What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an essential part of effective treatment for people suffering from substance abuse disorders. MAT combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole patient” approach to treating drug use disorders in order to increase the likelihood of successful recovery and reduce potential harms associated with drug use.
The medications used in MAT are designed to target the parts of the brain that are affected by substance abuse, allowing people to recover from their addiction while providing relief from cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Some MAT can also be used while people are going through withdrawal. Doctors use MAT to effectively taper the addicted person down, so their withdrawal is less painful and more manageable.
How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?
Medication-Assisted Treatment works by addressing both physical and psychological aspects of addiction. The medications used in MAT help reduce cravings and block the effects of drugs on the brain, making it easier for individuals to abstain from using. At the same time, counseling and behavioral therapy provide psychological support which helps individuals develop better coping skills and deal with underlying issues that may have contributed to their addiction in the first place.
Benefits Of Medication-Assisted Treatment
Medication-Assisted Treatment has been found to be an effective way to treat substance abuse disorders. The medications used in MAT can help reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms, improving the chances of long-term recovery. In addition, counseling and behavioral therapy provide psychological support which helps addicted people recognize triggers for drug use and learn better coping skills. MAT has been found to be cost-effective when compared to other treatment methods and does not require long-term hospitalization.
Medication-Assisted Treatment For Opioid Use Disorder
Opioids are a class of drugs that can cause physical dependence and addiction. MAT for opioid use disorder involves the use of medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone as part of the drug rehabilitation process.
Methadone (Methadose and Dolophine)
Methadone is an opioid agonist that binds to the same receptor sites in the brain as opioids. Methadone works by blocking opioid receptors and preventing withdrawal symptoms from occurring. Methadone usually comes as a green liquid which is taken once a day and can be prescribed as an effective part of the drug rehabilitation process.
Methadone is a powerful medication and has the potential for substance abuse. It should only be prescribed and taken under close medical supervision. If taken improperly, side effects may occur. These include nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting, constipation, headache, mood changes, and difficulty sleeping. As with any opioid medication, there is also a risk of addiction and overdose with methadone use. People with a history of substance abuse should be carefully monitored while taking methadone to ensure appropriate medication use.
Pregnant women should not take methadone as it can cause harm to the developing fetus. All potential risks and benefits should be discussed thoroughly with a healthcare provider before starting or continuing methadone.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Zubsolv and Sublocade)
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that binds to the same receptor sites in the brain as opioids. Buprenorphine helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to maintain abstinence. Buprenorphine is taken once a day and can be prescribed as part of the drug rehabilitation process.
Buprenorphine typically comes in either tablet or film form. The tablets can be taken orally, while the films are designed to be placed under your tongue and dissolve slowly.
Buprenorphine has a very similar effect on the body and mind to methadone, and the same precautions regarding methadone apply to buprenorphine.
Naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol)
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids on the brain, making it harder to get high if drugs are used. Naltrexone is typically taken as a pill or injection once a month and can be prescribed in an office-based setting.
Medication-Assisted Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition that occurs when an individual has difficulty controlling their drinking and experiences negative consequences as a result. Medication-Assisted Treatment for the alcoholism rehabilitation process involves the use of medications such as naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.
MAT can also be used as part of the alcoholism rehabilitation process. While for opioids there are medications such as methadone and buprenorphine which somewhat mimic the effects of opioids, there are no MAT that mimic the effects of alcohol.
Remember that it is absolutely vital to seek professional advice if you are intending to go through alcohol withdrawal, as it can be fatal.
Acamprosate is a medication that helps reduce alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Acamprosate is typically taken three times a day and can be prescribed as part of an alcoholism rehabilitation process.
Disulfiram (Antabuse, Antabus)
Disulfiram is a medication that causes unpleasant side effects when alcohol is consumed, making it more difficult to continue drinking.
Naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol)
While naltrexone was originally manufactured to treat opioid addiction, it is also used to treat alcoholism. It works by blocking the effects of alcohol on the brain, making it more difficult to get drunk if alcohol is consumed. Naltrexone can be prescribed in pill or injection form, and it is typically taken once a month.
This medication has been shown to be effective in decreasing the number of drinking days, as well as the amount of alcohol consumed. It can also reduce cravings and increase abstinence rates among those struggling with alcoholism. Naltrexone can help individuals stay engaged in treatment and lead to better overall outcomes.
Note that if you drink alcohol while on naltrexone, while you will not get a “buzz”, you will become impaired. Do not attempt to drive if you have drunk alcohol while on naltrexone.
The Importance of Being Prescribed MAT
You should only take MAT with professional guidance because medications used for the addiction treatment process can be dangerous if not taken properly. They can cause serious side effects if taken in larger doses than prescribed or if they interact with other medications.
Taking MAT while under the care of a professional also allows for close monitoring and adjustments to the dosage when needed. This gives individuals suffering from addiction the best chance to achieve long-term recovery, as it can help reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and the risk of relapse
How To Get Addiction Treatment Help
If you are struggling with addiction, know that you do not have to go through this alone. There is help available and many resources to get the treatment and support you need.
One of the best options for treating addiction is either a comprehensive drug rehabilitation process or alcoholism rehabilitation process at an accredited rehab center. These centers provide a safe, supportive environment with medical professionals who specialize in addiction recovery. Treatment typically involves evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care.
Rehabs also often offer medication-assisted treatment to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which can make it easier to stay on track and achieve long-term sobriety.
If you would like to know more about the addiction treatment process and how you can get your life back, contact Prosperity Haven today.
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