Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a term used to describe the delivery of treatment for alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder using specific and FDA-approved medication.
Medication is often used during the detox phase of recovery, but MAT is effective at all levels of care, including outpatient treatment. It’s a common misconception that medication-assisted treatment can only be administered in residential rehab.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction
The medication used in MAT works in one of the following ways:
- The medication binds to the opioid receptors in your brain and then activates them. The mechanism is similar to that of opioids, but the medications used in MAT activate the receptors more mildly.
- Alternatively, the medication can totally counter the euphoric effects of opioids by blocking the receptors that cause pleasurable feelings.
MAT, then, is not a cure for addiction, but rather a tool you can utilize to kickstart and sustain your recovery, especially during the early and most challenging stages.
Crucially, medication-assisted treatment should be supplemented with counseling and behavioral therapy for best results. Integrated addiction treatment almost always yields superior dividends.
The medications used are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). MAT programs are evidence-based and clinically-driven.
Research shows that a combined approach of MAT and therapy can successfully treat alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. MAT improves retention in treatment, and it also minimizes the likelihood of relapse.
Medication Assisted Treatment For Alcohol Addiction
Medication assisted treatment for alcohol is perfect for those seeking help from a professional alcohol treatment center is imperative when you first decide to quit drinking heavily, detoxing on your own can cause severe sickness, seizures, or even death. Our professional staff can monitor you closely administer the proper medication, and help you detox from alcohol in a safe comfortable environment. This time of treatment is most commonly known as medication-assisted therapy (MAT). Medication-assisted treatment is mostly used for opioid abuse, nicotine addiction, and alcohol addiction and consists of a utilizing of medications that help lessen the severity of withdrawal effects so the recovery journey can go be more relaxing and enriching. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, anxiety-ridden, and can even be deadly. Thats why the best treatment centers will offer a combination of MAT for alcohol and psychotherapy to ensure the most successful treatment of alcohol use disorder.
How Effective is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
MAT is proven effective for reducing the need for inpatient detox for those addicted to heroin and prescription opioids.
The overarching goal of MAT is to promote full and sustained recovery with the ability to live a fruitful and independent life.
MAT has been proven to:
- Increase retention in treatment programs
- Improve rates of patient survival
- Help patients to obtain and maintain employment
- Decrease the use of illicit opiates
- Reduces criminal activity among those with substance use disorders
- Improve birth outcomes in pregnant women with substance use disorders
- Lower the risk of transmitting and contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opiate and Opioid Addiction
When you are dependent on opioids, you’ll feel sick in their absence. The sickness is referred to as withdrawal. Withdrawal and intense cravings characterize opioid addiction.
Medications can be used to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and cravings, resulting in superior treatment outcomes. MAT is always most effective when delivered in combination with behavioral therapy.
The medications approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder can be categorized as follows:
- Opioid agonists: These medications fully activate your opioid receptors
- Partial opioid agonists: These medications mildly activate your opioid receptors
- Opioid antagonists: These medications block your opioid receptors while also interfering with the rewarding effects of opioid
A medication-assisted treatment program will be personalized to your needs and could include the following FDA-approved medications:
Buprenorphine helps to reduce the cravings associated with opioid withdrawal. This is achieved without the euphoric effects of opioids.
Suboxone is a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone.
Injectable forms of this medication remove the obstacle of daily dosing.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist and it interferes with the action of opioids. The medication is not sedative, and it’s not addictive either.
Vivitrol is an injectable form of naltrexone approved by the FDA.
Methadone is a very slow-acting opioid agonist used to treat heroin addiction since the 1960s.
This medication is administered in a controlled setting, typically at a clinic or an addiction treatment center.
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opiate and Opioid Addiction
The following FDA-approved medications are effective for treating alcohol use disorder:
- Acamprosate: Marketed as Campral, acamprosate helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms by targeting neurotransmitters in the brain
- Disulfiram: If you drink alcohol while taking disulfiram, you’ll experience adverse side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and headaches. These side effects are unpleasant enough to discourage consuming alcohol
- Naltrexone: Naltrexone reduces the cravings you’ll get for alcohol. This medication is proven effective for helping heavy drinkers remain sober
Medication-Assisted Treatment to Prevent Opioid Overdose
The medication naloxone is used to reverse the toxic effects of opioid overdose. It needs to be administered rapidly for the best results.
Does MAT Mean Replacing One Addiction with Another?
All forms of treatment for addiction carry certain risks, and there is also not one method that works for everyone.
It is possible to abuse buprenorphine and methadone. Abuse typically comes about through using more of the medication than prescribed. It’s vital to take these medications only and exactly as directed.
If you feel medication-assisted treatment would tempt you into misusing or abusing the medications concerned, explore alternative methods of recovery with your treatment team.
Medication-Assisted Treatment at The District Recovery Community
If you need alcohol or substance abuse treatment, here at The District Recovery Community we have a diverse range of programs to suit. Depending on the nature and scope of your addiction, we’ll personalize a treatment plan.
In the case of both alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder, we can use FDA-approved medication to alleviate some of the harsh withdrawal symptoms, while also minimize the cravings you get for alcohol or opioids. Medication-assisted treatment can make your experience of rehab more comfortable and more effective.
To get started, call the friendly TDRC team at 844.287.8506.