of people suffering from opioid use disorder triggered the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to extend Medicare coverage to include opioid treatment programs that provide medication assisted treatment (MAT).
There are several types of drug addiction treatment available, but because the success of a person's recovery journey is personal; the treatment plan for one might not be the best for another. A recovery program is typically built on several drug addiction treatment options working collaboratively. The addiction treatment provider will recommend a plan following a thorough evaluation of the person's physical, emotional, and mental status.
This article discusses the different types of evidence-based treatment options for drug addiction and their benefits.
4 Types of Drug Addiction Treatment
Types of addiction treatment, also called levels of care, vary widely and are each customized to a person's needs. Individuals might have to go through several levels of care to successfully transition into recovery.
1. Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation
Inpatient treatment places the person under close monitoring while checked into a rehab clinic or hospital. Because it places one in round-the-clock contact with care providers, persons seeking to recover from substance use disorder will have all the resources necessary on hand. Inpatient care stays can last 28 days or more. It is recommended for patients who have serious medical or mental concerns that require 24/7 supervision, and do not have employment or family obligations.
Another type of inpatient, live-in care is in a residential rehabilitation facility, which is a stable environment designed for long-term treatment. Each facility will have its own set of rules for both residents and their loved ones, and the duration of the program can range from one month to a year. It is recommended for persons who have limited to no family support during treatment and those who have unstable work and living conditions.
Detox programs are designed to help people addicted to a substance safely go through withdrawal. The patient will be checked into a medical facility and will go through supervised medical detox off of the substance they have been abusing. Also called a supervised withdrawal (by a qualified healthcare provider), this program is not the behavioral therapy treatment per se, but instead, the first step to preparing for a treatment program that focuses on long-term recovery.
3. Intensive Outpatient Counseling (IOP)
Outpatient counseling is recommended for people who can handle their needs independently and can be relied on to attend regular counseling sessions and appointments. It is important that the person undergoing IOP has a stable home environment, a strong support system, and reliable means of transportation.
The duration of the program will depend on the health provider's recommendation; though most IOP programs last three to six months.
4. Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT)/Monthly Maintenance
MAT is the use of medications, alongside behavioral therapy and counseling, to provide a holistic approach to substance use disorder. The medications used in these types of drug addiction treatment are FDA-approved and administered by providers licensed to practice MAT. It is mainly used to treat opioid addiction, with the goal to block the euphoric effects of drugs, normalize one's brain chemistry and body functions, and stop cravings. There are also MAT options for alcohol abuse.
Patients in medication assisted therapy programs will start to come for sessions weekly and may eventually ease into a monthly maintenance schedule when the provider sees that the person is stable and ready. Patients who might need more intensive treatment might also be asked to undergo IOP while in a MAT program. MATClinics provides MAT (using Suboxone), behavioral health services (counseling), and services of a dedicated case manager.
Abstinence vs. MAT Options
A person who is suffering from substance use disorder will have many treatment options to consider, but the primary choice is between taking an abstinent or medication-based approach.
Abstinence-based treatment is when the person decides to go "cold turkey" and begin treatment without the use of any medications. There are those who see medications as a "crutch" to treat addiction and prefer to go through the recovery process through counseling sessions, peer sponsorships, and related strategies. The 12-step program is the most famous abstinence-based method, as adopted by Narcotics Anonymous.
However, the FDA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, among other agencies, define opioid addiction as a chronic disease that needs the same medical attention as the likes of diabetes and hypertension. It is for this reason that the medical community approves the use of MAT to treat substance use disorder.
The role of medication assisted therapy is to provide long-term recovery results in a way that improves patient survival, increases treatment retention, enhances the patient's ability to gain and maintain employment, among others. Because opioid addiction is a disease that affects how the brain functions, MAT works by blocking the brain receptors that induce cravings and preventing withdrawal symptoms without the "high" expected from taking medications.
Take a Safe and Sustainable Path to Recovery With MATClinics
MATClinics has treatment offices across Maryland, each with the purpose of helping individuals break free and recover from substance addiction. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, the first step towards a sustainable recovery is getting in touch with the caring health providers at any of the MATClinics offices nearest you today.