What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the medical use of prescription medications to treat a substance use disorder. Under a MAT program, a doctor will prescribe medication. These can include an antidepressant, antianxiety agent, or narcotic pain reliever. Then the patient will take this drug under supervision by a qualified healthcare professional.
MAT is sometimes called medically-assisted treatment or pharmacotherapy. This evidence-based practice improves the physical and mental health of patients living with a substance use disorder.
As overseen by the staff at Pacific Sands Recovery, a medication-assisted treatment program in Orange County, California includes both the prescription of medications and therapy. These address the causes of the addiction. This combination can include education about the nature of addiction.
Additionally, this treatment can provide coping skills training, peer support, and other services. This combination of appropriate medication and therapy makes MAT ideal for people with addiction.
MAT for alcohol use disorder works by addressing the physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms of alcohol addiction. The first step is a full clinical assessment. This ensures the medical professional understands the scope of the individual’s needs. Then they can develop a customized plan to achieve recovery.
After the assessment, the provider recommends a prescription medication. Additionally, there are certain therapeutic approaches that are appropriate to the patient’s needs. Prescription medications that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in MAT programs for alcohol use disorder include:
Acamprosate is marketed under the brand name Campral. This medication is administered orally in tablet form. People who are prescribed Acamprosate typically take this medication 3 times per day.
Disulfiram is marketed under the trade name Antabuse. Disulfiram in an MAT program for alcohol use disorder makes drinking alcohol an unpleasant experience. This happens by disrupting the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. This results in distressing symptoms like nausea, headache, vomiting, and elevated heart rate. Disulfiram is taken orally, usually once per day.
Naltrexone is sold under the brand names Vivitrol and Revia. When a person takes naltrexone, they do not experience the pleasurable effects of alcohol. This is because the medication blocks alcohol’s ability to trigger the release of endorphins. Vivitrol is an extended-release medication that is delivered via monthly injection. Revia is a tablet that is usually taken on a daily basis.
Does Orange County Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?
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 increase highlights MATs role in preventing relapse and encouraging sobriety.
There is a reason why we offer medication-assisted treatment programs in Orange County, California. MAT has many different benefits for our clients, the first being:
Effectiveness of MAT
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.
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.
Freedom and Flexibility
After completing their stay at our facility, it doesn’t mean stopping treatment. A person can still continue to use MAT medications to encourage their recovery for as long as they need to. Additionally, they don’t have to commit to an indefinite stay at our facility. This means that a person can get back to their normal everyday life with less fear of relapse, and have the necessary support.
Enhance Other Forms of Treatment
If a person’s addiction is very severe, for instance, MAT can be integrated into other, more intensive addiction treatment programs. This can include 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 them get the best of both worlds when it comes to recovery.
Return to Normal Life
One of the more challenging aspects of addiction recovery is transitioning back to one’s normal home life after treatment. Many people fear losing the support of their addiction treatment program. Despite this, with an MAT program, a person can be confident in knowing their treatment is still available as long as they need it.
A common misconception associated with MAT is that it is simply switching out 1 drug for another. This is not true. A medication-assisted treatment program in Orange County, California relieves the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that many experience while in recovery.
This provides stability for the patient, so that they can do the necessary clinical work needed to achieve long-term recovery. That being said, MAT is not a “silver bullet” approach to addiction recovery. An MAT program can fail if the patient is unwilling or unable to delve into their own emotions and motivations as they relate to substance abuse.
Some medications that are prescribed for substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder are prone to abuse, with people sometimes combining medications with illicit substances or other prescription drugs. For example, Methadone is often combined with benzodiazepines to create a dangerous, sometimes fatal, drug cocktail.