Opioid addiction is a chronic disease, like heart disease or diabetes. A chronic disease is a medical condition for life. It cannot be cured, but it can be managed. A person with addiction can regain a healthy, productive life. Most people cannot just walk away from addiction. They need help to change addictive behavior into nonaddictive, healthful patterns. They can get this help with treatment—with the care of doctors and substance abuse treatment providers.
Treatment helps people stop using the problem drug. It helps them get through withdrawal and cope with cravings. Treatment also helps them move away from other harmful behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or abusing other drugs. Just as important, treatment helps people address life issues they might have that are tied to the addiction, such as feelings of low self-worth, a bad situation at work or home, or spending time with people who use drugs. In short, treatment helps people move into healthy, addiction-free lifestyles—into a way of living referred to as recovery.
Medication-assisted treatment is treatment for addiction that includes the use of medication along with counseling and other support. Treatment that includes medication is often the best choice for opioid addiction. This booklet provides helpful information about medication-assisted treatment from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
Source: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 09-4443. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2009, revised 2011.