Benefits of MAT Drug Rehab for Los Angeles Residents
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Rehabilitation for drug or alcohol addiction looks different to each individual. Most facilities offer a wide range of treatment plans and therapies to help create an individualized treatment plan. The traditional forms of therapy include behavioral therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, as well as nutrition and exercise. An addiction specialist team may determine that an individual would also greatly benefit from certain medications to help ease through the withdrawal process and maintain sobriety after a detox program is completed. So, what is medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and what are the benefits of MAT drug rehab in Los Angeles?
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What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT is the use of certain medication along with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide an effective treatment of substance use disorder. The Food and Drug Administration has approved several of these medications in the treatment of addiction including buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. Medication-assisted treatment works best when used in conjunction with clinical and behavioral therapies.
MAT can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of recovery for those struggling with addiction. Most often, these types of programs take place in what is known as suboxone clinics.
Prescribed medications, like naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine, can normalize brain chemistry and body functions, as well as relieve physiological cravings without the other substance’s negative withdrawal effects.
When combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, treatment centers can provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that these medications can help sustain recovery as well. MAT has also been used to prevent or reduce opioid overdose.
Benefits of MAT
Back in 2018, it was estimated that 2 million people struggled with opioid addiction, including opioid prescription pain medications and heroin. MAT has proven to effectively and significantly reduce the need for inpatient detoxification services. Most MAT programs are tailored to each individual, including behavioral therapy. The benefits of MAT include:
- Increase treatment completion
- Improve patient survival
- Boost patient’s capacity to gain and maintain employment
- Decrease opiate misuse and criminal activity associated with substance use disorder
- Improve birth outcomes in pregnant women with substance use disorder
Because MAT reduces the likelihood of a relapse, these medications have been shown to reduce the chances of contracting HIV or hepatitis due to risky behavior while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The withdrawal symptoms can be extremely intense and pose a threat to recovery, especially withdrawal from opioids. Opioid addiction can alter brain functions which leads to psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms such as intense and painful muscle cramps, sweating, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
People who experience these symptoms often relapse when they can no longer take the negative side effects of withdrawal. MAT provides much relief from withdrawal, making it more tolerable and allowing many to complete the detox process. It is just one of the many tools used in recovery.
MAT for Opioid Use Disorder
MAT has primarily been used to treat opioid addiction, including heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates. Some of the substances MAT is typically used for opioid addictions include Codeine, Vicodin, morphine, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Carfentanil. Opioids like this alter the brain’s perception of pain and can also alter mood, cause constipation, and slow breathing.
Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors and creating a euphoric feeling. As an individual uses opioids more often, their brain becomes dependent on the drug in order to feel normal. By acting on the reward centers of the brain, a person becomes hooked on getting that feeling over and over again. Once they stop using, it can create a cascade of withdrawal symptoms that can even be deadly.
MAT works by acting on those same targets in the brain without the euphoric feeling and relieves cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as methadone and buprenorphine. Naltrexone will block the effects of opioids at their receptor sites and is used only with patients who have undergone a full detox.
MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder
MAT can also be used for alcohol use disorder, but it is not as common as with opioid use disorder. There are only three FDA-approved medications, including Naltrexone and it works similar to how it does for opioids by reducing cravings of alcohol. The other two are Acamprosate and disulfiram. It is important to note that they do not cure addiction, just help with the symptoms associated with alcohol addiction.
Disulfiram is for individuals who have completed detox and are entering the early stages of recovery. Administered once a day, Disulfiram will produce unpleasant side effects like headache, nausea, and vomiting in the individual consumes even small amounts of alcohol. Acamprosate works best after the initial phase of alcohol detox and withdrawal. Treatment starts about day five of detox and is administered three times a day, reaching its full effectiveness five to eight days after it was first administered. It reduces cravings and increases the chances of alcohol abstinence when combined with behavioral therapy.
Medication Used for Overdose Prevention
MAT can also be used in overdose prevention, usually for opioid overdose. Naloxone is used to reverse the toxic effects of an overdose. Many EMTs and fire rescue personnel are equipped and trained to administer Naloxone on-site to quickly reverse an overdose. But once the medication has run its course, the person can easily go back into overdose, so it is important to get them to emergency medical care as soon as the medication is administered. Because of the growing rate of fentanyl and other deadly opiates in all types of drugs, if someone is overdosing on any drug, there is no harm to administer naloxone in case it is due to an opioid overdose.
Common Misconceptions About MAT
The most common misconception about MAT is that you are substituting one drug for another. MAT is not replacing one addiction with a new one. The medications are used in moderation and are under medical supervision, similar to how very small doses of methamphetamine are used in prescriptions for ADHD.
Suboxone has something that is called a “ceiling”, which means it does not allow a person to get a significant high from it. It is not a right fit for everyone. Some of the criteria to determine if it can help someone are:
- Low-cost option
- Need flexibility for work
- Opioid addiction
- Need a low-cost option
A treatment center will work alongside the client to determine if MAT is the best option for them. Again, MAT is not a cure for addiction, but it is usually just the beginning of the recovery process. It is also not the only tool that should be used during addiction recovery. MAT works best when used in conjunction with relapse prevention programs, evidence-based behavioral therapies, education, and other treatment options.
Combining Medications with Behavioral Therapies for The Best Recovery Outcomes
The best way to use medication addiction treatment is to combine it with traditional addiction recovery behavioral therapy and counseling. You can think of it more as a way to supplement and ease the recovery process, especially at the beginning.
During the detox process, withdrawal symptoms can be very unpleasant and even dangerous. Between the unpleasantness and the extreme cravings, many people give in and relapse early on. Using MAT during the detox process helps people stick through the whole program.
A successful MAT treatment program has several steps which include, but are not limited to:
- Medical detox
- Behavioral counseling
- Medication that depends on the addiction, i.e. alcohol, opioid, or tobacco
- Dual-diagnosis evaluation and treatment (co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety)
- Long-term care to prevent relapse, such as AA meetings, 12 step programs, continued counseling outside the facility
Traditional treatment therapies for addiction are still the best option for long-term sobriety. Attending a program at a treatment facility has many options of the level of care depending on the severity of the addiction, such as inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, intensive outpatient program, and sober living. All these levels can include some sort of MAT if it is determined the patient could benefit from it.
Some people may benefit from anxiety or depression medications for their recovery as well. Whether mental health issues were the cause of their addiction or were brought on by addiction, medication can help ease these symptoms and prevent future relapse. These also work best when used along with behavioral therapies and psychotherapies.
Los Angeles MAT Drug Rehab at Resurgence
Resurgence Behavioral Health offers MAT drug rehab in Los Angeles along with other addiction treatments. They strive to offer the most effective and safest addiction treatments to their clients. We offer MAT to assist our recovery plans for opioids and alcohol and ensure you are more likely to complete a substance use disorder program. MAT can be part of any portion of the recovery process, whether it is during detox, the early stages of the program, or for some even on a long-term basis. Our doctors will evaluate your case and recommend the ideal medications.
Resurgence offers recovery plans for every type and level of addiction, which can include medication-assisted treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, and are looking for drug rehab in Los Angeles, Resurgence can perform an assessment and recommend a course of treatment based on your own individual case. The sooner you get your help for your addiction, the better your chances are for recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Please give us a call today at(855) 458-0050!
— Resurgence Behavioral Health (@RBHRecovery) January 20, 2022