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What Should I Expect During Treatment for Opioid Addiction?

by Nick

If you’re ready to quit using opioids, you don’t have to do it alone. There are many opioid addiction treatment options available for those seeking help. For many patients, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) offers a safer and more effective recovery solution. This combination of FDA-approved medications and addiction counseling is considered the gold standard for opioid addiction treatment.

If you’re preparing to begin treatment, here’s what to expect when recovering from opioids using MAT.

The Three Phases of MAT

Before starting MAT with methadone, buprenorphine or another FDA-approved medication, it’s important to understand the process and set realistic opioid recovery expectations. Patients who participate in a treatment program for opioid addiction should be willing to comply with that program’s policies and procedures.

There are three distinct phases involved in opioid addiction treatment — induction, stabilization and maintenance.

Induction Phase

Depending on what type of opioid you are addicted to, you will need to stop using that substance 12 to 48 hours before treatment begins. MAT treatment can only start once moderate signs of withdrawal appear.

During your induction phase, the clinic will perform both a medical and clinical assessment called intake. The components of intake can be done on the same day or at separate appointments. Your intake will include:

  • Orientation to the program’s policies and procedures
  • A review of your social and drug history
  • Urinalysis to determine what opioids and other substances you have taken
  • A physical exam with the program’s medical provider
  • Referrals for additional medical or mental health care, if needed

During induction, the program’s medical provider will also determine your proper dose. The right dose of medication will relieve withdrawal symptoms and help you manage cravings. Your medical provider may adjust the dosage to ensure the intended results are achieved.

Stabilization Phase

Once the correct dosage is determined, you will continue into the stabilization phase. Along with taking daily medication, you will work with a licensed counselor to build your individualized treatment plan and identify your recovery goals. The medication allows you to focus on examining the causes and outcomes of your addiction without the physical stress of withdrawal symptoms or cravings. During stabilization, you will learn more about:

  • The disease of addiction
  • Relapse prevention and coping skills
  • Other topics related to recovery
  • HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis C testing and treatment

Stabilization also involves support services that allow you to start exploring your post-addiction future.

Maintenance Phase

The final phase involves maintaining your recovery journey. During this phase, you will continue to meet with a physician and nurse practitioner to discuss medical concerns and receive your therapeutic dose of medication. You will also continue counseling as you work toward long-term recovery. As part of your program’s policies, your care may include occasional drug screenings and breathalyzer tests. During this phase, many start to feel that the things once lost have been restored, and that they can once again contribute to their families and communities in a productive way.

Learn More About Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid addiction, Health Care Resource Centers is here for you. At HCRC, we offer medication-assisted treatment, supportive counseling and personalized care to help you break the chains of opioid dependence. Learn how you can get started with recovery or reach out to us directly to learn about our evidence-based services.

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