Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) can help a person suffering from Opioid Use Disorder gain a life they never knew possible. According to National Institute of Health (NIH) research, MAT is proven to reduce overdoses. Among other benefits, medical literature supports that Medically Assisted Treatment is effective in increasing retention in treatment centers, increasing the person’s ability to maintain employment, and improving birth outcomes for pregnant women.
For 22 years, Amanda Grim battled addiction. She will tell you she was hopeless, jobless, and homeless. However, that started to change in July 2017, when she entered ARC’s Louisa Outpatient Center. Now, she’s a homeowner, runs a business, and recently graduated with a college degree. Here are her takeaways from her experience with Medically Assisted Treatment:
1. MAT is not just about medicine. Medically Assisted Treatment Programs use medication paired with clinical counseling, peer support groups, and other therapeutic techniques.
2. There are a lot of misconceptions about MAT programs. Talk to your doctor, treatment team, and people who have used MAT to get the truth about these programs and whether they are right for you.
3. MAT can reduce cravings, leaving room to build a strong recovery foundation by working on goals, building relationships in small groups, gaining employment, gaining custody of children, and many more opportunities.
4. These medications aren’t a permanent solution, although it may be appropriate for some people to take them for longer periods of time than others. Many people work towards the goal of getting to the point where medicine is no longer needed.
5. You decide (along with your doctor and treatment team) what your treatment program should look like. Everyone’s recovery looks different, don’t let people deter you from doing something that works for you. This is a life and death situation, so don’t let others decide for you.
According to Dr. Sarah Johnson, an addiction psychiatrist with ARC, “There is no one answer to treating addiction. It is most important for treating providers to educate patients on all of their options when considering treatment plans, and medication-assisted treatment can be a great tool for many of them.”