Taking the first step into a recovery program is a cause for celebration; it takes immense courage to acknowledge the need for help and sobriety. However, it is also a time of tremendous change, and facing all of these life changes can be exceptionally difficult. Between navigating withdrawal symptoms, establishing coping strategies, and creating a new daily routine, the early stages of treatment and recovery efforts are filled with personal transformations, new perspectives, and new practices. 

While building new recovery and social skills are an essential part of the recovery process, some may need additional support to cope with intense withdrawal symptoms or manage prevalent urges and cravings. Medication can provide this extra degree of support. 

However, while medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be instrumental in effectively navigating detox and early recovery, it is not necessary for every person. Whether or not MAT is suitable for an individual depends on a person’s unique needs, goals, and challenges throughout recovery. 

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

MAT is a proven and effective approach to detox and recovery. By working with trained professionals and being open about challenges and needs in recovery, medication can be utilized for many great benefits. 

For some, medication can be used to quell withdrawal symptoms, which alleviates feelings of anxiety and depression. It also helps an individual get a full night of sleep to ensure they are well-rested for the challenges to come. Others may need support addressing how their brain has been affected by the use of drugs or alcohol, returning their biochemistry to a healthy homeostasis. 

Medication can also be used to help placate urges or cravings that riddle an individual’s sober journey and threaten relapse. This ensures that an individual is maintaining their hard-earned sobriety following success in detox and into a center for alcohol and drug treatment.

While MAT is an incredible resource, it is not a replacement for other therapies or education. Active engagement in therapeutic recovery practices is still essential. Setting appropriate expectations and understanding the role medication plays is crucial for determining if MAT is right for each unique circumstance.

Setting Expectations

While medication can help with a wide array of challenges, it is not an effective approach to treatment or recovery on its own. 

Medication Does Not Replace Coping Strategies

Medication can enable an individual to focus better on practicing grounding strategies or other therapeutic techniques; however, it is not a replacement for these skills. Continued engagement in individual and group sessions, developing hobbies, practicing social skills, and engaging in spiritual healing are all still necessary. Medication cannot replace these dedicated efforts or experiences. 

An overreliance or unhealthy expectation of medication can lead to gaps in recovery strategies and progress. Personalized coping strategies are essential for sustained and healthy sobriety, and MAT is the key to developing these effective skills, not their replacement.

Medication Does Not Mean There Will Be No Challenges

Likewise, medication does not completely eliminate the challenges of detox and recovery. Individuals will still battle withdrawal symptoms as well as emotional and physiological changes throughout detox. 

Medication — paired with educated, professional support — is intended to help each individual navigate this time in the safest possible way. Expecting MAT to eliminate these trials altogether can leave an individual ill-prepared to cope with the challenges presented. 

Determining the Right Approach to Medication-Assisted Treatment

The kinds of medication available depend on a number of factors, including what substances were being used, the frequency and intensity, the symptoms present, age, and more. Discussing these things with professionals is crucial for finding a suitable medication for each individual. 

However, not all people react to medications in the same way. Continuing to discuss the effects of medication with professionals is necessary to refine an individual’s prescription and create the best opportunity for healing with the support of MAT. 

Using journals to document an individual’s experiences while using a particular medication and watching for any changes in attitude or other side effects can help create the best approach to safely utilizing MAT. 

Finding Your Own Path

There are as many paths to a sober future as there are people; no two journeys will be the same. For some, the use of medication can be the extra push needed to develop their own best practices and sober lifestyle. However, medication is not necessary for a healthy future, and it is always possible to navigate recovery without using it. 

Detox and recovery will never be without their hardships, but dedicated support and personalized coping strategies can all guide an individual through this transition to a life of sobriety. Finding each individual’s best path is crucial, and developing strategies that work — with or without the use of medication — is what makes each recovery so personal and effective. 

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective approach to help you cope with the intense changes and symptoms of addiction and recovery. We at Hawaii Island Recovery understand that each journey to a healthy, sober future is unique, and we are prepared to help you find your own best practices and approach to your sober future. Medically supervised detox, residential, and outpatient care are all available to you here. Our rehab in Hawaii can customize your recovery program to find a truly effective approach to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. Our blend of proven therapeutic practices and the unique natural and spiritual opportunities of Hawaii create a transformative experience bolstered by an accepting and supportive community. For more information on how Hawaii Island Recovery can personalize your time with us, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (866) 390-5070.