Office-Based Opioid Treatment Program Brings a New Purpose to Many

This article was written by Audra Franchini and published by RCA


Addiction is a disease that takes and takes and takes. It takes away identities, families, jobs, passions, and lives. It’s a three-fold disease that impacts the person physically, mentally, and spiritually. In order for the addiction to heal, all three areas need to be treated.

Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation backs this up. Put simply, Maslow believed that people have the intense desire to be all they can be; basically, doing what you are meant to do.

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy,” wrote Maslow. “What a man can be, he must be.”

However, to be ultimately happy, there are basic needs that need to be met. These needs include the need for safety, love, self-esteem, a sense of belonging or community – all of which are impacted by addiction. So when a person doesn’t have one of these areas fulfilled, it can impact their recovery.

Office-based opioid programs (OBOT) heal individuals emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) established the following set of best practices for OBOT programs, which includes:

  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Psychiatric care
  • General medical services
  • Family support
  • Addiction education
  • Vocational counseling
  • Legal counseling

Here’s how OBOT heals all aspects of addiction and gives people a second chance at life.


Eliminating the physical need

The withdrawal symptoms, the cravings, the physical pain – these are just a few of the physical barriers preventing patients from reaching recovery. These barriers are big enough to prevent them from ever seeking help.

Falling under the Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) umbrella, OBOT uses medications (such as Suboxone) to:

  • Minimize withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduce cravings and urges
  • Block the effects of opioids in the brain and body

Without cravings, symptoms, and the effects of opioids, individuals can move out of physical addiction and focus on their mental and spiritual well-being. And the odds are in their favor – 90% of patients who participate in an MAT program maintain sobriety at the 2-year mark.

OBOT gives individuals the freedom of receiving their medication and keep up with other life responsibilities – jobs, families, school.

Once an initial assessment is complete, the patient receives a prescription for take-home medication. Depending on the individual, they will check-in with their treatment team once a week or so to keep their symptoms under control.


Healing the mind

Once the physical barriers are overcome, it’s time to heal the mind. Because there may be underlying sources or symptoms contributing to the addiction, it’s important to participate in counseling. After all, medication is simply one piece of a successful individual treatment plan.

Achieving and maintaining a life in recovery means having the right coping skills to deal with triggers and stress as they pop up. To fulfill an individual’s need for acceptance, self-esteem, and a sense of belonging, they may need to relearn or even be introduced to how to have strong mental and physical health, create or restore healthy relationships, and be at peace with themselves.

While counseling is not required with an OBOT program, it is strongly encouraged. This counseling may include group, individual, or family sessions to uncover any possible conditions or factors fueling the addiction. It’s also a great chance to build a recovery network for unbeatable support and a sense of community.


Calming the spirit

People suffering from addiction often turn to the 12-Step Program as a change mechanism. This set of guidelines allows the person to work through their addiction wholeheartedly and honestly, while looking inward to acknowledge mistakes. While some follow a religious path, spirituality and having a higher power can be molded to an individual’s own preference.

Individuals participating in OBOT will have a community of supports, including 12 Step groups, available within their community. This dense, close-knit community looks out for one another, provide endless support and guidance, and helps people during their darkest moments.

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