Long-Term Maintenance with Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder medication is highly effective in treating opioid addiction. With over 2 million people in the United States suffering from opioid use disorder, it’s important to know what these medications are and how they work.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of long-term maintenance with opioid use disorder medication. We’ll also explore the challenges individuals may face when maintaining this treatment. Finally, we’ll also provide tips on maintaining long-term medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
Understanding Opioid Use Disorder Medications
Opioid use disorder is a chronic disease that affects the brain and body. It is characterized by compulsive opioid use despite negative consequences, such as health problems, social and occupational dysfunction, and legal issues. Opioid use disorder medication is a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) used to treat opioid addiction. MAT combines medications with behavioral therapy to address the biological, social, and psychological aspects of opioid addiction.
Medications Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment
There are three FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Each of these medications works differently, but they all help individuals with opioid use disorder to reduce their dependence on opioids and achieve long-term recovery.
Methadone is an opioid agonist medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but it does not produce the same euphoric effects. Methadone is typically administered through a methadone clinic or opioid treatment program.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but it produces weaker effects. Buprenorphine can be prescribed by a qualified provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner, and taken home.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist medication used to block the effects of opioids. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but it does not produce any results. Naltrexone can be administered orally or by injection and does not produce physical dependence.
Advantages of Using Opioid Use Disorder Medication
There are many advantages to opioid use disorder medication to treat opioid addiction. First and foremost, medication-assisted treatment is highly effective in reducing the risk of relapse and improving social and occupational functioning. By reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids, individuals can better focus on their recovery and improve their quality of life.
In addition, opioid use disorder medication can help reduce the risk of overdose, a significant concern for individuals with opioid use disorder. Opioid use disorder medication can also improve mental health and reduce the risk of co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety.
Challenges to Long-Term Maintenance with Opioid Use Disorder Medication
While there are many benefits to long-term maintenance with opioid use disorder medication, there are also several challenges that individuals may face. First, stigma is a significant challenge, as many still view medication-assisted treatment as “replacing one addiction with another.” This can make it difficult for individuals to seek and maintain long-term medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
Access to treatment is another challenge, as many areas of the country still lack adequate resources for opioid use disorder treatment. In addition, patient adherence can be challenging, as individuals may struggle to follow their treatment plan or stop taking their medication altogether. Managing side effects, such as constipation or nausea, can be challenging for some individuals.
Tips for Maintaining Long-Term Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
Despite the challenges individuals may face when maintaining long-term medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, several strategies can be helpful. These include:
- Finding a supportive healthcare provider: Having a healthcare provider, like Confidant Health, who understands and supports MAT for opioid use disorder can be crucial. Confidant Health is an app that provides confidential and discreet access to expert help for MAT so that more people can get the treatment they need. In addition, they can help individuals manage side effects and adjust their treatment plans.
- Building a support network: Having a support network of friends, family, or peers who understand and support MAT can be beneficial. Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery can also provide a supportive community for individuals in recovery.
- Managing triggers and stressors: Identifying and managing triggers and stressors that can lead to opioid use can be vital to maintaining long-term MAT. This can include avoiding people, places, or situations that trigger cravings. Developing healthy coping strategies for managing stress is also essential.
- Staying engaged in treatment: Regularly attending appointments with a healthcare provider and participating in therapy or counseling can help individuals remain engaged in their recovery and maintain long-term compliance with MAT.
Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Lasting Recovery: Maintaining Long-Term Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder medication is a highly effective treatment option for individuals suffering from opioid addiction. It can help to reduce the risk of relapse and improve social and occupational functioning. Additionally, it may help reduce the risk of overdose.
However, long-term maintenance with opioid use disorder medication can also present challenges. But individuals can maintain long-term medication-assisted treatment through various ways. Achieving a lasting recovery from opioid use disorder is possible through the right strategies.