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.
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.
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.
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
- Rapid Weight Gain
- Neck Pain
- Throbbing Headache
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.
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
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.
Note: It is very rare that we use Sublocade shots, however, it may be permitted for extreme cases.
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.