Medication Assisted Treatment

With today’s medical advancements, there are now many effective treatment options and therapies designed to combat addiction. While there isn’t a cure for alcohol or drug addiction, these conditions can be successfully managed. Many people find that medication is an important component in their successful recovery, either for a period of time, or even indefinitely.

Addiction specialists rely on many different medications to help people who seek treatment for a substance use disorder. Some medications target withdrawal symptoms, helping people feel less discomfort as they go through the medical detox process. Other medications are designed to reduce cravings so that individuals can focus on their therapy sessions and feel less compelled to use the substance they were addicted to. Other people may require medication to treat a mental health condition, which affects about a third of people who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

While some medications such as methadone that treat addiction have been criticized for their own addictive properties, drug treatment for addiction has advanced considerably to become a staple offering in many addiction rehabs around the country. Here, we’ll explore medication assisted treatment and how it can increase survival rates in people suffering from addiction, enhance the recovery process, and help reduce the risk of relapse.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

What Is Medication Assisted Treatment?

Medication assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications to treat substance use disorders. Today’s generation of MAT drugs are designed to help clients maintain their recovery process and prevent relapse and overdose. Addiction rehabs like Resurgence that offer MAT combine this form of therapy with traditional treatments such as individual counseling to help clients successfully manage their addiction and achieve lasting recovery.

MAT is primarily used in the treatment of opioid addiction, but has also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of alcohol use disorder as well. With so many people struggling with addiction in the U.S. (about 22 million people), researchers have developed various drugs that benefit the recovery process in some way. Today’s MAT treatment programs are clinically supervised and individualized to each person.

Not everyone experiencing addiction will need or wish to take part in a MAT program. However, this treatment may be ideal for others who continue to experience powerful cravings to use drugs or alcohol even after their detox process is complete. In many instances, MAT may only be needed to assist with detox. Other people find that medication is helpful for long-term recovery.

When entering an addiction treatment center such as Resurgence, addiction specialists will provide a thorough evaluation to determine which clients may benefit from MAT in combination with other treatment protocols. If this type of therapy is right for you, clinicians will explain the medications they wish to prescribe you, how they work, and what you can expect while taking them.

Addiction recovery is a process, and MAT can be helpful for safeguarding that process. It’s not a cure and works best when combined with other therapies that target an individual’s psychological and behavioral dependencies on drugs or alcohol. When used properly, MAT can help people achieve their recovery goals.

Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

MAT is most commonly prescribed for people addicted to opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers. Opioids are powerfully addictive, and each day more than 100 people in the country will lose their life to an opioid drug. Since 1999, more than 450,000 Americans have suffered an opioid-related death. MAT is proven to reduce relapse for individuals suffering from opioid addiction. A person’s likelihood of recovering from opioid addiction increases considerably with medication assisted treatment.

Medications designed to treat opioid addiction can target withdrawal symptoms, reducing their intensity. Some medications specifically curb cravings for the opioid by blocking the effects that opioids have on the brain. Others can reduce the effects of overdose. These medications have tremendous life-saving potential and can make the recovery process easier for people to manage.

There are various types of opioid addiction medications that clinicians use. Historically, methadone has been the main medication used to treat opioid addiction, but as a full opioid agonist, it has addictive properties. However, methadone is much less addictive and dangerous than heroin or prescription narcotics like Fentanyl or oxycodone. For this reason, it can be helpful for people who are slowly being weaned from opioids.

However, because about 5,000 people each year lose their lives to methadone overdose, medical researchers have developed other drugs designed to treat opioid addiction as well. Suboxone, for example, is highly effective and less addictive than methadone. Both of these drugs target the opioid receptors in the brain which effectively prevents them from triggering withdrawal. However, although the ‘brain’ is satisfied and, therefore, less vulnerable to cravings, the person does not ‘get high.’ However, because withdrawal symptoms are kept at bay, the individual can more easily focus on other therapies that can enhance their recovery process.

Suboxone contains two drugs–buprenorphine and naloxone. Clinicians may also prescribe other medications to treat opioid addiction, including Subutex, Probuphine, Nalrexone, or injectable buprenorphine. Doctors will prescribe any of these drugs in order to treat a patient’s specific condition. One drug might work for one person better than another.

MAT has been a game changer in the treatment of opioid addiction. These medications can ‘stabilize’ patients early on in their treatment process, allowing them to more comfortably focus on their other therapies that are so crucial for long-term positive outcomes.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Medication Assisted Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Addiction rehabs like Resurgence may also prescribe medications to treat alcohol addiction. Alcohol is highly addictive and associated with a relapse rate of more than 80%. Alcohol is legal and widely available in restaurants and even grocery stores. Maintaining sobriety can be challenging when alcohol is so readily available and cravings to drink remain powerful for so long into the recovery journey.

Fortunately, there are drugs that can reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as well as the potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms known as DTs (delirium tremens). Clinicians can also prescribe medications that diminish the powerful cravings to drink alcohol. These medications greatly enhance the safety of the detox and recovery process.

The most common medications prescribed to treat alcohol addiction include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram
  • Acamprosate

Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol (opioids too). So, when an individual takes it and drinks, they no longer will experience a “high” from the use of alcohol or heroin, for example. Disulfiram causes unpleasant side effects for a person if they take a drink. In this way, it’s a drinking deterrent. It causes side effects such as headache and vomiting. Acamprosate can reduce cravings so that the individual feels less compulsion to take a drink.

These medications promote recovery and are most effective when combined with other forms of therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy and peer group counseling. Doctors can prescribe them when they’re use is applicable to a patient’s needs.

Breaking the Taboo of Medication Assisted Treatment

In recent decades, medication assisted treatment was regarded as a controversial way to treat alcohol or drug addiction. Critics proposed that exchanging one substance for another was the right course to end substance dependence. However, as time has gone by, MAT has been shown to be effective at doing just what it’s meant to: helping people manage their substance addiction.

The medications used to treat addiction are safe or safer than the drugs individuals abuse and become addicted to. The medications help clients safely detox and reduce their reliance on substances gradually and in a diminishing fashion. This has proven to be effective, saving lives and helping people put their lives back together. For these reasons, the stigma once associated with MAT has been fading.

Of course, MAT must be supervised by clinicians and used properly if it is going to work as intended. It should also be used with other forms of addiction therapy for best results. Resurgence combines MAT when needed with other forms of addiction treatment to create well-rounded treatment plans that address all of a client’s needs.

Medication Assisted Treatment at Resurgence Behavioral Health

Resurgence Behavioral Health is committed to bringing the safest and most effective addiction treatments to its clients, and this includes medication assisted treatments. If you are addicted to opioids or alcohol, you may find that MAT forms part of your recovery process. Some people only need medications to assist in their recovery during detox or during the early phase of their recovery. Others may rely on them for a longer period of time. Doctors can evaluate your condition and recommend the ideal medications for your needs.

Resurgence features a wide range of addiction treatment plans and therapies, including medication assisted treatment. If you are struggling with an addiction, you can visit Resurgence for an assessment. Addiction specialists can then recommend a course of treatment based on your specific condition and needs. Don’t wait to seek help. Medication assisted treatment may be helpful for your recovery journey. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can regain your freedom from alcohol or drugs.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.