Over 2.5 million Americans are affected by opioid use disorder (OUD). Further, in 2020, nearly 68,630 people died due to opioid overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids include prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Unfortunately, overdose numbers continue to rise year after year.

Undeniably, our country is in a dangerous condition due to opioid addiction and the shockingly high number of overdose deaths that have occurred in recent years. The morbidity and death rates linked to alcohol intake are still too high and are rising due to stimulant abuse. Relapse rates and readmission to treatment facilities serve as warning indications that all possible avenues for recovery must be taken into account.

Finding a Solution: Medication-Supported Recovery

If you are struggling with opioid abuse, you are not alone. There are millions of people struggling, and you are worthy of recovery. There are many different options for you to get the help you need. One of them is medication-supported recovery (MSR).

MSR is a specific approach to treatment that uses medication such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, to help individuals overcome their opioid addiction and manage symptoms. These can be used to treat anything from opioid abuse to alcohol abuse and smoking cessation. MSR encourages any medication that helps in recovery, not just those used to treat substance abuse.

Medications can help people finish treatment without the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany the cessation of drug or alcohol abuse. When an individual can focus on their recovery in treatment, they are more likely to succeed outside of a facility’s walls. Medications are tools and should be treated as such. They can help individuals become involved in their recovery and succeed.

MSR does not only include medications. Part of MSR is also developing a treatment plan with professionals to combine medication and therapy, giving you the best chance of long-term recovery success. A comprehensive MSR plan can:

  • Improve client survival
  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people struggling with substance use disorder (SUD)
  • Increase ability to gain and maintain employment
  • Improve birth outcomes in pregnant women struggling with SUD

Who Is MSR For?

MSR is an excellent option for those struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), OUD, and smoking. Some medications, like methadone, are most often used only in the detox phase. However, medications like buprenorphine and Vivitrol can be used past the detox stage for maintenance.

Common Misconceptions

Many people believe that by using MSR, you are just switching one drug for another, from an illegal drug that gets you high to prescription medications that can also get you high. However, these types of medications do not induce a feeling of being high.

Medications in MSR are used as a form of treatment. They can help reduce cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. They can also help restore the balance in the brain after potential damage caused by addictive substances. The use of these drugs helps the client focus on recovery and not the need to use.

Precautions With Medications

While medications used in MSR are beneficial, they still should be used under the guidance of treatment professionals. Even though medications like buprenorphine do not get you high and block the effects of opioids, they still should be taken with precaution. Clients who miss one dose of buprenorphine can use opioids and feel the effects. Due to this, it is essential to have treatment professionals monitor their use and create a plan for an eventual taper. While using medications in MSR, it is recommended clients still engage in a recovery program.

Medication Options

Three different types of medications help treat SUD:

  1. Agonists: These medications counteract withdrawal symptoms by stimulating the same brain regions as specific drugs. Even though they imitate the effects of illicit substances, they only have a slight impact. The primary agonist used in MSR is methadone.
  2. Antagonists: These medications prevent the impact of opioids. They consist of naltrexone and naloxone.
  3. Mixed agonist-antagonists: These medications can inhibit the effects of opioids while slightly activating brain opioid receptors and reducing withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine and the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone are among these medications.

These medications normalize body processes, reduce cravings, prevent the effects of alcohol and opioids, and restore normal brain chemistry. Finding the best course of action for treatment is crucial. Working with professionals through this process will help you be the most successful.

Moving Past Shame and Stigma

Eliminating the stigma associated with utilizing medication as a recovery tool can help people find new paths to reclaiming a happy, fulfilled life. MSR can keep people involved in treatment and make them active participants in their rehabilitation, enhancing their relationships, chances for success in the workplace and school, and emotional health. MSR is an effective tool that helps people in early recovery experience newfound optimism in finding meaning and value in life when combined and continued counseling and peer support.

If you are struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), you are not alone; millions of people across the globe are also struggling. You may feel at a loss on how to move forward and live successfully without the use of substances. With the help of medication-supported recovery (MSR), you can be successful at beating this disease. At Excel Treatment Center, we can help you begin your journey in recovery and start living a happy and fulfilled life. Our mission is to provide exceptional treatment using clinical services, psychiatric treatment options, and family support choices. With the use of MSR, our facility can help you overcome SUD and create the life you deserve. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol or opioid abuse, we are here to help. Call Excel Treatment Center today at (833) 883-9235 to discuss our treatment options. 

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