For many years, there were simply no effective FDA-approved medications available to treat opioid use disorder. Medication assisted treatment is a relatively new phenomenon, and there are still several myths that persist as a result. MAT does not replace one addiction with another. Instead, it eases the famously challenging symptoms associated with withdrawal symptoms and promotes recovery when given in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
As soon as you’re ready, you can join a state-licensed Alcohol & Other Drug Entity and Behavioral Health Services Organization residential program. Here you receive medication management alongside a variety of therapy and counseling approaches. At Brookside Treatment, we can help you to taper off Buprenorphine, Subutex, Vivitrol or Zubsolv.
What Is MAT?
It is a method of addiction treatment that includes the use of medication in conjunction with behavioral therapy. Medication alone, without psychological intervention, would not be sufficient. What it can do is lower mortality rates and help individuals overcome the excruciating acute withdrawal symptoms. MAT is particularly useful in treating so-called physically addictive drugs.
Substances like alcohol, heroin, benzos and prescription opioids trick your body and mind into thinking they’re necessary for you to function. This is more than an intense craving — it’s a compulsion to abuse drugs or alcohol because of complex genetic, environmental and neurological reasons.
MAT is not the right treatment path for everyone, but it can help many people overcome addiction. One of the most notable aspects of addressing substance use disorders is that different treatment plans work for each individual. There’s no one-size-fits-all; instead, a combination of styles of care, therapy, hard work and sometimes medication is necessary.
How Does MAT Help With Overcoming Addiction?
If you’ve been using heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl or any opiate painkillers and you suddenly stop, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. They occur because the body has adapted to accommodate chronic drug use. When the substance is taken away, the body thinks something is seriously wrong.
Psychoactive drugs can lead to severe imbalances of neurotransmitters and hormones, which can feel terrible for the person experiencing them. Additionally, your brain will be crying out for you to take the substance so you can stop feeling awful. MAT works in the following ways:
- Reduces uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms
- Lowers the risk of relapse in the acute recovery phase
- Permits a slow, gentle taper from the psychoactive substance to prevent shock and facilitate adjustment to living without opiates
- Provides the medical supervision you need in the early phases of recovery
Typical Length of MAT Treatment
In most cases, it is used to alleviate the worst symptoms associated with the acute stages of opiate withdrawal. In some severe cases, such as for clients who struggle with chronic relapse, it may be necessary indefinitely.
In most cases, however, MAT helps you to manage the worst symptoms you might feel during the first month or two of quitting. The worst withdrawal symptoms usually resolve after a few weeks, although most people experience mild symptoms for much longer. It’s important that you build the resilience to resist and overcome these mild symptoms unaided as part of the recovery journey.
When you’re ready, you can attend a structured substance abuse treatment facility to get the support, guidance, and counseling necessary to taper off from the medication.
How Effective Is The Therapy?
Addiction presents itself differently in each individual, so it’s impossible to say without a doubt that one type of treatment service will work for you. However, MAT has proven highly effective in helping many people escape the trenches of addiction. Not only does it help clients stay on the road to recovery because of the relative lack of discomfort, it also reduces opioid abuse when compared with nonmedical approaches.
However, it’s still utterly essential that holistic therapy is offered as well. This means that in most cases, more than one evidence-based therapy approach is required to help someone successfully overcome their affliction.
Treatment of opioid dependence is never a case of trying one mode of care and if that doesn’t work, it’s hopeless. Most people need to try a range of therapy styles alongside MAT, exercise, psychoeducation and other lifestyle adaptations. As part of the continuum of care for opioid use disorders, the treatment approach is highly effective.
The Importance of Behavioral Therapy
Medication alone would arguably encourage clients to replace one addiction with another, FDA-approved one. However, the inclusion of therapy and psychoeducation empower you and give you the coping skills to push harder and harder for sobriety.
In particular, behavioral therapy is recommended alongside MAT. CBT is arguably the most popular and effective form of treatment for people suffering from addiction, mental health issues and behavioral disorders.
During CBT, you work with a CDC-approved counselor to identify the unhelpful underlying beliefs that drive your unwanted behaviors. They’ll spend a small percentage of your time together asking you questions about your past. This is to give them an idea of your beliefs and where they’ve come from. Unlike traditional talking therapy, the counselor isn’t trying to draw meaning from your subconscious. CBT takes a more practical approach with a clear focus on the here and now.
At rehab, you will also take part in traditional psychotherapy to help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and how you view yourself in relation to the world. You might also take part in art therapy classes, family therapy, psychoeducation, spiritual development, nutritional education, anger management, yoga, mindfulness stress management and aftercare.
If that seems like a lot of treatment options for one condition — it is! And with good reason. Addiction is more than a disease of the body or mind; it occurs as a result of a multitude of factors and reasons. To get to the root of your individual substance use disorder, you’ll need to explore many different avenues and go through trial and error to find what works. When you do, you’ll make the changes necessary to start working towards your goals and dreams.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are a variety of benefits to using MAT as a part of an opioid treatment program, including:
- There’s scientific evidence to support its effectiveness.
- Someone taking part in an MAT course is less likely to get in trouble with the law, suffer from drug-induced illness or relapse.
- It encourages individuals to take an active role in their own recovery.
- It helps to control cravings, which are a leading cause of relapse.
- Painful or difficult withdrawal symptoms are associated with relapse, and MAT significantly minimizes them.
- It makes the initial stages of addiction recovery much easier.
Although it is helpful for most of the people who require it as part of their treatment plan, there are some drawbacks, too:
- There can be side effects that occur as a result of treatment.
- It is absolutely not intended as a standalone treatment option.
- Opioid antagonists might decrease someone’s tolerance to the substance, so if they relapse, there’s a considerable risk of overdose.
- Some medications are addictive.
Get the Help You Need Now
Medication-assisted treatment is often a necessary step on the recovery journey for people with a severe OUD. As soon as you’re ready, you should transition into a licensed addiction treatment center to get the holistic care you need. At Brookside Treatment, we’ve helped thousands of people to overcome opioid use disorders and regain control over their future. Call us today at 606-658-3078 to speak to one of our friendly advisors.