Those who are working to overcome drug or alcohol addiction benefit from a range of approaches to treatment. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help some individuals in recovery build a strong foundation for lasting sobriety. Some clients may never need MAT treatment, especially if their substance use disorders are mild. However, some cannot break through withdrawal discomforts and pursue lifelong addiction recovery without it.
Clients with severe opioid or alcohol addictions may require admittance into medication-assisted treatment centers. Those with substance use disorders throughout the United States can benefit from MAT options such as suboxone treatment or Vivitrol treatment. The correct medication can minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
While MAT treatment is an excellent option for clients that need help when it comes to substance abuse recovery, you and your family may have concerns about these medications. If you have any questions about MAT treatment and other forms of care offered by addiction treatment centers, call Casco Bay Recovery or contact our team online.
What Is a Medication-Assisted Treatment Center?
Research has shown that MAT treatment has been clinically effective when it comes to helping clients achieve and maintain recovery. This is likely because MAT treatment provides comprehensive but always individually tailored medication-based and behavior-based programs of treatment. The inclusion of medication-assisted therapy in addiction treatment programs has been shown to:
- Decrease illicit drug use and other criminal activity
- Improve birth outcomes among pregnant people who also have substance use disorders
- Improve client survival
- Increase the ability to gain and maintain employment
- Increase retention in treatment
Medications and therapies that are part of MAT treatment can also lower a client’s risk of contracting hepatitis C or HIV by reducing the potential for relapse. With all the benefits of MAT treatment, it only makes sense to have addiction treatment facilities that are medication-assisted treatment centers as well.
Clients who participate in our MAT treatment programs typically come into our Portland addiction treatment center daily to receive their predetermined dose. Usually, they will also attend group or individual counseling sessions. The FDA-approved medications used in the medication-assisted treatment are always prescribed and distributed by medical staff who are trained to do so.
In terms of inpatient treatment programs, MAT may also include medical and nutritional supervision. Other medications, some of which can be purchased over-the-counter, can also be given to clients to relieve discomfort caused by withdrawal symptoms.
How Effective is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment is considered to be one of the most effective strategies for helping people overcome addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that medication-assisted treatment can triple a person’s chance of success in overcoming addiction.
How Do Withdrawal Symptoms Affect The Brain?
Withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous. They can cause intense cravings for a drug, which can lead to relapse. The central nervous system is affected by addictive drugs. When someone stops using an addictive drug, the central nervous system goes into overdrive as it tries to adjust.
This can lead to a wide range of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can lead to malnourishment, dehydration, and even death. To help people manage withdrawal symptoms and increase their chance of success in overcoming addiction, MAT treatment uses medication to ease the transition.
For example, when someone is addicted to opioids, that person’s brain has been changed by the drug. Medication-assisted treatment works by reversing some of these changes, which allows a person to think more clearly and make better decisions. The medication also helps to reduce cravings, so a person is less likely to relapse.
The Withdrawal Timeline
The withdrawal symptom timeline begins after the last dose of the addictive drug. Early symptoms can include feeling anxious, sweaty, and having a rapid pulse. As the detoxification process continues, the symptoms can become more severe. They can include seizures, hallucinations, and paranoia.
In some cases, people have died from withdrawal symptoms. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can also occur up to a year after the detoxification process. Some people may experience symptoms like anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping for months or even years after detoxification.
What Are the Alcohol and Drug Medications Used During MAT Treatment?
MAT involves taking medication combined with counseling and behavioral therapies. The medication helps reduce cravings for the addictive drug and blocks the effects of the drug if someone does relapse. Counseling and behavioral therapies help people learn how to stay sober and how to cope with triggers that may lead to drug use.
The three medications which are currently approved by the FDA for medication-assisted treatment are:
- Methadone – this is an opioid medication that helps reduce cravings for heroin and other opioids
- Buprenorphine – this is a medication that helps reduce cravings for opioids and also decreases the symptoms of withdrawal
- Naltrexone – this blocks the effects of opioids and can help reduce cravings
All three of these medications come in pill form, and people usually take them once a day.
When Can I Use MAT Treatment?
It is important to note that medication-assisted treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some people may need medication for the rest of their lives, while others may only need it for a short period of time.
How Does MAT Treatment Help Individuals Manage Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms are the common causes of relapse. Medication-assisted treatment can help individuals manage these symptoms, which in turn reduces the risk of relapse.
Withdrawal symptoms can present a timeline of their own, and in some cases, can last for weeks or even months. Medication-assisted treatment can help to ensure that those going through withdrawal have the best chance of completing detoxification and remaining abstinent.
Despite the various substances abused, here are some of the common withdrawal symptoms:
- Alcohol: Shaking, sweating, nausea, vomiting, anxiety
- Benzodiazepines: Confusion, delirium, seizures
- Heroin: Muscle cramps, bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea
Prescription Drugs: anxiety, depression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Are There Any Risks Associated with Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Like with any medication, there are always risks associated with taking them. However, the risks associated with medication-assisted therapy are minimal when compared to the risks of continuing to use drugs. Medication-assisted treatment has been shown to be safe and effective in helping people achieve and maintain sobriety.
For pregnant women, medication-assisted treatment is often the best way to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s recommended to consult with the healthcare professionals to determine which medications would be best suited for you.
MAT Treatment Myths Debunked
Some myths involved in MAT treatment are that medication-assisted treatment is just substituting one addiction for another, or that it is simply giving up. In reality though, medication-assisted treatment is a way to get an individual off of drugs and onto a path to recovery. It also allows an individual to live a healthier, more productive life.
There are many benefits to medication-assisted treatment, including:
- Reduced Drug Use: One of the main benefits of medication-assisted treatment is that it can help reduce drug use. This is because medication-assisted treatment helps to stabilize the person’s condition, which in turn reduces cravings for drugs.
- Improved Mental Health: Another benefit of medication-assisted treatment is that it can improve mental health. This is because medication-assisted treatment can help to address the underlying issues that may be contributing to the person’s drug use.
- Increased Productivity: Another benefit of medication-assisted treatment is that it can increase productivity. This is because medication-assisted treatment can help the person to get his or her life back on track, which can lead to an increase in productivity.
What are the Costs Associated with Medication-Assisted Treatment?
The costs associated with medication-assisted treatment can vary depending on the medication that is used and the method of treatment. However, in general, medication-assisted treatment tends to be more expensive than traditional drug rehabilitation programs.
- Methadone treatment -including medication and integrated psychosocial and medical support services (assumes daily visits): $126.00 per week or $6,552.00 per year
- Buprenorphine for a stable patient provided in a certified OTP, including medication and twice-weekly visits: $115.00 per week or $5,980.00 per year.
- Naltrexone provided in an OTP, including drug, drug administration, and related services: $1,176.50 per month or $14,112.00 per year.
How Can Medication-Assisted Treatment Improve Mental Health?
Medication-assisted treatment can improve mental health in several ways. First, it can help to reduce or eliminate cravings for drugs. This can make it easier for people with addictions to stay clean and sober.
Second, medication-assisted therapy can help to stabilize moods and reduce anxiety or depression. This can make it easier for people with addiction to cope with stress and triggers that might lead to relapse.
Third, medication-assisted treatment can improve cognitive function and focus. This can make it easier for people with addiction to learn new skills and stay on track with their rehabilitation program. Fourth, medication-assisted treatment can help to reduce the risk of suicide.
Are There Alternatives to Medication-Assisted Treatment?
There are a few alternatives to medication-assisted treatment, but they are not as effective. Some people may try to replace medication-assisted treatment with self-help programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
While these programs can be helpful, they are not as effective as a medication-assisted treatment in reducing relapse rates. Others may try to replace medication-assisted treatment with therapy or counseling. However, research has shown that medication-assisted treatment is more effective than therapy or counseling when it comes to reducing relapse rates.
What Is Suboxone Treatment?
Buprenorphine, more popularly known as Suboxone, works to reduce strong cravings of addiction and the physical discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone occupies the same parts of the brain that common opioid drugs occupy. However, there is no high associated with this medication.
Suboxone also contains naloxone. Along with buprenorphine, this is effective for treating opioid withdrawal. The combination alleviates physical symptoms and decreases cravings. If a client on Suboxone were to attempt to abuse opioids, he or she will experience adverse results due to naloxone. The latter counteracts the effects that opioids have on the brain.
What Is Vivitrol Treatment?
Vivitrol is extended-release injectable naltrexone. It’s an FDA-approved drug that’s scientifically proven to reduce opioid cravings and reduce alcohol relapse rates. This medication is provided once a month. It not only reduces cravings but also makes it impossible to get high from any opiate-derived drug.
An important note to remember is that Vivitrol treatment requires complete and total detoxification from opiates at least 14 days before the first MAT injection. It, therefore, cannot help during the initial detoxification period. Vivitrol is more apt to support clients having a difficult recovery process as they rebuild their lives past their detoxification and addiction treatment programs.
Learn More About Casco Bay Recovery’s Addiction Treatment Programs and Services
Have questions about medication-assisted treatment, Suboxone treatment, or Vivitrol treatment? Call Casco Bay Recovery or contact our team online to find out more about our medication-assisted treatment programs at rehab in Portland Maine.