Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an approach to addiction treatment that involves the use of FDA-approved medications to treat opioid and alcohol use disorders. These medications aren’t meant to treat addiction alone but work best in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. Medication-assisted treatment can help to reduce cravings, prevent relapse, and decrease the overall severity of opioid and alcohol use disorder symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment can help individuals regain control of their life, reduce potential harm from using drugs or alcohol, and ultimately help them reach sobriety.
This therapeutic approach can be especially helpful for those who have struggled to achieve sobriety through an abstinence-based program. If you’re ready to begin treatment that could change your life, reach out to CMAR at 833.448.0127 today.
Medications Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment
There are several medications that have been approved to treat opioid and alcohol use disorders. These medications can be used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies for an effective treatment approach.
Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid medication that is commonly used to treat opioid use disorder. This medication helps to reduce cravings, prevent relapse, and ease withdrawal symptoms. It works by binding to certain opioid receptors in the brain, producing a milder effect than other opioids. While some medications contain only buprenorphine, others contain a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, such as Suboxone.
Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist that works in the brain to prevent the effects of illicit or prescribed opiates. When taken, a person may no longer have the desire to use opiates. Unlike other types of MAT, naltrexone can also be used in helping a person who is in recovery from alcohol addiction.
In some cases, people return to using opioids even after entering treatment. In that event, they may try to use the same level of opioids as they did before treatment, which can lead to overdose and possible death. Those who are taking naloxone, however, will be less likely to suffer an overdose due to the drug’s opioid-blocking effects. Naloxone is available in both injection and nasal spray forms and is most often used by first responders or family members in the event of an opioid overdose.
Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment
One of the most common misconceptions about MAT is that a patient is transferring their addiction from substance to another. However, this is not the case. Doctors prescribe MAT as a short-term solution, not a replacement for opioids. This approach can actually make it easier for those in recovery to focus on long-term goals such as maintaining employment or finding stable housing. Additionally, MAT can help to reduce the risk of relapse and decrease symptoms related to opioid or alcohol use disorder.
Benefits of MAT include:
- Reduced cravings – Since addiction medications can help reduce cravings, they can make it easier to focus on recovery goals.
- Increased safety – By providing relief from withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, it is less likely that individuals will turn to harmful substances.
- Increased stability – Medication-assisted treatment can provide patients with the stability that they need to focus on their recovery and make lasting lifestyle changes.
- Decreased risk of overdose – By providing opioid-blocking effects, naloxone can help to prevent overdoses in those who relapse.
- Increased retention in treatment programs – MAT has been shown to increase the chances of staying in treatment programs, which can lead to better recovery outcomes.
When you first start your treatment for addiction, a specialist will assess your addiction and any co-occurring disorders you may have. From there, they can decide if you need MAT and what type is best for you. Treatment can begin as early as detox and continue through rehab. The goal of MAT is to help you stay sober and provide you with the resources and support needed to maintain a successful recovery.
Breaking the Stigma Surrounding MAT
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with medication-assisted treatment. Many people do not understand the purpose of using medications to treat addiction and assume that a person is simply replacing one addiction with another. Fortunately, more and more people are beginning to see the value in MAT as an effective treatment for opioid and alcohol use disorder.
It is important to remember that MAT is just one part of a comprehensive treatment program. When used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, MAT can be a powerful tool in helping individuals manage their addiction and find lasting sobriety.
Learn More About Medication-Assisted Treatment at CMAR
Learn more about MAT at Colorado Medication Assisted Recovery. We offer medication-assisted treatment as a part of our addiction treatment therapies in Colorado. Contact us at 833.448.0127 or reach out online to get started.