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Medication-Assisted Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Do you have co-occurring disorders and wonder if you can get medication-assisted treatment? MAT treatment when you have co-occurring conditions is possible. Let’s look at how MAT treatment works and what challenges someone may face if they have a substance use disorder and a mental health condition.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment is used to help individuals with substance use disorders that typically involve opioids or alcohol. The MAT medications are used in place of the individual’s drug of choice to help alleviate cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The FDA has approved three medications for MAT therapy, including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

  • Methadone – Helps alleviate cravings and withdrawal symptoms from opioid cessation.
  • Buprenorphine – This medication is a partial opioid agonist and can be used to help with mental health issues and addiction.
  • Naltrexone – Unlike other MAT medications, naltrexone is used to block the effects of opioid drugs.

What challenges do people with a dual diagnosis face with MAT?

Treatment for co-occurring disorders can complicate the process and make adhering to treatment more difficult. This is because the individual’s substance abuse and mental health disorders must be treated together to achieve the best outcome.

Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders Is Complex

Finding good MAT programs can be difficult for individuals with addiction and mental health issues. This is because all medications used to treat both conditions must be coordinated, and all healthcare providers must communicate with each other.

The Medications for MAT Therapy and the Mental Health Condition Must be Scrutinized

Due to the risk of drug interactions between the MAT medication and the mental health condition, the medications used for both treatments must be thoroughly researched to prevent drug interactions.

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It Can Be Difficult to Maintain Adherence to the Treatments

Some individuals may struggle with adhering to all of the aspects of the dual-diagnosis treatment program. This is because mood changes or how the individual feels physically may impact their desire to attend all therapy sessions and adhere to their medication schedules. In addition, some individuals may have become addicted to their drug of choice because they were self-medicating their mental health condition. If the individual feels like the professional treatment isn’t working, they may try to return to their previous habit of self-medication.

Fear of Being Stigmatized May Impact Treatment

Individuals with co-occurring disorders may fear being stigmatized by society, and they may even feel ashamed or judge themselves for having both an addiction and a mental health issue. This can negatively impact their willingness to get treatment or adhere to the treatment program once they enter their dual diagnosis program.

How do people with a dual diagnosis benefit from MAT?

MAT treatment in individuals with co-occurring disorders can improve outcomes. The MAT treatment helps control cravings and withdrawal symptoms so that the individual can focus on their recovery and move forward in a positive direction, free from addiction. Once the withdrawal symptoms are managed, the individual enters therapy for both their addiction and their mental health. This allows the individual to fully engage in their therapy sessions to receive the maximum benefits of the program.

How does MAT differ for dual-diagnosis patients from those with a singular diagnosis?

Individuals who need dual diagnosis treatment must undergo a more rigorous intake screening. This is because the depth and breadth of the addiction and the mental health disorder must be known to customize the treatment program for maximum effectiveness.

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MAT programs that also offer treatment for mental health conditions must pay particular attention to the prescribed medications to prevent interactions and ensure effectiveness. This requires researching the medications and monitoring the individual for potentially unwanted side effects. When needed, medications and dosages may have to be adjusted.

Relapse prevention is also critically important. For individuals who were self-medicating their mental health issues, their risk of a relapse is higher. If they feel like their current professional treatment isn’t working, they may try to return to their old habits. For these reasons, it’s important for individuals with co-occurring disorders to receive extra instruction and support for relapse prevention. This can include developing a relapse prevention plan, joining support groups, and participating in ongoing therapy. These individuals may also benefit from having a mentor and speaking with recovery coaches who can help them through the treatment process.

Dual Diagnosis and MAT Therapy at Mind and Body Wellness

We can help you at Mind and Body Wellness if you need treatment for co-occurring disorders. Our treatment center offers MAT programs that include mental health treatment for a wide range of diagnoses, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar, eating disorders, and PTSD.

To learn more about our treatment options and how we can help you if you have co-occurring disorders, call us at 615-637-1532.