Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), in combination with behavioral therapy, is primarily used in opioid, alcohol, and nicotine substance use disorders. MAT may also be used in the treatment of cocaine, benzodiazepine, and other types of substance use disorders.
MAT is most commonly used for opioid use disorders, and is an assistive therapy to the overall treatment of a person struggling with opioid addiction. It is not a cure, nor does it ensure successful recovery. Unless the person actively participates in other behavioral treatments, such as counseling, therapy, long-term aftercare, and peer support, the chances of long-term recovery from addiction drop drastically.
Once an individual enters detox, he or she will be under medical supervision and can begin taking one of several different types of opioid antagonist medications (e.g., Methadone, Suboxone, Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, and others) designed to reduce withdrawal symptoms and lessen cravings. Once MAT has reduced withdrawal symptoms and cravings, the risk of relapse is lowered, and the treatment team may begin a slow, comfortable taper into recovery.
MAT is aimed at addressing the early stages of withdrawal, but in some instances, it can be used indefinitely if an individual has serious relapse issues. Opponents to MAT note that it replaces one addiction with another, since some MAT medications have addictive properties. However, patients do not get the same “high” that they would when using their opiate of choice, and the end goal is tapering completely off all medication.
It is important to remember that all medications have side-effects, and some MAT drugs can be addictive. Naltrexone, used for both opiate and alcohol addiction is a non-addictive option that can reduce cravings. If an individual relapses, it blocks the opioid receptors, thereby preventing the user from feeling the typical “high” associated with alcohol and opiate use. Options are available, and your treatment team will discuss a plan best suited to your needs.
Coming off opiates can be very difficult for many people, and withdrawal often leads to relapse. Medication-assisted therapy offers an alternative, softer approach that may increase the odds of an individual’s success in recovery. Through therapy and craving control, treatment focuses on getting you through detox, and providing you with the best tools to prepare you for a fulfilling life in long-term recovery. Today is a great day to begin the rest of your life and we are here to help you get started.
New Vista Behavioral Health is committed to helping you on your road to long term recovery. Begin our partnership today by calling 888-316-3665.