Medication assisted treatment, or MAT, combines traditional therapy with medications to promote a successful long-term recovery for those managing substance abuse disorder. The medications are FDA approved and suitable for both inpatient and outpatient programs. This type of comprehensive treatment is becoming more common in response to the increased rate of opiate misuse, but the treatment plan offers a range of benefits for many people who are struggling to overcome addiction.
What Is MAT Treatment?
Historically, medications were limited to reducing withdrawal cravings when incorporated into treatment for substance abuse disorder. These traditional medications didn’t help stop cravings and were discontinued as soon as the initial withdrawal symptoms resolved during the early stages of treatment. The failure to reduce cravings is one factor that may have contributed to frequent relapses after inpatient treatment ended.
Using medications like Campral offer relief from cravings to encourage a more successful long-term recovery. These newer, craving-reducing medicines are easily incorporated into a comprehensive treatment program that includes counseling. The medicines are also available in several forms to provide those in recovery with an option that fits their personal recovery plan. The type of medication provided can vary based on the specific needs of each person in recovery.
Medications for Substance Abuse Disorder
It is important to understand the available options when considering deciding whether medications are the right choice to treat substance abuse disorder. The medications are usually prescribed while attending inpatient treatment, but are also available if treatment continues after leaving the treatment center. Outpatient treatment is also available, but the medicines must be prescribed by a medical professional when they are used for long-term treatment. The most common medications used to treat substance abuse disorder include the following:
- Suboxone eliminates withdrawal symptoms and blocks the effects of opiates to treat substance abuse disorder. The medication contains a combination of naloxone to buprenorphine and is available in tablets, orally administered films and by injection. The injection is usually an extended release form that is provided once monthly.
- Vivitrol is an extended release form of naltrexone that is given by injection. The medication treats alcohol and opiate dependencies by reducing cravings and minimizing withdrawal symptoms. The medicine also prevents overdose when administered in emergency situations.
- Naltrexone is traditionally used to treat alcohol abuse, but is also effective in treating the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opiate dependencies. The medicine is available in several forms, including tablets and nasal sprays. Although the medicine is typically used to promote a successful recovery, the nasal spray and injections are also used to prevent fatalities caused by opiate overdose.
- Campral treat alcohol dependencies and is taken orally. The medicine doesn’t reduce cravings, but instead helps return the neurotransmitters to their normal state, resulting in significantly fewer cravings.
Typically, the medications are provided for a short period of time to make the initial stages of recovery safer and more comfortable, but in some cases the medication is prescribed as part of a long-term treatment plan. For example, extended release injections to prevent cravings and reduce withdrawal symptoms may be used for longer periods of time to treat severe heroin dependencies. Although these medications are relatively new, they offer many benefits for those working toward recovery.
The Benefits of MAT Treatment and Therapy
Medications are just one part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes traditional components, such as therapy or counseling. While newer medications like suboxone do have risks, these medications are often more effective in treating opioid dependencies than traditional options like methadone.
Medications that reduce both cravings and withdrawal symptoms are linked to lower relapse rates than traditional treatment options, making MAT a viable treatment option for anyone working to overcome addiction after chronic relapses. Newer medications are often more affordable than treatment with methadone, especially when the once-monthly injection is provided.
Unlike traditional treatments with methadone, once-monthly injections don’t require visiting a clinic every day for treatment. Those just entering recovery may find the daily drive or walk to a local clinic challenging. With a once-monthly injection, treatment for substance abuse disorder is more accessible to more people, resulting in greater success rates after repeated relapse.
Newer medications also promote healing by helping your body return to it’s normal state, which can promote healthier body function over time. If you or someone you love is ready to being working toward recovery, the first step is learning more about what to expect when entering a treatment program.