Alcoholism and opioid abuse aren’t just 2 of the most serious addictions facing our society today, unfortunately, they are also 2 of the most difficult to treat. Consequently, many people who suffer from an alcohol or opioid addiction struggle to find a program that addresses all of the unique complications that these addictions can lead to.
In recent years, however, a new treatment method has become increasingly popular due to its effectiveness in treating alcoholism and opioid addiction. Medication assisted treatment has been approved by the FDA to treat both opioid and alcohol use disorders. Fortunately, it is a level of care we offer at our Orange County treatment center.
Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
Clients who are dealing with the effects of opiate use, when appropriate, can benefit from the inclusion of medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in their treatment program. This includes opioids such as heroin and certain prescription pain relievers. There are 3 medications currently approved by the FDA for medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
These medications include:
- Buprenorphine: Suppresses cravings
- Naltrexone: Blocks the effects of opioids
- Methadone: Works to reduce cravings for opioids and withdrawal symptoms, and also prevents users from getting high if they do use opioids
A healthcare professional should prescribe the drug and monitor the use of these medications including the decision to discontinue use it. This is because many people benefit from being weaned off of these medications over time.
Medication Assisted Treatment for Alcohol
Though more commonly thought of as a treatment option for opiate use, medication assisted treatment (MAT) is also effective for treating alcohol use disorders. The medications used to treat clients struggling with alcohol use do not provide a cure, but they can help clients develop and maintain behaviors that will help them stay sober.
There are currently 3 FDA-approved prescription drugs used for people who are looking to get and remain sober from alcohol. Medications used in medication assisted treatment for alcohol use disorder include:
- Acamprosate: Used for people in recovery to prevent drinking
- Disulfiram: Treats chronic alcoholism after detox
- Naltrexone: Blocks the desired feelings of intoxication to reduce alcohol use
MAT is not suitable for all clients, but can be a valuable treatment approach when carefully monitored by a healthcare professional.
Medication assisted treatment has proven to be exceptionally conducive to long-term addiction recovery. It is based on extensive medical research and is supported by positive results. In fact, the American Medical Association backs this treatment fully, commemorating doctors on their use of medication in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.
Adding to the credibility of medication assisted treatment is the fact that those in charge of administering these medications must be thoroughly qualified. For example, a physician must be specially trained and certified in order to administer medications such as buprenorphine. Further, a study conducted in 2015 even shows that the long-term drug abstinence rate is over 60% in those who received MAT for opioid dependence. Combined with other evidence-based treatments, this rate increases, highlighting MATs role in preventing relapse and encouraging sobriety.
There is a reason why we offer medication assisted treatment programs for opioid and alcohol addictions at Pacific Sands Recovery in Orange County. MAT has many different benefits for our clients, the first one being:
- Its effectiveness.
The biggest benefit of MAT is just how effective it is at helping people overcome an addiction to opioids or alcohol. Research has shown MAT is much more effective than trying just medication or therapy alone. This is because of its focus on treating every aspect of a person’s addiction in a holistic way, rather than just focusing on a single area. Another benefit is:
- It can be more affordable than other treatments.
Secondly, for many people, the cost of addiction treatment is what keeps them from trying to get help. But with recent changes in health insurance regulations, many plans now cover at least part of the cost of MAT programs, making them more affordable than other addiction treatment options that aren’t covered. Another benefit is:
- It gives clients more freedom.
After you have completed your stay at our facility, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop treatment. You can still continue to use MAT medications to support your recovery for as long as you need to, without having to commit to an indefinite stay at our facility. This means that you can get back to your normal everyday life with less fear of relapse, and have the support you need for as long as you need it. Therefore:
- It can be used along with other treatment programs.
If your addiction is very severe, for instance, MAT can be integrated into other, more intensive addiction treatment programs like intensive inpatient rehab programs. It can also be used as a part of more holistic recovery programs by adding in alternative therapies such as massage in order to help you get the best of both worlds when it comes to your recovery. Lastly:
- It can make it easier for you to return home.
One of the more challenging aspects of addiction recovery is transitioning back to your normal home life after treatment. Many people fear losing the support of their addiction treatment program. Despite this, with an MAT program, you can be confident in knowing that your treatment is still available to you for as long as you need it.