The number of people who die from drug overdoses in America has reached a staggering level. The vast majority (70%) were killed by opioids, which shows how extensive our national crisis is becoming addicted to these painkillers. The numbers for alcohol and other drugs are even worse, making substance abuse a major problem today.
Medication-assisted treatment can help you recover if your life was torn apart because it reduces symptoms like withdrawal and craving; plus, blocking the effects helps block any desire for more dangerous drugs like heroin or cocaine.
In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): what it is, how long it lasts, and if it’s the right type of treatment for you!
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-assisted treatment is the use of medication in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. The goal of MAT is to reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and other negative effects associated with addiction and is one of the best opioid treatment programs in the world and is also great to treat alcohol use disorder needing addiction treatment.
It can help relieve physiological cravings, chemical imbalances, and psychological cravings and also normalize brain chemistry and normalize body functions without any euphoric effects, which is extremely important in opioid treatment programs because patients with substance abuse disorder are usually very sensitive to any type of treatment that works similarly to what they’re addicted to, whether that’s alcohol, heroin or any other type of drugs.
What Medication Is Used for MAT?
There are a few different types of medications that can be used in Medication Assisted Treatment. MAT medications include partial opioid agonists, prescription pain relievers, and other FDA-approved medications that are used as addiction medicine. Some of them include the following prescribed medication:
- Methadone: A long-acting synthetic opioid that is used to relieve severe withdrawal symptoms. Methadone treatment can be done orally or injected.
- Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor, which means it produces milder effects than full agonists like heroin or methadone. It is usually used to treat a host of withdrawal symptoms and cravings during opioid addiction treatment and general substance abuse treatment too.
- Naltrexone: An opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids. It is used to prevent relapse in people who have been detoxified or have a constant opioid use disorder. It can help treat opioid dependence and take the patient away from substance abuse in general.
What Symptoms Is a MAT Used to Relieve?
Below are some of the pain symptoms that are relieved using medication-assisted treatment.
Withdrawal symptoms: Medications used in MAT can help to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms that are left over from substance abuse disorder.
Cravings: Medications can help to reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol.
Anxiety: Medications can help to reduce anxiety and other mental health symptoms that may be associated with addiction.
How Does MAT Work?
MAT works by helping to stabilize brain chemistry, restore normal brain function, and relieve symptoms of withdrawal and cravings. This allows the patient in treatment to focus on recovery without being distracted by thoughts of using drugs or alcohol. It is most effective when it is used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and other support services.
Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Really Work?
Yes, medication-assisted treatment does work. It has been shown to be effective in reducing withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and other negative effects of addiction. Medication-assisted treatment is also associated with better outcomes in terms of employment, criminal activity, and overall health.
How Long Does MAT Last?
Medication-assisted treatment can last for as long as you need it. Some people may need to stay on MAT for a few months, while others may need it for a year or more. How long will this treatment be will your individual situation, and how well you respond to treatment?
What Are the Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment?
There are lots of benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment, including:
- Reduced withdrawal symptoms: Medications used in MAT can help to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms that are left over from substance abuse disorder.
- Cravings: Medications can help to reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol.
- Anxiety: Medications can help to reduce anxiety and other mental health symptoms that may be associated with addiction.
- Improved employment outcomes: Medication-assisted treatment is associated with improved employment outcomes.
- Reduced criminal activity: Medication-assisted treatment is associated with reduced criminal activity.
- Improved overall health: Medication-assisted treatment is associated with improved overall health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, medication-assisted treatment may be the right choice for you. Medication-assisted treatment can help you recover from addiction and live a healthier, more productive life.
Even though MAT provides great benefits for most people, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any challenges throughout the treatment process.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment isn’t for everyone, and some people may find it difficult to stick with the program. Here are some of the challenges that you may face during Medication-Assisted Treatment:
Medication-assisted treatment can be expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance.
Medications used in MAT can cause side effects, such as nausea, drowsiness, and constipation.
It can be difficult to take medication as prescribed, especially if you are used to abusing drugs or alcohol.
There is always a tiny risk of relapse, even when you are in treatment. If you do relapse, it’s important to get back on track as soon as possible.
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Medication-assisted treatment can be a great way to recover from addiction, but it’s not for everyone. If you are struggling with addiction, talk to your doctor or a treatment professional to see if MAT is right for you.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of MAT?
The possible side effects of Medication-Assisted Treatment include:
- Dry mouth
These side effects are usually not that intense and go away after a few days. If you experience any severe side effects, you should talk to your doctor or treatment provider.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of MAT?
Medication-assisted treatment may be right for you if you have a substance use disorder and you want to recover. Medication-assisted treatment tends to be the most effective when it is used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that isn’t just a standalone. It includes counseling and other support services.
If you are considering medication-assisted treatment, please speak to your doctor or a qualified addiction specialist to see if it is the right choice for you.