Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) a Good Choice?

If you or your loved one is addicted to Heroin or other types of Opioids, then a helpful option we recommend looking into is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). MAT is one of the best options available today for effective treatment of substance use disorders. It combines modern medicine with decades of addiction recovery techniques and psychology. But there are many misguided, fear-based controversies surrounding the use of medications during addiction treatment.

One of the most common misconceptions about this kind of treatment is that it ultimately acts as a “drug” crutch — simply “trading” one drug of choice with another. But that is not entirely true. If MAT is done in a caring, professionally-licensed facility, it has shown to be quite an effective and proven way of treating drug addiction in many people. The main factor to pay attention to is this: is Medication Assisted Treatment done under expert supervision where communication, medication monitoring, and doctor’s visitation are maintained?

Before you get started with the treatment, it is very important to know more about it. Here we discuss medically-supervised treatment for addiction before detox and residential rehab:

What Exactly is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

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Medication-Assisted Treatment is one of the treatment options for substance abuse, especially when it comes to Opioid dependency. As part of the treatment, prescription medication is combined with support groups and behavioral therapies that have been proven in treating substance abuse. MAT is a newly FDA-approved treatment program that continues to be highly effective in many opioid recovery plans.

One of the main reasons why medicine is added to substance abuse treatment is to assist the individual through detox. Various detox and withdrawal symptoms can be excruciating, difficult, and even dangerous if not properly supervised. With certain medications, such as Suboxone or Buprenorphine, the withdrawal symptoms are minimized and drug cravings are inhibited. This helps the patient feel less of a “need” to go back to consuming hard drugs like meth or heroin– two drugs that can be painfully challenging to come off of.

Because of this boost that the medication provides in lessening cravings, certain medications are great at preventing relapse. With MAT, many recovering addicts go through detox smoothly and are able to focus on the real recovery process much sooner.

How is MAT Different Than Basic Treatments?

Patients who receive Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction have shown the following changes:

  • The survival rate of the patients has increased
  • A higher retention rate in treatment programs (patients successfully stay longer through recovery)
  • A decrease in criminal activities during treatment
  • Better chance at receiving or keeping current employment opportunities while undergoing detox and treatment
  • Helpful for pregnant women in recovery as MAT decreases cravings and can save a fetus from drug-related miscarriage 

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How Does Treatment for Opioid Dependence Work?

The medication that is given by the doctor will help in suppressing drugs like Heroin or other Opioids, which can kill you easily or make someone partake in harmful or irrational behaviors. Medications used in MAT can block the brain’s receptors from receiving opioids. Put simply: someone on MAT has a low chance at getting high if they even try to use opioids again. This is an evidence-based treatment, and it definitely works. The MAT medicine will even help you handle the withdrawal symptoms that you face due to the withdrawal of Opioids usage.

What Kind of Medication is Prescribed for Substance Abuse?

The treatment plan is going to be different for each person, and it is the medical professional or addictionologist who is going to decide the right medicine for the patient. Medication and dose are determined after a keen review of the present substance abuse and all past health history. So, it is always crucial to consult a doctor before you actually get started with this type of treatment.We don’t recommend undergoing Medication Assisted Treatment without the help of a caring professional.

Some of the common meds prescribed for substance abuse treatment are buprenorphine, methadone, naloxone, and naltrexone. They are prescribed based on both physical and mental health conditions of the patient at the time of the treatment. Buprenorphine and methadone are two very common medicines used in the medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse. At Opus Health, we don’t use methadone as it has been shown potential for dependency in recent studies. Most often we use safer prescriptions such as Suboxone treatment.

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How Long Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Last?

Addiction treatment varies from person to person as mentioned earlier. Treatment will be developed personally for every patient, and they need to make sure to follow the exact instructions as prescribed by the doctor.

Some patients undergo MAT for just a few months, others feel it necessary to do for a year, and then some patients take lower doses of certain medications for up to several years. Very rarely, some type of medication has to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life. However, this is usually only true for someone with acute Dual Diagnosis (co-occurring mental disorders). It all depends on how the body is responding to the medication during treatment, along with age, gender, and other health factors. There is no specific period for which this treatment has to be done.

What Else Comes with MAT?

Along with the addiction medicines, behavioral therapy and counseling have to be given to the patients. Individual therapies and group therapies are often promising solutions. Medication can help in treating substance abuse and the counseling sessions along with therapies will help the patients to stay strong and to stay away from the opioids.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

This kind of treatment and counseling will be done by expert professionals who specialize in addiction recovery, and hence you should not try it without proper guidance. Medical experts can properly diagnose the substance disorder and/or mental illness that you are facing. Based on the diagnoses made in your treatment plan, treatments vary. Safe, effective MAT cannot be done without professional knowledge and years of experience.

Overall, Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance abuse is one of the most proven methods to treat the chemical or physical problems that come with getting off of substance dependency. Reach out and get help from the experts today and leave behind the fatal addiction you or your loved one may be struggling to overcome.

If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.

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