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Medication Assisted Treatment "MAT"

The Uses of Medication Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Addiction is a frightening disease that affects the lives of all who meet it. It is estimated that 20.3 million people in the United States, age 12 and older, are currently struggling with a substance abuse disorder. Addictions to alcohol, opioids, and other substances can result in lifelong negative consequences and fatalities in many cases.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2020 there were 81,000 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the United States alone. We need to change those numbers. There are too many people losing their lives to substance abuse problems every day.

At Warner Park Recovery, we understand that a one size fits all approach to the treatment planning process doesn’t work. We know that every individual that seeks help comes in with a unique set of circumstances and experiences along with individual needs that need to be met in order to give them the best experience in gaining long-term recovery. We support our clients in utilizing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to get them to the goal of a full recovery. Addiction treatment plans for MAT are patient-specific and are created with input from the patient, prescribing doctor, and treatment team.

Is MAT effective?

What is MAT?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the combination of the use of medications and behavioral therapies to treat substance use addictions. More specifically, MAT programs are most often recommended to those suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD). Medications used for MAT are U.S Food and Drug Administration-approved and are known to be the most effective intervention in treating OUD, compared to behavioral interventions and medication alone. Each MAT medication differs in the way it works to relieve withdrawal symptoms and/or block the euphoric effects of the drugs.

Is MAT Effective?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, medication-assisted treatment has proven to be effective in treating the withdrawal symptoms and negative effects of opioid and alcohol use. Paired with treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling, MAT programs utilize a “whole person” approach to treating opioid dependence and alcohol addiction and are helpful in assisting patients in long-term sobriety. This treatment approach has been known to

  • Improve survival rates of those suffering from substance use disorders.
  • Increase retention and willingness to remain in treatment.
  • Decrease illicit opioid use, binge drinking, and other health problems caused by addiction
  • Increase daily functioning and ability to maintain a normal routine.
  • Improve live birth outcomes among women who are pregnant and struggling with substance use.

After a study conducted in 2015, following the long term effectiveness of MAT, results showed,

  • 18 months after receiving MAT treatment, 50% of participants were still abstinent from drugs
  • After 3-5 years, 61% of participants were still sober, with fewer than 10% meeting the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for a diagnosis of drug dependence.

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What Are the Types of Medications Used For MAT?

Different medications exist to treat addiction depending upon the substances an individual is struggling with.

Medications Used for Opioid Addiction

  • Buprenorphine– suppresses and reduces cravings for opioids. This medication also expels existing opioids from the opioid receptors in the brain and blocks other opioids from attaching. Buprenorphine can also prevent withdrawal and associated symptoms for up to 72 hours. Buprenorphine is available as a pill, a film placed in the cheek or under the tongue, as an injection, or as an implant. FDA approved brands include:
    • Probuphine implant
    • Sublocade – and extended-release injection of buprenorphine (BUP-XR)
    • Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
    • Subutex (buprenorphine and naloxone) film or tablet
    • Zubsolv (buprenorphine and naloxone) tablets
    • Bunavail (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
    • Cassipa (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
  • Methadone – Methadone reduces cravings for opioids and withdrawal symptoms. It also blocks the effects of opioids. Methadone can only be dispensed through certified Opioid Treatment providers certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Methadone fully binds the opioid receptors in the brain, which means it prevents withdrawal symptoms while not producing euphoric effects. Methadone is available in liquid (Methadose) or tablet (Dolophine).
  • Naltrexone– Naltrexone is used to block the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids. It is mainly used as a relapse prevention drug. It does not prevent withdrawal symptoms. Patients must be free from the use of opioids for at least 7-10 days before taking naltrexone.

Medications Used For Alcohol Use Disorder

Acamprosate: a medication that lowers cravings for alcohol and prevents people from wanting to drink again. This medication does not prevent withdrawal symptoms. It will lose its effect if a person is beginning to engage in drinking or substance abuse after taking it. The use of acamprosate usually begins around the 5th day of abstinence. It is offered in tablet form

  • Campral

 Disulfiram treats chronic alcoholism. Disulfiram is most effective in individuals who have already completed detoxification from all substances. This medication comes in tablet form.

  • Antabuse

Naltrexone: naltrexone blocks the feelings of intoxication induced by alcohol and allows individuals to stay motivated, remain in treatment, and prevent relapses. Naltrexone comes in pill form and in the form of an extended-release injection that lasts 30 days.

  • Vivitrol

How Can MAT Help Me?

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or alcohol-related issues, finding a treatment center that offers a wide variety of different modalities and treatments to meet their specific needs. If this is your first time doing treatment, or if you have been to treatment previously, participating in a Medication Assisted Treatment program may help you to meet the desired goals and outcomes you wish to achieve.

The most important part of recovery is building a sustainable life that you are proud to be living. We just have to find the best course of action to make it work for you.

If you have questions about MAT, Addiction Treatment of Mental Health Services, call our admissions line today to speak with one of our clinical counselors for more information on services available to you.
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