Opioid addiction is a brain disease that requires a treatment plan, just like other diseases. There are physical, psychological, and behavioral effects to address – and each person has unique needs. Your healthcare professional develops an individual treatment plan and recommends the beginning level of treatment intensity, with a plan to transition to lower intensity as various treatment goals are met.
The treatment intensity level is based on the person’s risk of withdrawal symptoms, as well as other healthcare, behavioral, emotional and cognitive factors. Everyone’s treatment plan is unique. It may not include all levels of care and is adapted as needs change. However, it’s good to remember that continuing care after initial treatment can be a key element in recovery.
Opioid dependence is a brain disease with both psychological and physical effects.
Medication-assisted treatment combines therapy and medication in recovery to address them.
Counseling treats the psychological aspects of addiction and helps teach people effective recovery skills to prevent relapse.
Medication targets the physical aspects. Physical effects of the disease occur in the limbic region of the brain and have to do with the way the brain reacts and adjusts to the constant presence of opioids.
Assessment and education.
Supportive recovery enviroment. Therapy.
Stuctured supportive environment. Increased therapy sessions. Possible hospitalization for withdrawal or other issues.
24-hour care, structured setting. May include medical, nursing or clinical care or monitoring. Increased therapy sessions.
24-hour nursing care, daily physician care. Highly structured environment. Therapeutic counseling services available.
Buprenorphine is administered as a sublingual tablet, extended-release subcutaneous injection or a subdermal implant as directed by your healthcare provider.
Buprenorphine/naloxone is a maintenance medication that prevents withdrawal symptoms. It does not require detox prior to starting and is used as part of a treatment program that requires counseling. Naloxone deters people from injecting the medication. Buprenorphine/naloxone is taken as a sublingual tablet or a sublingual film as directed by your healthcare provider.
Methadone is an opioid maintenance medication. It does not require detox prior to starting and is used as part of a treatment program that requires counseling. Methadone is taken as an oral solution, liquid concentrate, tablet or powder as directed by your healthcare provider.
Naltrexone is a medication that works by blocking the effects of opioids. It requires detox prior to starting and is used as part of a treatment program that requires counseling. Naltrexone is taken as a daily oral medication or a monthly injection as directed by your healthcare provider.
In group counseling, a person can learn from the experiences of others going through recovery. A counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist guides the group, providing opportunities to discuss issues that led to opioid dependence and ways to stay drug-free. For many people, talking to others with similar problems helps in their recovery and allows them to develop a support network.
One-on-one therapy with a counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist could be helpful for someone who prefers a more private setting over a group environment. It provides the opportunity to examine the issues that led to opioid dependence and strategies for change.
Programs like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are “12-step” programs that help people in recovery by helping support drug-free lifestyles. Meetings are usually led by people who have been through the program and are living successful lives in recovery.
Inpatient treatment in a hospital or residential treatment center gives around-the-clock recovery support in a live-in setting. It provides highly structured programs that generally offer both psychological and physical health assistance, including education, training and counseling for help in creating and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle.
Outpatient treatment doesn’t require overnight stays in a hospital or medical facility. Programs vary based on specific needs, but may run anywhere from a few sessions a week to nightly sessions. Because it’s generally more flexible than inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment gives people the flexibility to continue working and meeting personal responsibilities. However, it also places more responsibility on the individual to stay on the path to recovery.
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Alkermes does not endorse any particular peer support program. These programs are included as an example of some of the peer support programs that are available.