Integrated Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Integrated Medication-Assisted Treatment

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, you might need some help. Cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and dependence on harmful substances can all affect your ability to abstain from drug use. If this is the case, you might consider integrating medication-assisted treatment into your recovery plan.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, combines counseling and behavioral-type therapies with the use of anti-addiction medication. By integrating medication with counseling, the individual being treated has a better chance of successfully dealing with triggers and cravings.

With counseling, the focus is on handling the psychological and emotional aspects of the addiction. Unfortunately, these measures fail to address the physical symptoms due to changes in the brain that many individuals face when overcoming alcohol or drug addiction. The anti-addiction medication part of medication-assisted treatment allows a person to deal with the physical part of recovery. As a result, integrating MAT into your addiction treatment creates a more whole-body approach to recovery.

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, combines counseling and behavioral-type therapies with the use of anti-addiction medication. By integrating medication with counseling, the individual being treated has a better chance of successfully dealing with triggers and cravings.

With counseling, the focus is on handling the psychological and emotional aspects of the addiction. Unfortunately, these measures fail to address the physical symptoms due to changes in the brain that many individuals face when overcoming alcohol or drug addiction. The anti-addiction medication part of medication-assisted treatment allows a person to deal with the physical part of recovery. As a result, integrating MAT into your addiction treatment creates a more whole-body approach to recovery.

For Which Substances Is MAT Effective?

Researchers find that medication-assisted treatment can be very effective for alcohol, opioid, and prescription drug use disorders.

Alcohol

About 14.8 million people over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder in the United States. Almost 90 percent of those in recovery relapse within just four years of completing traditional treatment. MAT can decrease the rates of relapse and prevent alcohol use.

Opiates and Opioids

Heroin, morphine, codeine, thebaine, and Oripavine are opiate drugs. Naturally derived from the poppy plant, these and their man-made counterparts are highly addictive.

Synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids include prescription medications such as fentanyl, Dilaudid, Demerol, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. The FDA has determined that MAT is safe and very effective in managing opioid withdrawal symptoms when combined with other behavioral therapies.

Methamphetamine

Although there are no medications that have been approved by the FDA for MAT treatment for meth, many physicians and therapists find that they have excellent results when integrating the use of anti-addiction medications with additional treatment methods.

Anti-Addiction Medication Used in MAT

There are several effective medications that can treat substance and alcohol use disorders.

  • Acamprosate is used to prevent post-acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Disulfiram is a MAT medication that creates unpleasant symptoms when consumed with alcohol.
  • Methadone is a full opioid agonist. It mimics the effects of other opiates and opioids without negatively impacting the individual’s ability to function.
  • Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, blocks opioid receptors in the brain. This prevents opiates and opioids from producing a high. Naloxone can also prevent and potentially reverse an overdose.
  • A buprenorphine and naloxone combination prevents the potential for abuse.
  • Naltrexone completely blocks opioid receptors in the brain to prevent a positive response to using an abusive substance, including alcohol.

Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Really Work?

Unfortunately, there are some who don’t believe that MAT is a viable form of addiction treatment. They may consider anti-addiction medication as just a substitute for another drug that could create another addiction. Despite what these people may think, when combined with counseling and behavioral therapy, integrated medication-assisted treatment is often the missing link that takes people from substance use to recovery.

Some professionals don’t feel that anti-addiction medication should be used on a long-term basis. Nevertheless, research shows that those who use medication-assisted treatment are more likely to stick with their recovery plan, attend therapy, and stay off of their former drug of choice.

Some are concerned that the use of medications during recovery could negatively impact the recovery process. However, MAT is actually a vital part of overall recovery by helping to reduce the incidence of overdose, increase the quality of life, and allow the individual to function normally during recovery.

Integrating Medication-Assisted Treatment in Your Recovery Program

Professionals combine MAT with psychotherapy for the most effective addiction treatment and recovery results. The types of psychotherapy that MAT is often used with include cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive reinforcement, and family therapy.

While MAT medication helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, counseling and other behavioral therapies benefit addicts as well. Psychotherapy helps the individual to learn coping skills, avoid situations and triggers that could lead to relapse, and deal with any underlying mental or emotional disorders that they may have.

Although medication-assisted treatment may appear to have the greatest impact on helping individuals deal with withdrawal symptoms during detox, it’s also highly beneficial for those who attend inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Detox

During detoxification, anti-addiction medication can ease withdrawal symptoms. This, in turn, reduces the individual’s desire for drugs or alcohol.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient MAT provides individuals medication to help them manage their addiction while in 24-hour care in a safe, structured environment. Counseling and group therapy also provides those in inpatient MAT with the tools necessary to maintain a drug-free life upon release.

It’s best to continue MAT with an aftercare program on an outpatient basis following inpatient treatment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Partial Hospitalization Program Treatment

For those who cannot be away overnight or during weekends, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) may be the answer. During a partial hospitalization program, patients attend day-long treatment sessions in a safe and structured environment.

Partial hospitalization programs contain the same benefits that inpatient treatment programs do. The main difference between the two is that people that attend PHP can go home at the end of the day, while those that attend inpatient treatment cannot.

Integrated MAT and Outpatient

When using integrated medication-assisted treatment during outpatient treatment, you will use medication during addiction treatment, while also attending individual or group therapy. Your individual and group therapy sessions will occur on a regular basis at intervals determined by the therapist. Outpatient treatment is the least intensive treatment option with the least level of support.

Intensive Outpatient

With more hours of treatment than regular outpatient care, intensive outpatient MAT can give individuals more time, support, and structure. Intensive outpatient therapy still provides plenty of opportunities to integrate into your daily life again though.

Getting Help with Medication-Assisted Treatment

If you struggle in your recovery efforts, medication-assisted treatment is the logical next step for more effective results that can last. Harm Reduction Center offers various programs and levels of addiction treatment that utilizes integrated MAT. Contact us today to learn more or to start your new life, free from the bonds of addiction.

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