If you’re dealing with any type of substance use disorder (SUD) it can be difficult to choose what the best treatment approach may be. Unfortunately, addiction is a disease that continues to grow in prevalence. We believe that you are a strong and brave person for seeking help to get better. Addiction is a disease, and just like with any other type of illness, recovery is possible.
The course that addiction takes is unique for each individual. For this reason, the pathway to recovery and treatment should be unique for every person as well. Many people in treatment have found medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to be beneficial in their long-term recovery and sobriety. We want to empower you and make it easier to decide what type of treatment is right for you.
What Is MAT?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines MAT as the use of medications in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat SUD. This type of treatment is also used to help sustain recovery and sobriety. Another impactful way in which MAT can help is by preventing and minimizing the risk of overdose and death. The main objective of MAT is lifelong full recovery.
Proven to Be Effective
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that MAT has been clinically proven to be effective. This is due to the fact that it is a very individualized treatment program. Both the medications and the therapies we use are completely adapted to each patient and their needs.
Benefits of MAT
Some of the benefits of using guided medication combined with therapy in individuals with SUD include:
- Decrease in number of relapses
- Reduced withdrawal symptoms
- Decrease in number of overdoses
- Improved recovery rates
- Reduction of cravings
- Improved birth outcomes in pregnant individuals
- Better ability to obtain and maintain employment
- Lower risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C
- Prevention of health problems related to addiction
- Increased long-term success
- Reduced morbidity and mortality
Approved Medications and Conditions
The FDA has approved a broad range of medications to treat addictions to a variety of different substances. These medications do not replace the substances the patient has been using, nor do they replace typical forms of therapy and treatment.
The role of MAT is to help in the reduction of withdrawal symptoms and chemical imbalances caused by drug use. It is possible to do this only by combining MAT with other treatment options. That is why the course of treatment is unique to each individual.
Only through the careful analysis of a doctor and under the care of highly trained personnel is this type of healing method successful. It is a highly controlled form of therapy that is available only to relieve the person of the most painful and harmful effects of withdrawal. The following are medications approved by the FDA for two different categories of SUD. For more information visit SAMHSA.
Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder and dependency are the most common diseases for which they use MAT. The substances that fall under these categories include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin. The following are medications to safely treat these disorders:
- Buprenorphine: Minimizes and eradicates the need for opioids
- Methadone: Blocks the effects of opioids which in turn aids in the reduction and elimination of cravings
- Naltrexone: Blocks the effects of opioids that cause an individual to feel euphoric and sedated
- Naloxone: Reverses the toxic effects that opioids have on the body, which makes it a great treatment option for the prevention of overdose
Alcohol Use Disorder
The most commonly used medications in the treatment of alcohol use disorder are:
- Naltrexone: Blocks the effects of alcohol intoxication, which helps patients on their journey to sobriety by eliminating the need or desire to continue alcohol use
- Disulfiram: Treats chronic alcoholism in people who have gone through or are in the initial stages of detoxification
- Acamprosate: Helps people who are in recovery and no longer consuming alcohol from falling back into drinking
Access to MAT
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Primary Care & Community Help, MAT is not readily available in many rural areas. Physicians have openly spoken about their concerns regarding this issue. This worry comes from the fact that MAT leads to a reduction in overdose and death rates for opioid use disorder patients. In conclusion, the lack of availability is due to cost-related issues as well as a limited number of trained providers and addiction programs. In addition to this, there is a lack of mentorship when it comes to the use and benefits of MAT.
Another study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health concluded that “Access to health services comprising MAT in the community is fundamental to achieve broad service coverage.” This is why we are so driven and focused on providing patients and their families with the best care available. We know how debilitating addiction can be and want you to be able to beat this disease and be free again. We know that with the right resources and care, you can make it.