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Opioid Addiction and Medication Assisted Treatment Questions


What is addiction?

Addiction is a primary, chronic, and relapsing brain disease characterized by a loss of control and compulsive substance use continued despite social consequences and physical harm. Addiction to opioids is termed opioid use disorder.

What is medication-assisted treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in conjunction with counseling and behavior therapies to treat substance use disorders. At Ringgold Treatment Center, the medication used is methadone.

Is MAT the right treatment modality for me?

Individuals with a history of continued substance abuse (more than one year), who have been unsuccessful at quitting may benefit from MAT.  Before being admitted to Ringgold Treatment Center, individuals are evaluated by clinical and medical staff to determine if MAT is appropriate. 

What is methadone?

Methadone is a medication that is used in the context of treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings in people addicted to opiates. When used in therapeutic amounts, methadone does not cause a euphoric feeling or high. Methadone has successfully been used in treatment of opiate addiction for over 40 years. 

Addiction and Methadone Treatment Links
How long does treatment last?

There is no set timeline for medication assisted treatment. Some individuals are able to taper off of treatment once stabilized, while treatment may last many years for others. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends a minimum of 12 months in comprehensive methadone maintenance treatment to increase the chances of long term success in abstinence [NIDA (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)]. The length of time in treatment must ultimately be decided by the patient. Our medical and clinical staff can assist patients in making this decision.

Is MAT just replacing one addiction with another?

No! MAT is a treatment for opioid addiction, not a substitute. This is an unfortunate myth, fueled by lack of information, which contributes to the stigma surrounding MAT. Medication-assisted treatment involves far more than just medication alone. Medication is a tool used to prevent the extremes of opioid withdrawal and craving, enabling individuals to participate in other critical aspects of treatment such as counseling.  

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