Medication-Assisted Treatment: Dr. Chambless Johnston Describes What it is and Why it Works so Well When Paired with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Chambless Johnston
3 min readDec 30, 2020

Medicated-assisted treatment is becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States. This form of therapy is extremely effective in treating substance abuse, especially when addiction is paired with a co-occurring mental health condition. There are various medications approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of addiction, making this therapy accessible and effective for a wide variety of patients. Medication-assisted treatment is particularly effective when combined with other forms of treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Chambless Johnston of Johnson City, Tennessee, is a doctor at the East Tennessee Recovery Center where he works with patients with addictions. Dr. Johnston and the team at East Tennessee Recovery offer an integrated approach to addiction treatment. To address the complex needs of their patients, the center incorporates the social, mental, and physical aspects of substance abuse into personalized treatment plans. They also use medication-assisted therapy to further support patients and their recovery. Johnston discusses medication-assisted treatment and why it is so effective when paired with cognitive behavior therapy.

Chambless Johnston of Johnson City, Tennessee, on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted therapy uses both medication and psychological therapy to treat addiction. This type of treatment offers an integrative approach, addressing all factors related to the complex disease of addiction. With the use of this type of treatment, medication, tools, and techniques can be personalized to meet the individual needs of each patient. Chambless Johnston suggests that the integrative approach of medication-assisted treatment is particularly helpful in establishing long-term recovery and is extremely effective when paired with cognitive behavioral therapy.

Medication and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Medication-assisted treatment is especially effective when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication is used to treat physiological conditions, while behavioral therapy is used to help patients identify and address negative thoughts and behaviors.

Medication is useful in managing withdrawal symptoms, preventing relapse, and treating co-occurring mental health conditions. For instance, the first step towards recovery typically involves detoxification. The use of medication during this time helps to ensure that patients do not resort back to drugs or alcohol in the wake of unbearable withdrawal effects. However, this cannot be where treatment ends. Chambless Johnston explains that if patients do not receive additional treatment following detoxification, they will likely return to substance abuse. This is why the inclusion of cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment plan is necessary for a full recovery. Medication can also play a role in helping prevent relapse. Certain medications are able to decrease cravings and alter cognitive functions, effects that help patients to maintain their sobriety. Due to the fact that addiction often occurs alongside mental illness and other psychological disorders, medication can also help treat these potentially confounding factors. For example, anxiety and depression, which can contribute to substance abuse, can be treated with the help of medication.

On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy provides patients with tools, techniques, and coping mechanisms that they can use throughout their lifetime. The addition of cognitive therapy to a treatment plan helps patients modify their behavior and attitudes and improve their mental and physical well-being. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy offers patients the skills necessary for a successful return to the community. Together, medication and behavioral therapy provide the tools and strategies necessary for long-term recovery. Dr. Chambless Johnston notes that studies have found that medication-assisted treatment in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than traditional treatment, especially for those with co-occurring mental health conditions.



Chambless Johnston

Chambless Johnston is a renowned doctor focusing on addiction treatment in Johnston City, Tennessee. He is the CEO and founder of East Tennessee Recovery.