Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) uses medications in conjunction with counseling or behavioral therapies to treat substance abuse disorders. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approves medication used in MAT. MAT programs are clinically driven and customized to each patient’s individual needs.
These disorders can be successfully treated with a combination therapy and medication. Some people who struggle with addiction can benefit from MAT. MAT can also be used to reduce or prevent opioid overdose. MAT is used to treat addiction to opioids, such as heroin or prescription pain relievers that include opiates. The prescription medication works to restore brain chemistry, reduce the euphoric effects from alcohol and opioids, alleviate physiological cravings, and normalize the body’s functions without any negative or euphoric side effects.
Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is the use FDA-approved medications and behavioral treatments to treat substance abuse disorder. Traditional treatment methods focus on therapeutic interventions only. MAT programs incorporate pharmacotherapy as well as medication management in the treatment of those with addiction to opioids or other drugs. Addiction treatment providers can offer care that is holistic by combining behavioral and medication therapy.
The most commonly used medications in medication-assisted treatments programs are:
If a patient experiences withdrawal symptoms during detox, they may be prescribed any of the medications listed above or any other prescription or over-the-counter medication. The medications can be used to ease withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings. This makes it easier and safer for patients to go through detox. These medications can also be helpful in early recovery, reducing the chance of relapse and increasing treatment retention rates. Important to remember that medication alone does not cure drug and alcohol addiction. They are meant to be used in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment program.
People who are addicted to opioids like heroin, oxycodone or fentanyl are best suited for medication-assisted treatment programs. MAT may also be beneficial for patients with alcohol abuse disorders. The medication prescribed for treatment helps to normalize brain chemistry, body functions, decrease drug cravings, and prevent the euphoric effects associated with opioids and alcohol.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved all medications used in MAT. These medications are generally safe and reliable when administered correctly. However, doctors don’t recommend that they be mixed with anxiety treatments or benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, Valium, or Xanax. Providers who offer opioid treatment programs (OTPs), must be approved by the SAMHSA and follow federal guidelines.
Federal law mandates that all MAT patients must be provided with counseling that includes several forms of behavioral therapy. All MAT patients can receive additional services such as medical, vocational, or educational assistance.  Patients who are enrolled in outpatient or inpatient rehab will be able to participate in individual and group therapies to help identify and overcome destructive thought patterns and behaviors. The therapists are able to help patients develop more positive coping strategies and assist them in dealing with traumas or other co-occurring disorders.
Three FDA-approved medications are currently available to treat opioid dependence or opioid use disorder. These medications include buprenorphine and methadone.
Methadone, the first prescription medication for opioid abuse, was used in the early days of the opioid epidemic. However, it is still the most commonly used drug today. Methadone is used to treat severe pain and relieve withdrawal symptoms. Methadone, an opioid analgesic, works by changing the brain’s perception and response to pain. Methadone prevents people who are dependent upon opioid drugs from suffering severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It is not recommended as often as buprenorphine or other opioid medications due to its high potential for abuse.
Buprenorphine, a partial opioid antagonist given at Suboxone Clinics, prevents opioid addicts from experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. By binding to opioid receptors in your brain, it blocks the effects of other opioids. Buprenorphine can be found in many forms and is a popular opioid treatment. There are four types of buprenorphine available on the market: 
In order to prevent prescription misuse, buprenorphine is frequently prescribed together with naloxone.
Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, reduces the desire for opiates and prevents their effects. You can get the medication in pill form, or Vivitrol as an extended-release injectable. Naltrexone can also be used to treat alcohol abuse disorder. 
Patients with alcohol abuse disorder may also be prescribed Vivitrol or Naltrexone.
For patients who have completed alcohol detox, disulfiram may be taken along with peer support and counseling for treatment of alcoholism. Antabuse is a brand name for disulfiram. It stops the body from processing alcohol, causing people to have bad reactions when they drink. This can be used to stop alcohol abuse.
People who have quit drinking and wish to stop drinking again can also use Acamprosate. Acamprosate is sold under the brand Campral. It restores balance in the body and mind, which ultimately reduces alcohol cravings. Campral is not addictive and will not cause you to get sick.
The MAT programs use medications to treat addiction. None of the medications mentioned above can be used to cure drug or alcohol addiction. They help the patient to reduce withdrawal symptoms and curb their cravings for drugs. Patients should also participate in a comprehensive addiction treatment plan that includes peer support and behavioral therapy.
Patients will be offered individual and group therapy to address the root causes of their addiction. Patients are free to concentrate on their recovery without having to deal with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Co-occurring disorders, underlying trauma and unhealthy coping strategies will all be addressed in addiction treatment programs. Patients can learn to manage cravings and maintain sobriety with intensive counseling and therapy.
Patients may be able to participate in therapies and other activities while enrolled in the MAT program.
Peer support is encouraged in medication-assisted treatment programs. Most people’s recovery does not end when they leave rehab. They must continue to treat their addiction by taking part in 12-step fellowships, alumni groups, or any other type of sober support. To prevent relapse, it is important that a person who has finished taking their medication stops using them.
Every day, nearly 130 Americans die from opioid-related overdoses in the United States. It is vital that Americans have access to the best addiction treatment options, as the opioid crisis continues to ravage the country. Patients receiving medication-assisted therapy can expect a holistic and personalized approach that combines behavioral therapy and medication. It provides the support services needed for those in recovery. There are many benefits to MAT programs.
MAT may not be for everyone, despite the many benefits. Talk to your doctor or addiction specialist about the best treatment for you.
Our drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is accredited and proudly provides medication-assisted treatment for those suffering from opioid or alcohol addiction. We understand how difficult early recovery can seem, but we have the resources, expertise, and tools to help you through it. Contact keys to tranquility today if you or your loved one are ready for a better future.
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