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Matrix Model: An integrative treatment for stimulant use disorder

01-17-18 Category: Addiction Treatment, Therapy, Treatment

Matrix Model: An integrative treatment for stimulant use disorder

One of the major challenges of treating a person trying to achieve sobriety by abstaining from substances is substituting old drug-taking behaviors with new habits. Therefore, it becomes essential to ensure adequate support and effective interventions for such patients for the formation of new habits. To ensure long-term recovery and prevention of a relapse, psychosocial approaches are often combined to improve the efficacy of the treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs).  One of such treatments that assists patients in abstaining from drugs is the Matrix Model. It is primarily used for treating people addicted to stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine.

The Matrix Model is an evidence-based outpatient program that relies on the use of proven treatment approaches, with the focus on changes in lifestyle, development of relapse prevention skills, education on drug and alcohol use, etc. Some of the elements of this model include family education groups, early recovery skills groups, relapse prevention groups, combined sessions, urine tests, 12-step programs, detailed treatment manuals, etc.

Conceived in the 1980s, the method has an extensive record of successfully treating patients with stimulant abuse issues. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) considers the Matrix Model as an “effective drug abuse treatment approach.” The matrix assists researchers, clinicians and planners in complying with scientifically proven methods by creating a structured approach that reduces uncertainties and barriers.

Key fundamentals of Matrix Model

As an outpatient treatment model that integrates several healing styles and psychological approaches, the Matrix Model assists medical practitioners and patients by including carefully designed steps based on their psychological needs at each stage of the treatment. Though the treatment typically spans 16 weeks, it can be prolonged for a year depending on the patient’s needs.

The Matrix Model identifies and integrates the beneficial aspects of several treatment methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, behaviorism, supportive/person-centered therapy, group therapy with emphasis on social skills, 12-step programs, and family, couples and marriage therapy. The Matrix Model administers urine and breath tests on a weekly basis. In order to screen an SUD, these tests may at times vary.

Based on eight principles that guide treatment and boost efficacy, the Matrix Model ensures patient’s holistic treatment. These principles include the importance of respect, follow-up of the structure and expectations, quality educational content, varied treatment approaches, reward and encouragement, engagement and education, participation in self-help and community-based programs, and periodic drug testing.

In Matrix Model, a therapist, besides being a teacher and a coach, also nurtures an understanding and encouraging relationship with his or her patients to reinforce positive behavioral changes in them. There is a direct but non-confrontational interaction between the therapist and the patient.  The therapists are empowered to conduct treatment sessions in a manner that promotes the patient’s self-esteem, dignity and self-worth.

Along with assisting patients and their families, they coordinate with other therapists to ensure holistic treatment. Additionally, they need to encourage patients to attend treatment sessions and understand their innate feelings and behaviors to ensure changes in treatment. They also reward patients on displaying the desired behavioral changes.

Formal treatment approaches and Matrix Model

By bringing together different types of treatment approaches as mentioned below, the Matrix Model assists in ensuring holistic recovery to patients. While some of these methods ensure behavioral changes, some play a crucial role in leading psychological improvements.

  • Individual/Family Sessions: During the treatment, the therapist incorporates methods of CBT, such as motivational interviewing, to lower apprehensions among patients. At times, partners, spouses and family members are included in such sessions to discuss about the needs of the patients.
  • Early Recovery Skills (ERS) Group: The Matrix Model has eight group sessions dedicated to early recovery skills during the first month of treatment. These sessions last for less than an hour and are co-facilitated by the therapist and the recovering patient. Such sessions are more educational than therapeutic in nature.
  • Relapse Prevention Group: This group is scheduled at the beginning and end of each week throughout the Matrix Model. These sessions last for 90 minutes and focus on the idea that relapse is a predictable, nonrandom event that can be understood by therapist and patients. The objective is to educate the patients about the early signs of a relapse so that it can be prevented.
  • Social Support Group: During active substance abuse, many people lose their ability to socialize with others. In some cases, recovering patients never gained necessary social skills, such as persistence and dealing with rejection, during childhood. By developing appropriate social skills, the social support group helps an individual in recovering from SUD. This group is added to the program in the third month of the treatment and continues for 36 weeks, if needed.

Seek treatment for recovery

The Matrix Model has a nearly 40-year track as an evidence-based stimulant abuse treatment. It has displayed an increased rate of recovery in people suffering from addiction-related disorders. Clinicians and rehabs should seriously consider using the Matrix Model in treating patients seeking treatment for stimulant abuse.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, Sovereign Health has both alcohol and drug addiction treatment to offer. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representative for information on our alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers.

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