If you have a loved one who struggles with drug addiction, you are not alone. According to a Pew Research Center survey, approximately 46% of U.S. adults say they have a family member or close friend who is or previously was addicted to drugs. Watching a loved one wrestle with addiction can be incredibly difficult, but there are steps you can take to help support their recovery. Below are some tips on how to help someone in medication-assisted treatment.
Educate Yourself About Medication-Assisted Treatment
Before you can offer your loved one medication-assisted treatment support, you need to learn what this type of treatment involves and how it differs from other addiction treatment programs. With medication-assisted treatment (commonly referred to as “MAT”), a medical provider prescribes medication to help wean patients off the substances to which they are addicted. This is different from many traditional addiction treatment programs that require participants to detox entirely.
Friends and family members often question the efficacy of medication-assisted treatment, believing that their loved ones are not truly in recovery if they are still using medication. But it is important to consider the many benefits offered by medication-assisted treatment. Not only does medication-assisted treatment help relieve withdrawal symptoms, but it can also reduce the risk of relapses and overdoses. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, individuals who receive medication as part of their opioid addiction treatment are 75% less likely to die because of addiction as compared to those who do not receive medication.
Check In on Your Loved One
If you are searching for how to help someone with medication-assisted treatment, one of the best things you can do is regularly check in on them. This is especially important if you do not live under the same roof. Individuals with addiction issues often experience loneliness during recovery, since they usually try to keep their distance from acquaintances who are still using drugs, but also may not yet feel ready to reconnect with their sober friends. Unfortunately, this loneliness can increase the chances of a relapse, so it is important to routinely reach out and offer words of encouragement.
Take Care of Yourself
You may be tempted to devote all of your time and energy to helping your loved one through the recovery process, but be careful not to neglect your own needs. As they say, you cannot pour from an empty cup, so it is important to continue eating a nutritious diet, exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking steps to reduce stress. Not only will this make it easier for you to show up for your loved one, but it will also model healthy behaviors that will benefit them during their recovery.
A Local Clinic Offering Medication-Assisted Treatment
If your loved one is interested in pursuing medication-assisted treatment but still needs to find a provider offering this type of addiction treatment program, you can refer them to Jovive Health. Our 100% doctor-owned and -led practice operates clinics in Cameron Park, CA; Chicago, IL; and Henderson, NV. We use buprenorphine/naloxone to treat opioid use disorder in patients over the age of 18, and we can also refer patients to the support services they need. Contact us today to learn more about our opioid treatment program.