Addiction Medicine has come a long way.

For too long, addiction treatment wasn’t treated as a science and failed to meet basic evidence-based criteria for patient care. There simply weren’t many studies being done on the science of getting sober. Now that Addiction Medicine is a moderately funded branch of science, and a formally approved medical specialty, we know quite a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Today, let’s look at what the science says about pharmacotherapies and behavioral therapies for addiction treatment. There’s lots of good news here and reason for hope—treatment works if you approach it scientifically. 

Pharmacotherapies for Addiction Treatment 

Pharmacotherapies for addiction treatment are prescription drugs used to help patients get and stay sober in treatments known as Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT. MAT does not “replace one drug for another,” as detractors like to say. Treating addiction with medication is appropriate because addiction is a disease. None of the medications associated with MAT produce any meaningful “high” in patients. Instead, MAT medications provide a feeling of normalcy and the absence of cravings. 

MAT is considered the “gold standard” in treating opioid addiction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the World Health Center all agree that MAT is the best treatment for opioid addiction. Many studies (such as this one) have found that MAT cuts mortality rates by half (or more). 

Let’s look at some key findings about some of the MAT medications we use in treatment planning at Shanti Recovery and Wellness. 

Buprenorphrine and Suboxone

This medicine is used and FDA approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder. It is available in several forms: Suboxone Tablets and Films (which is Buprenorphine mixed with naloxone) and Subutex Tablets (which is just Buprenorphine). Sublocade is a new monthly injectable Buprenorphine. We are seeing great results in the office with this new product. 

All of these medicines have been proven to be highly effective in reducing opioid use among patients with SUD. 

One study found that:

  • 49% of patients reduce their painkiller use after 12 weeks on Suboxone
  • Of those 49%, only 8.6% stayed clean after discontinuing Suboxone

Another study found that: 

  • People who take Sublocade as part of their treatment plan are more likely to have weeks without opioid use 

A different study found that: 

  • People who take buprenorphine (such as Subutex) had a treatment success rate of 75%, while the placebo group had a 0% success rate

Naltrexone (and Vivitrol)

Naltrexone is another FDA approved medication used to treat opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. It also comes in a monthly injection formulation, known as Vivitrol. 

A recent study found that: 

  • Relapse rates for patients taking Naltrexone was about 52% 

Behavioral Therapies for Addiction Treatment 

At Shanti Recovery and Wellness, we believe it’s important to couple MAT with counseling. That’s why we have behavioral health professionals on-staff to meet with each of our patients and help them learn new ways of relating to themselves and others. Learning new lifeskills is a huge part of maintaining a happy and healthy sobriety. 

With so many disproven behavioral health therapies still in use, we’re proud that our licensed counselor only uses the most up-to-date and effective methods with our patients. 

Let’s look closer at two of the main techniques used in our clinic and what the statistics say about how effective they are.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) 

CBT is a type of short-term psychotherapy that focuses on goals and problem-solving. In a CBT session, the patient is encouraged to have a hands-on and practical stance in relationship to their problems. CBT aims to “rewrite the script” patients tell themselves about their lives and change the way they relate to the people and things around them. This ultimately changes the way they feel about the situations and problems in their lives. It works very well for addiction treatment patients

One study found that: 

  • Over 33% of patients receiving CBT maintained abstinence versus 13% in the control group

Motivational Interviewing  

Motivational interviewing is an addiction treatment counseling approach that gives patients the space to move from ambivalence to internal motivation around making changes in their lives. It helps patients explore their thoughts and feelings around substance abuse and come to their own conclusions about the best way forward for them. 

One meta analysis found that: 

  • Between 75% and 80% of patients experience a “significant and clinically relevant effect” from motivational interviewing sessions

When it Comes to Addiction Treatment, Evidence Matters 

Why waste time and money on treatments that aren’t proven to work? At Shanti Recovery and Wellness, we only offer treatments we’ve evaluated for effectiveness. Call us today at 1 (503) 206-8850 to learn more about how one of these treatments might work for your in your journey to recovery.