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Why Abstinence-Based Rehab Programs Aren't The Solution

1/23/18

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The opioid epidemic is growing worse every day, and one of the biggest obstacles to recovery is the dominance of outdated, abstinence-only rehabilitation programs. Abstinence-based programs have a success rate of only 5% to 10%, yet these programs are some of the most popular treatments for addiction. Let's be blunt: abstinence-based recovery, the "cold turkey" approach, rarely helps opioid and heroin addicts recover.

Why is this the case? Addiction is a disease that alters the body's functioning. And like a disease, a patient can't improve their health with willpower alone. For this reason, treatment professionals have been urging those who are addicted to substances to turn to medication-based treatments for opioid addiction.

Why Don't Abstinence-Only Programs Work for Most Heroin Addicts?
Abstinence-only programs rely on a single approach to treating those suffering from addiction. Using cognitive therapy, these programs attempt to rehabilitate patients by changing their way of thinking and behaving.

However, not all patients are the same or respond to treatment the same. In fact, those who are addicted to heroin and OxyContin need different treatment and care compared to those who suffer from alcoholism or cocaine addiction.

What's more, when the body doesn't receive the usual dose of an addictive substance, the body responds by going through what's called withdrawal. These symptoms can be severe enough to drive a patient away from the idea of recovery.

Does Methadone Work? Treatments For Opioid Addiction
Ultimately, those suffering from addiction are capable of recovery when given proper therapeutic treatment. Compared to abstinence-only programs, methadone treatment programs have a success rate of 60% to 90%.

For 30 years, medication has been viewed as a crutch by abstinence-only programs and thus largely ignored. But does methadone work? Science shows it does.

Methadone helps to block the pain receptors in the brain, reducing withdrawal symptoms as well as blocking substance cravings. Controlled doses of methadone paired with psychiatric care make it a highly successful treatment program.

Additionally, methadone treatments can be altered to fit the patient's addiction. Patients may either be treated on a short-term or long-term program with their medication adjusted as needed by medical professionals. Patients can't become addicted to methadone while on the program and therefore don't need to worry about trading one addiction for another.

Opioid addiction can be an overwhelming experience. Contact Sundance Methadone Treatment Center today for more information on how medication-based programs can help you.


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