The Fit Bit of Addiction Medicine
The new model of the Medication assisted therapy (M.A.T.) clinic is upon us. – Cory Shaffer
The status quo for addiction recovery is an office based opioid treatment program that uses Suboxone and other buprenorphine medication (such as Zubsolv, Bunavail, generics) to successfully manage and treat the physical symptoms of opioid use disorder. Patients are seen once per month by their provider and that is usually it. Patients may meet in weekly in counseling or groups but they are often struggling with the same environmental issues that contributed to their opioid addiction. In short, there are not many additional support services for a population that is being bombarded by stressors and triggers during crucial recovery periods. The patient’s physical symptoms are being fully treated with Suboxone or other buprenorphine, but is their mental health support as strong as it could be?
Much like the fitbit provides motivation to exercise through reminders and progress tracking, we are bringing the same concept to opioid recovery. Lifestyle changes are very challenging. They are made easier to combat when you’re armed with facts, a scheduled program, and have clear goals for your progress. In order to treat opioid addiction successfully with Suboxone, you can’t just set it and forget it. A program must provide structure for patients until new behaviors become habits and lifestyle changes. The hardest part of recovery is finding consistent support. MD MATT plans to use a fitbit style approach to achieve these goals to fight opioid addiction. We believe the solution is creating support through technology, purpose, and community.
Technology – purpose of technology in an outpatient suboxone program
Suboxone is the first line of technology we use in fighting opioid addiction. It is no less than a miracle drug and allows patients to progress to working on the mental aspects of their recovery.
Technology also helps us with progress tracking. Progress tracking is a huge aspect in recovery/establishing new behaviors. We have our patients set their goals, then we tailor our technological program to meet their needs. One of the main issues in treating opioid addiction is missed appointment and overall consistency throughout recovery. It can be hard for patients to stay engaged and attend meetings or for health providers to get a clear picture. To remedy this, we offer text message reminders to our patients for their meetings and obligations. Supportive text messages are also a staple of our program. They provide encouragement and words of support throughout your recovery from opioid addiction. Finally, our mental health tracking software is the most cutting edge in the industry. Patients fill out weekly or bi-weekly questionnaires. Patients are able to see their progress, while providers can quickly see the signs of a decline and take the proper steps to intervene. Overall we provide a more holistic approach.
Purpose of recovering from opiates abuse
The technology is great, but all it really does is help in creating new habits by encouraging and reminding. Purpose is what really guides recovery. However, oftentimes it can take people a little while to find that purpose. Until they do, we give them purpose with recovery work and support the recovery work through encouragement and reminding. The technology is simply the guard rails to help guide the patients purpose in their early recovery. There are a variety of reasons why a person may be in recovery. We try to provide support until a true purpose is found and a community can be built.
Community – recover from opiates with others…
Recovery is hard. Community plays a huge part in overcoming the challenge. Due to the realities of life, many people can’t just change their environment. Throughout their treatment, they will still face the same triggers, stressors, and struggles that drove them to use in the first place. All we are trying to do is replace the destructive habits with positive habits. Changing is an incredibly hard thing for a person to do, especially in intense situations. Whenever the pressure is on and the going gets tough, most people revert back to old habits and relapse. That is where community comes in and is so crucial. Oftentimes you can’t change your environment, but you can change the community. That is who you associate with, the work you do, how you spend your free time. Building your own positive community is how recovery is sustained. Friends, family, and loved ones are crucial in helping lead a stable life through recovery and beyond.
- Owings Mills
- Ellicott City
- Glen Burnie