Matrix Model For Addiction Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on May 27, 2022

The Matrix model is an addiction treatment approach commonly used to treat methamphetamine addiction and cocaine addiction. It is a comprehensive treatment that can help people with an addiction achieve recovery.

Matrix Model For Addiction Treatment

The Matrix model is a comprehensive treatment approach for drug abuse and addiction that incorporates individual treatment, group treatment, and family treatment services.

First developed in the 1980s, the Matrix model has been adapted into several variations to suit the needs of people with a substance use disorder on an inpatient and intensive outpatient level.

Here you’ll find information on:

  • what the Matrix model is
  • how the Matrix model works
  • benefits of the Matrix model for treating substance abuse
  • finding a rehab center that offers the Matrix model

What Is The Matrix Model?

The Matrix model is an intensive, structured treatment approach that integrates a variety of treatment services to address the physical, psychological, and social sides of addiction.

Although it takes inspiration from other evidence-based treatments for addiction, such as behavioral therapy, it is different in that it consists of several treatment components.

Components of the Matrix model include:

  • individual therapy: You will attend individual sessions multiple times a week to identify and work towards treatment goals with a trained therapist.
  • group therapy: You will learn early recovery skills in a group setting, including time management skills and coping tools for managing drug cravings.
  • relapse prevention: Relapse prevention skills groups are intended to help you prepare for and confront challenges in addiction recovery.
  • family education: The Matrix model encourages family participation, through family therapy, couples therapy (as application) and psychoeducation.
  • drug testing: You may be required to submit to regular urine or breathalyzer drug tests to assess the effectiveness of your treatment.
  • social support: The Matrix model actively encourages participation in self-help groups and 12-step meetings for social support.

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What Is The Matrix Model Used To Treat?

The original Matrix model approach was designed for the treatment of cocaine addiction and methamphetamine addiction.

Today, however, it’s been adapted into different variations that make it suitable for treating other substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder.

Understanding The Matrix Model

The Matrix model is a treatment model that was originally designed as a 12-month program during the height of the cocaine epidemic in the 1980s.

Today, this treatment is used to treat dependence on cocaine, meth, alcohol, and opiates and can vary in its duration. Therapists who integrate this model are trained to be direct, authentic, and nonjudgmental.

It draws from several treatment modalities, including:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • couples and family therapy
  • group therapy
  • psychoeducation
  • motivational interviewing
  • motivational enhancement

The premise of the Matrix model is based on the understanding that addiction is influenced by social and environmental factors, as well as dynamics within your closest relationships.

The Matrix approach is based on:

  • creating a strong therapeutic relationship between the person with an addiction and their counselor
  • teaching people with drug use issues how to structure their time and develops skills for a healthy and recovery-oriented lifestyle
  • providing accurate, comprehensible information about the drug withdrawal process, withdrawal symptoms, and drug cravings
  • teaching supportive coping skills and relapse prevention skills
  • involving family members and other loved ones in your treatment process through family education groups, family counseling, and/or couples therapy
  • encouraging participation in community self-help groups (e.g. Cocaine Anonymous)
  • conducting random drug tests to determine treatment effectiveness

How Does The Matrix Model Work?

The Matrix model is a treatment approach that is most often administered through an intensive outpatient program or another intensive rehab program.

Features of Matrix model treatment include:

  • attending treatment three to four times per week
  • care coordination by a drug counselor/therapist
  • treatment planning and progress evaluation
  • regular group sessions for skill-learning and relapse prevention
  • cognitive behavioral approach with integrated treatment services

Benefits Of The Matrix Model For Treating A Drug Addiction

According to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Matrix model has shown to help reduce drug use, alcohol use, and improve mental health symptoms.

Because this model was designed for stimulant use disorder, the bulk of research on the Matrix model studies treatment outcomes for people addicted to meth or cocaine.

Benefits of this approach include:

  • its integration of substance abuse treatment services
  • integration of family and social support groups
  • follows a manual with instructions and exercises for therapists
  • has demonstrated efficacy for stimulant dependence
  • aims to improve feelings of self-worth, dignity, and self-esteem
  • can help to reinforce positive behavior change

Where To Find The Matrix Model Treatment For Substance Abuse

The Matrix model approach for drug addiction may be offered by intensive treatment programs, such as those found within a drug or alcohol treatment facility.

During rehab, you or a loved one may receive a treatment plan outlining treatment services chosen to address issues specific to your circumstances.

For instance, treatment services within the Matrix model, as well as detox, medication, dual diagnosis treatment, community reinforcement and contingency management.

Matrix Model FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Matrix model for treating drug addiction.

❓ How Long Is The Matrix Model?

✔️ The Matrix Model has been adapted into several versions. This type of program may last anywhere from 16 weeks to 12 months.

The exact duration of the Matrix program may depend on the treatment provider as well as the indicated needs of you or your loved one with addiction.

❓ What Is The Goal Of The Matrix Model?

✔️ The Matrix model has several key goals.

Some of these goals include: providing addiction education, engaging patients in the treatment process, and helping them achieve treatment and recovery milestones (e.g. drug abstinence).

❓ Does The Matrix Model Work?

✔️ The Matrix model is shown to be effective for cocaine and meth addiction.

In addition, there’s evidence to suggest it may also be helpful for people with other dependency issues, such as alcohol dependence or opioid dependence.

Find The Matrix Model At A Treatment Center Near You

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, the time to seek help is now.

Call our free helpline today to learn more about the Matrix model or to find an addiction rehab center that offers Matrix model treatment.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on May 27, 2022
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