Drug addiction treatment is not a uniform practice. Every addict is unique and brings with them their own special set of circumstances. Therefore, addiction specialists have created numerous types of treatment to address chemical dependency. One such method is referred to as medication-assisted therapy, which is often abbreviated simply as MAT.
Patients receiving MAT are administered various medications holding the ability to gradually wean them off addictive substances. Moreover, the treatment augments crucial therapeutic efforts like counseling and a variety of behavioral therapies.
How Does MAT Work?
Addiction treatment professionals typically employ medication-assisted therapy for individuals struggling with alcohol and opioid dependencies. Examples of opioids include commonly prescribed painkillers like oxycodone and hard-core illicit substances like heroin.
Drug treatment industry professionals favor the treatment to remediate the preceding dependencies for certain notable reasons.
First, alcohol and opioid substances produce euphoric impacts on the brain capable of alternating brain chemistry. Moreover, said drugs precipitate particularly intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms possessing the capacity to produce serious and potentially fatal side effects if usage abruptly ceases.
Opponents of the practice argue that medication-assisted therapy merely substitutes one substance for another. However, proponents maintain that the gradual withdrawal of a drug over time:
- Relieves the powerful cravings
- Stabilizes brain chemistry and may even enable said ratios to return to normal
- Enables the body to heal
- Protects healing souls from the dangers of continued drug use
The duration one will need MAT varies from case to case. Patients responding favorably and possessing no complicating factors might not require said treatment for prolonged periods. However, other individuals may require the therapy for extended timeframes and possibly the rest of their lives.
The Specific Medications Used
The Food and Drug Administration has approved certain drugs for the administration of MAT.
For opioid dependency, recipients may be given substances such as methadone and buprenorphine. Those being treated for alcohol usage disorder are typically administered dosages of disulfiram and acamprosate. Naltrexone may be employed in the treatment of either alcohol or opioid addiction.
The specific amounts administered and the duration they will require MAT therapy will hinge on several key factors such as the recipient’s age, overall physical and mental health, weight, and the specific substance they were dependent on.
Where Is MAT Delivered?
MAT can be incorporated into various forms of rehab including inpatient residential treatment, outpatient clinics, and partial care programs. Additionally, MAT administration is created to meet the specific needs of the individual patient. No blueprint exists for the specific medication to be administered, the time frame for which it should be taken, or any other accompanying therapies.
Healthcare providers lauding the praises of medication-assisted therapy maintain that the effort yields benefits such as:
- Lessening a user’s chances of overdosing or dying from continued drug ingestion
- Improving the birth rate of expecting women possessing addictions
- Decreasing drug-related criminal activity
*Increasing the recovering dependent’s ability to secure and maintain employment
Proponents also argue that patients receiving MAT remain committed to treatment and complete rehab programs in a significant percentage of cases. Moreover, those in favor of MAT administration believe that the effort lessens a patient’s need to undergo aggressive detox when entering treatment.
Furthermore, researchers have discovered that MAT proves effective in lowering a recovering addict’s risk of contracting diseases common to drug users like hepatitis and the HIV virus.
Determining A Patient’s Need For MAT
Healthcare providers and addiction treatment specialists determine a recovering dependent’s need for medication-assisted treatment. Said medical professionals will perform a thorough physical and psychological examination. Following these assessments, patients are informed if they are suitable candidates for MAT and how the therapy will be incorporated into their overall treatment plan.
Other Important Considerations
Obtaining help is the first major step towards sobriety. Addiction treatment professionals administer assistance in different ways.
However, before a recovering addict and their team of healthcare providers determines if a patient requires MAT, they must first decide what type of treatment program best serves the individual in question’s needs. Several factors play a key role such as their age, general health, personal and professional obligations, financial status, and health insurance coverage.
Individuals needing drug rehab are urged to contact us at 833-497-3812. Our experienced team of licensed, trained, and caring treatment specialists assess prospective patients’ conditions and create programs most befitting their recovery needs.