Medication-Assisted Treatment Program For Alcohol And Drug Addiction
Drug addiction in the United States is a growing problem. Opioids are among some of the most abused drugs in the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that nearly 2.1 million people in the country suffered from opioid use disorder in 2016. Another common problem the country faces is alcohol abuse. What do these two issues have in common? Both are commonly treated with medication-assisted treatment or MAT services.
Detox and rehab centers across the country have started taking advantage of MAT as an effective way of caring for people with certain addictions. With that said, what does MAT involve, and is it effective? Studies have found that there are many benefits of choosing MAT over traditional rehab services alone.
What Are Medication-Assisted Treatment Services?
Before people can decide if MAT is right for them, they must understand this type of program. In short, MAT is the use of medications and therapy to overcome drug addiction. For example, medication-assisted treatment for alcohol typically combines taking naltrexone in combination with behavioral therapy and counseling. The main idea behind MAT is to provide a “whole-patient” approach to treatment.
Best of all, MAT is a proven method. The Food and Drug Administration and other organizations have approved it for drug addiction treatment. Furthermore, it can do more than successfully treat addiction. It can also help people sustain recovery more efficiently.
MAT is an excellent option for people who have tried rehab in the past but failed to remain sober. In these situations, it provides just the right amount of assistance to ensure that their next attempt at sobriety is more successful.
Of course, MAT can’t do the work alone. It still requires individuals to cooperate and be determined to overcome addiction. The medication is just an extra tool at their disposal, giving them the additional push that they need.
How Effective Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Part of getting familiar with MAT is understanding how effective it is. Rehab experts believe that it’s an effective tool for people who need to overcome addiction. It typically has a higher success rate than standard rehab programs. However, why is it more effective?
Most experts believe that MAT has a higher success rate because of the additional assistance that it provides during and after detox. The majority of the medications are designed to reduce cravings. Thanks to fewer cravings, people are less likely to relapse while they learn to manage addiction.
The prescriptions that people take during MAT depend on the drugs to which they’ve developed addictions. In general, the purpose of the medications is to normalize their bodily functions. Along with relieving physical cravings, these prescriptions relieve psychological cravings.
Because of the high success rate of MAT, it’s an effective option for just about anyone who struggles with drug addiction. It’s ideal for people who have completed treatment once and are released as well as for people who have never received treatment before.
Types Of Medications Used During Medication-Assisted Treatment
Health care professionals at rehab centers use several medications during MAT. The reason is that different prescriptions ease cravings for various drugs. As a result, the medications that people receive will depend heavily on their specific addiction.
This use of different medications is what makes MAT so effective. Each MAT program caters to the individual needs of the patient. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the most common prescriptions that rehab centers use during MAT.
Medication-Assisted Treatment For Alcohol Addiction
Since it’s so easy for people to get their hands on alcohol, most people think that alcohol addiction isn’t too serious. The truth is that alcohol is not only addictive but also creates some of the worst withdrawal symptoms. In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal can be deadly. That’s why it’s so important to get MAT for alcohol addiction. Below are some of the medications approved for this type of program.
Acamprosate is a unique drug that helps people avoid drinking after they quit. It stabilizes the chemical imbalance in the brain that occurs from alcohol abuse. However, acamprosate doesn’t prevent withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, rehab centers tend to use it after people have achieved abstinence for several days.
This medication is available in a tablet that people can take three times a day. To achieve optimal results and create a routine, they should take the tablets at the same time every day. While acamprosate is effective, it can cause some side effects, such as difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.
Disulfiram is a prescription that people typically get if they suffer from chronic alcoholism. Once again, it works best if they’ve completed detox before they start taking it. Unlike acamprosate, disulfiram doesn’t alter the chemical balance in the brain. Instead, it discourages people from drinking by changing how their body eliminates alcohol. As a result, drinking alcohol makes them feel sick, which discourages them from drinking.
Generally, people can take this medication orally once a day. The unpleasant side effects of drinking alcohol can start within 10 minutes of consuming a small amount. These side effects can include vomiting, headache, and nausea.
Naltrexone is one of the few medications on this list that can be used for both alcohol and opioid addiction. This drug works by blocking the euphoric effects that people feel from drinking alcohol. Because of that, it helps them remain motivated and avoid relapse. Also, the drug can reduce alcohol cravings.
In general, naltrexone treatment lasts for about three to four months. It’s available in pill form, but you can take it as an injection too. Like other MAT programs, people should continue to undergo therapy and counseling.
Medication-Assisted Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction is hard for people to overcome, partially because of how strong the cravings are for this drug during detox and withdrawal. Thankfully, MAT for opioids can help. While naltrexone can be used for both alcohol and opioid MAT programs, rehab centers can use different medications.
Buprenorphine helps individuals by reducing and suppressing cravings for opioid drugs, such as heroin. It works by producing a euphoric effect. However, this effect is much weaker than what people experience with heroin or other medications used during MAT, such as methadone.
When people take buprenorphine as their health care team prescribes, it’s both effective and safe. The oral pill can diminish their physical dependence on opioids. At the same time, the slightly euphoric effect can limit withdrawal symptoms.
Much like buprenorphine, methadone reduces cravings for opioids. It can also block the effects that opioids have on the body if people use opioids while they’re in a MAT program. This medication is available in pill, liquid, and powder forms.
All of these prescriptions are effective in helping people overcome drug addictions. However, they can’t do all of the work alone. It’s essential for people to only use them in combination with therapy and counseling to assist with achieving and sustaining sobriety.
The Therapy Side Of Medication-Assisted Treatment
The medications that people take during MAT are just one piece of the puzzle. During the program, they must undergo therapy and counseling sessions as well. The goal of therapy is to develop and strengthen coping skills that help them avoid relapse once they get out of treatment. The sessions involve identifying and addressing the root cause of the addiction.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an important part of MAT. The idea behind it is to change negative thoughts, which experts believe can cause negative behaviors. In this case, a negative way of thinking can lead people to the negative behavior of abusing drugs.
Dual diagnosis treatment is another crucial element of a MAT program. Most of the time, people don’t just wake up one day and choose to take the path of addiction. Typically, an underlying cause or another mental disorder pushes them down this path. Simply treating the addiction without addressing the underlying issue can result in relapse after treatment. The reason is that the core issue that led to the addiction remains and continues to wreak havoc on their well-being.
Kingsway Recovery Offers Medication-Assisted Treatment
Are you looking for a rehab center that can provide a MAT program that you can count on? If so, consider Kingsway Recovery. We provide several treatment options in New Jersey, including MAT. A few of our other programs include:
- Intensive outpatient rehab.
- Art and group therapy.
- Dual diagnosis treatment.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy.
- Individual therapy.
At Kingsway Recovery, we take great pride in the programs that we offer. We create custom treatment plans for all of our clients. We know that not everyone is the same, so not all treatment plans should be the same.
Don’t try to deal with addiction alone. Put your trust in a rehab center that has your best interests at heart. Contact us now to learn more about our programs.