Using mediation to help treat addiction may seem counterproductive, but it actually has numerous benefits for those currently in recovery. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can make the recovery process smoother, especially in the beginning, and has a number of benefits for those seeking long-term sobriety. By learning more about MAT and its benefits, individuals can begin to understand how useful it is in recovery and see how it can help in their own recovery journey. By using MAT in your recovery, you can reap its benefits and begin living your best sober life.
What is MAT?
Based on the name, some individuals may believe that MAT is simply using medication to aid in addiction recovery. However, it has additional concepts that need to be understood. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, MAT is “the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.” The medications used to help patients are regulated under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the safety of patients within facilities across the United States. This treatment approach is used to not only help individuals have a successful recovery but also to help prevent or reduce opioid overdose. One of the most common medications used in MAT is naltrexone.
MAT is typically used for opioid addiction, such as prescription opioids and heroin. It works by reducing cravings, blocking the euphoric effects produced by opioids, and normalizing brain chemistry. Over time, MAT can help sustain recovery from opioids and other drugs when used in combination with other behavioral therapies and treatment methods.
Naltrexone for MAT
One of the approved medications used for MAT is naltrexone, which is known to reduce cravings and treat both opioid and alcohol use disorders. It can either be taken as a pill or injected, which is up to the discretion of the medical professional prescribing it. It works best when used in combination with other therapies. Naltrexone is not addictive nor an opioid, and it does not have any known withdrawal symptoms. It blocks the euphoric effects produced by various opioids such as morphine, heroin, and codeine.
It is recommended to wait a minimum of seven days after last short-acting opioid use and ten to fourteen days after long-acting opioids before first taking naltrexone. If you have any questions regarding its use during your treatment, ask your doctor or treatment provider.
What To Expect
Under federal law, those that undergo MAT are required to receive counseling. Counseling often includes various types of behavioral therapy, which help MAT be more effective in the long term. Your doctor and treatment team will decide the best course of action regarding MAT based on various assessments of your overall mental and physical health. From there, you will be given a prescription(s) to help you through the recovery process. During this time, you will also participate in other addiction treatment services, including individual and group therapy, case management, educational workshops, and holistic therapies. Your progress will be monitored, and prescriptions may be adjusted over time, depending on your progress.
Benefits of MAT
It can be easy to dismiss MAT as a counterproductive form of treatment because patients are being given more drugs to recover from drug addiction. However, there are many benefits to this treatment approach that outway the possible negative impacts. With proper monitoring and planning by your treatment team, you can reap the benefits of MAT throughout the recovery process.
Benefits of MAT include:
- Sustained recovery
- Safe for use
- Increased treatment retention
- Smaller risk of overdose
- Better social functioning
- More freedom within recovery
Is MAT Right For Me?
The best way to know if MAT is suitable for you is by undergoing screening and analysis at the treatment facility you attend. Screening and analysis will give your treatment team a better idea as to if you are the right candidate for MAT treatment. Those that have a history of abusing prescription medication may not benefit from MAT. You must agree to comply with the prescription instructions and be willing to participate in the other treatment methods you receive, such as counseling.
If you are considering MAT as a part of your recovery journey, talk to your doctor. You cannot make this decision on your own, and it is crucial to have guidance from an expert. Your number one priority is your sobriety, and nothing is worth risking the recovery you have worked so hard for.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a common treatment method used to help patients recovering from opioid or alcohol addiction. It involves using approved medications by the FDA in conjunction with other treatment modalities such as behavioral therapies to help patients find success in recovery. If you are considering MAT as a part of your recovery, Lakehouse Recovery Center is here to help. We utilize a variety of treatment modalities, including MAT, to address our patients’ individual needs and give them the best chance at long-term sobriety. At Lakehouse, we pride ourselves on being a family-like treatment center as we laugh, cry, and grow together. We even offer a virtual IOP for California residents so you can get the help you need from the comfort of your home. We understand the pandemic hasn’t been easy, and we are here to support you throughout the healing process. To learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you find healing, call us today at (877) 762-3707.