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Medication-Assisted Therapy

Detoxing from drug or alcohol abuse can be an uncomfortable process. Because of the physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings, people often relapse. In order to combat these symptoms and prevent a potential relapse, The Summit Wellness Group offers a few different medication options.

In this article

    What is Medication-Assisted Therapy?

    Many rehab facilities will use medication-assisted therapy (MAT) to address withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This can involve a variety of different non-addictive medications used alongside other forms of behavioral therapy.

    It is most commonly used to treat opioid use disorders (heroin and prescription pain pills), but can also treat symptoms for other substance use disorders, such as alcohol. The specific medications used will depend on the client and their situation. Plans will be designed specifically for them, and those plans will be monitored and changed as needed to ensure the client gets through the withdrawal period in as little discomfort or pain as possible.

    MAT

    Types of Medications Used

    The Summit Wellness Group uses three different medication-assisted therapies to help our clients overcome symptoms of withdrawal. These medications will be integrated into our outpatient treatment programs and will be managed by our professionally trained medical staff to ensure that the best medications are utilized.

    Vivitrol

    This is an injectable form of Naltrexone that blocks cravings for opioids as well as the euphoric effects felt when using them. As an extended-release medication, it can be a critical piece in kickstarting recovery during the first few weeks of treatment when withdrawal is intense.

    Vivitrol is FDA approved and is currently the only medicated approved to treat opioid abuse that is not a controlled substance.

    Antabuse

    Also known as disulfiram, Antabuse blocks an enzyme that processes alcohol within the body and actually increases sensitivity to alcohol. Because of the unpleasant side effects it produces when alcohol is consumed, it is often used in conjunction with behavioral therapies.

    The side effects it causes when alcohol is consumed are:

    • Chest Pain
    • Nausea or Severe Vomiting
    • Dizziness
    • Flushing
    • Thurst
    • Rapid Weight Gain
    • Neck Pain
    • Throbbing Headache

    Naltrexone

    Naltrexone is often used to treat opioid or alcohol addiction. It can be prescribed as a pill or can be injected (Vivitrol). When used, it blocks the euphoric effects of these substances and can also curb cravings. It is not an opioid, but by binding to opioid receptors, it can decrease those cravings.

    Who Needs MAT?

    The use of medications to assist in substance abuse treatment is something that needs to be discussed with medical professionals to ensure there are no negative side effects that occur. It should be used to treat withdrawal symptoms or cravings alongside other therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or holistic therapies.

    These therapies have been effective in treating opioid use disorders and alcohol use disorders. There may be some preexisting medical conditions that prevent someone from being able to use MAT as part of their program, but these should be discussed with a doctor.

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    What Are The Benefits?

    When using the correct doses and keeping on top of their medications, clients who participate in MAT often experience a wide array of benefits such as:

    • Decrease number of relapses and overdoses
    • Increase number of clients who remain in treatment or who complete treatment
    • Decrease use of opioids and alcohol
    • Decreased criminal activity
    • Increase ability to find a job and keep that job
    • Reduce the need for inpatient detox services

    A Warning

    There are some MAT medications that can be abused and cause addiction if taken outside of the prescribed amount. It’s critical only to take these medications under medical supervision. Talk to your doctor or clinician if you feel something is not right or if you want to avoid any that may cause a new addiction.

    FAQ

    • How Long Will I Take These Medications?

      The duration a client will participate in MAT depends entirely on their specific situation and what they decide to do with the help of their clinician and medical team. Some people may only need these treatments for a short period of time while others may use them indefinitely. It really comes down to the clients history with that specific drug and their commitment to treatment.

    • Will I Be Replacing One Addiction For Another?

      The medications used for MAT are all FDA approved for treating substance use disorders. When taken as prescribed, they are safe and do not pose a threat for addiction. There is a common misconception that taking medication to treat addiction will just lead to another dependence, but this is simply not true with MAT. Though there are some medications that can pose a threat of abusing, we do not use those at The Summit Wellness Group.

    • Can I Just Take The Medication?

      At The Summit Wellness Group, clients may use MAT as part of their treatment program, but they will also participate in group therapies, individual therapy, and a variety of holistic options. Our programs treat the person as a whole which is why we use several different methods. 

    • Will MAT Work For Any Drug Abuse Disorder?

      Though MAT medications are typically used to treat opioid or alcohol use disorders, there is some evidence that they can help treat other use disorders. Some medications have helped reduce cravings for cocaine and treat symptoms of withdrawal from meth or kratom. In some cases, MAT may not be the right answer and clinicians might instead prescribe some form of psychiatric medication such as an SSRI. 

    Note: It is very rare that we use Sublocade shots, however, it may be permitted for extreme cases.

    Getting Help

    If you are suffering from withdrawal effects and the threat of relapse is looming over your head, give us a call today so we can help treat those symptoms through our MAT program. Not only can this reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but it can help kickstart your recovery journey and ensure that withdrawal does not threaten your sobriety. 

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    We’d love the opportunity to help you during this overwhelming and difficult process. Our sincere passion is helping people recover so that they can live full, meaningful, and healthy lives.

    Call us 24/7 at 770-299-1677 or fill out our contact form and a member of our admissions team will contact you shortly.