What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication assisted treatment can be defined as the use of medications along with combined counseling and behavioral therapies. This provides a patient a comprehensive approach to treatment of substance use disorders—especially opioid addiction. Until recently, Methadone was the only FDA approved medication which was treating opioid addiction, regularly. Individuals who wanted medication-assisted treatment would have to participate in a Methadone Clinic program and would have to routinely go to take their dose. Today, both Suboxone and Vivitrol are approved as well as effective treatments for opioid addiction.
The purpose of medication assisted treatment is to treat opiate addictions as well as alcoholism and other types of qualifying substance use disorders for effective long-term recovery. Medication assisted treatment provides relief of challenging withdrawal symptoms, ultimately, reducing the potential for relapse. MAT programs also provide individuals with counseling which address the underlying causes for substance use and, also, provide resources for support and health care. Participating in a MAT program also reduces criminal behaviors that directly correlate with drug use and violence exposure.
As part of our medication assisted treatment, we offer:
- Clinical therapy—CBT and Trauma therapy with a licensed therapist.
- Case management
- Group therapies—such as relapse prevention and substance use education.
- Weekly doctor’s visits
Does Suboxone Work?
Suboxone is an excellent resource for those seeking and maintaining recovery from opioid addiction. The purpose of Suboxone is to ensure harm reduction. With Suboxone, there is a lower potential for abuse. Doctors understand the benefits over the disadvantages that Suboxone provides prescribed individuals and because of that, Suboxone has great accessibility. There is an increasingly high success rate in the Suboxone treatment of opioid dependence. Suboxone cannot easily be abused. If a Suboxone tablet is crushed and snorted or a Suboxone film is injected, the Naloxone component will block the opioids from the brain’s receptors. This, ultimately, prevents any high from Suboxone. The Naloxone ensures prevention of any potential abuse with Suboxone.
Naltrexone and Vivitrol
Vivitrol, also known as extended release naltrexone, is administered in either a once-daily pill or as a once a month injection to curb cravings for opioids and alcohol. There is no abuse or diversion potential that can come from Naltrexone or its extended release form, Vivitrol. Naltrexone works by blocking the euphoric and sedative effects of opioid drugs. Unlike other opioid craving medications, Naltrexone both reduces cravings as well as blocks the euphoric effects of opioid medications that users seek. It does not actually activate the opioid receptors in the body that only suppress cravings.
Methadone Isn’t Your Only Answer
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat moderate to extreme pain and more recently, opioid addiction. Methadone binds to the same receptors that other opioids do, providing relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms and help stabilize patients in early recovery. Methadone is a federally designated Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high risk of users developing a dependence. It is easy to abuse methadone to get high by taking more than prescribed. For this reason, All About Recovery does not offer Methadone to our clients as a medication-assisted treatment option.
MAT for Opioid Addiction
Treatment of opioid use disorder with medication along with substance education, counseling and other social and health support measures which allow individuals to reestablish healthy behaviors is known as medication assisted treatment. It is important to understand that taking a maintenance medication for opioid dependency and addiction is not the same as substituting one addiction with another. We use evidence-based treatment plans for clients, which prove that medication assisted treatment is usually effective with 12 months of consistent addiction treatment. Our doctors and clinicians monitor the clients progress and coordinate the treatment plan accordingly.
Stopping the use of drugs is the most challenging part. The next most difficult is the initial stages of recovery and maintaining sobriety. Medication can help addicts remain clean from opiates or alcohol and start healing. Since Naltrexone and Suboxone cannot easily be abused, they are very beneficial for those who take advantage of the help.
Detox: Withdrawal symptoms can make individuals feel like they’re dying. When Suboxone is used within a medical detox facility, it reduces and relieves symptoms of withdrawal. Suboxone is used in a gradual taper to decrease symptoms while the body is disassociating the substance of use from its system.
Relapse Prevention: For individuals suffering withdrawal symptoms, the cravings and urges to use can be overwhelming. Suboxone and Vivitrol significantly reduce these feelings to allow individuals to focus on improving themselves in treatment. When Suboxone is being abused, naloxone can precipitate or induce withdrawals which discourages users to relapse.
Maintenance: Choosing to maintain treatment with the help of Suboxone and Vivitrol can prevent relapse and reduce cravings. People are not as fixated about opioid use as much as they normally would be in the initial stages without the medication. They are able to maintain their sobriety while moving forward in treatment.
Break the Stigma of MAT
For many people, going untreated for addiction can have more detrimental consequences without medication than with. Many people do not agree with medication assisted treatment because of the notion that it is exchanging one addiction for another. For some people, this may be the appropriate route. Medication assisted treatment is only necessary for those with an opioid addiction who have severe withdrawal symptoms to alleviate post-acute withdrawal. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of relapse since it eliminates cravings and other withdrawal symptoms which can distract someone from his or her treatment.
The stigma surrounding the use of MAT to allow someone to find lifelong recovery can prove to be fatal. The main and only goal of harm reduction is to save lives. Research has proven medication-assisted treatment to be a beneficial and effective form of substance use disorder harm reduction.
- Opioid use disorder is a chronic, progressive, and relapsing condition of the brain.
- Opioids change how the brain is structured and the chemical physiology of the brain.
- Medications like Vivitrol, Methadone, Buprenorphine and Naltrexone have been proven by countless studies to be effective in improving withdrawal symptoms, and reduce cravings.
- People have stayed in recovery for decades with the help of medication in many forms.
Evidence Based Treatment
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “taking these medications as prescribed allows patients to hold jobs, avoid street crime and violence, and reduce their exposure to HIV by stopping or decreasing injection drug use and drug-related high-risk sexual behavior. Patients stabilized on these medications can also engage more readily in counseling and other behavioral interventions essential to recovery.”
Our primary mission at All About Recovery is to help our clients find life-long recovery from drugs and alcohol, so that they never have to return to our program as a client again. We want to provide our clients the best shot at doing so, by creating treatment plans that only utilize evidence-based practices. With medication-assisted treatment showing an incredible high rate of success, it is a no brainer that we utilize researched methods that work.
MAT Treatment Program at All About Recovery
Addiction is a three-part disease that affects the physical, mental and emotional well-being of a person. Old behaviors, thinking and environments can trigger an individual to relapse. It is necessary to change people, places and things in order to sustain recovery. Based on individualized assessment to determine eligibility, we provide clients with a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program to treat addiction. Our mission at All About Recovery is to help every client find freedom from addiction and long-term sobriety— no matter how the journey looks.
For many, that journey may include medications to help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms and post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). At All About Recovery, we have a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) track for clients who are eligible for the program. While participating in our MAT program, clients will consult weekly with our in house medical team of doctors and registered nurse practitioners to make any needed adjustments to dosing or medication type.
To see if you or your loved one qualifies for our MAT program, reach out to an addiction counselor today.