You might be surprised to learn that when you take the first step towards sobriety and reach out to a recovery center, the next step in the journey is not to instantly start a treatment program.

Addiction is a complex and dangerous disorder, one that chemically changes how the brain functions so that it requires regular consumption of the substance in order to function. When a person stops consuming the substance and enters the initial stages of detoxification and sobriety, uncomfortable side effects known as withdrawals can manifest.

Medication-assisted treatment is the administration of specifically chosen medications throughout the detoxing process that will relieve some of the discomfort and better enable the individual to focus on the other areas of their recovery.

While medication-assisted treatment programs absolutely serve a purpose, it’s important to be fully informed about the effects of medication in general, but for your body in particular.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at medication-assisted treatment, and focus our discussion on the possibility of experiencing withdrawals after completing a medication-assisted treatment program.

What are withdrawals?

Withdrawals are triggered physical and psychological symptoms that manifest in an individual when they stop or suddenly reduce consumption of a substance they have a dependance on. 

Alcoholism, prescription and illicit substance use disorders can all produce withdrawal symptoms in a person. They will vary in severity and length of time they remain present in the individual because of additional factors such as level of nutrition, environmental influences, the state of your mental health and more.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Body aches, stiffness and soreness
  • Physical agitation, tremors or restlessness
  • Heightened stress and anxiety
  • Fatigue (regardless of sleep quality)
  • Vivid dreams or insomnia
  • Hallucinations and seizures

The type and intensity of withdrawal symptoms a person experiences are completely unique to themselves, and will vary from each individual. While certain people might experience mild, prolonged symptoms, others might experience severe, but short-term withdrawal effects.

The question we’re addressing in this article is whether or not a person can experience withdrawal symptoms after completing a medication-assisted treatment program.

What is medication-assisted treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment, commonly referred to as MAT, is the integration of specific medications into a treatment plan to provide more well-rounded support to the individual.

The baseline of treatment programs typically consists of various counseling and behavioral therapies and other methods of treatment; MAT combines medication with these services.

There are different reasons why a physician might recommend incorporating certain medications into your recovery plan. Maybe there are chemical imbalances in your brain that could be rebalanced easier with a prescription, or lingering withdrawal symptoms from your detox that a prescription could help ease. 

One thing to consider before adding a new substance in your life is the new potential for dependence and additional withdrawals from the medication that it will bring.

MAT withdrawals

While medication-assisted treatment programs have been shown to be effective in supporting recovery outcomes, it’s also important to recognize there’s still a potential for dependance with certain drugs. 

Many medications used in MAT act similarly to nicotine gum, where a controlled dose is administered to facilitate weaning off the drug, rather than quitting cold turkey (which is not always the best or safest route)

It’s important to understand that MAT is not a one-size-fits-all method. One person might be able to take medication every day for eight weeks and quit with no problem, another individual might find themselves dependent on the medication after a few weeks. This is why consultations with professional addiction recovery specialists are essential when you’re ready to begin recovery.

If you or someone you love is getting ready to ease off medication-assisted treatment (or potentially start it for the first time), we can help you figure out if it’s the right option for you.

Begin recovery today

Here at October Road, you receive personalized treatment that’s designed to help you improve not one but all areas of your health moving forwards. With expert physicians who are trauma-informed and veteran-aware, our behavioral health and substance recovery programs are designed with your full-spectrum health and overall well-being in mind.

It’s okay if you aren’t entirely sure what type of service will best support you in this time of your life; that’s what we’re here to help you figure out. Whether you’re ready to enroll in one of our programs or not, our team here at October Road is ready to listen and serve in whatever way we can.

To learn more about medication-assisted treatment, you can send us a message or give us a call today at 888-201-5086.

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