Medication-assisted treatment is an approach to addiction recovery that combines medication with behavioral therapies to help patients achieve and maintain sobriety. When done in a controlled setting under the supervision of trained experts, this method is one of the most effective ways to assist those struggling with chronic addiction.

In this blog, we'll explore the fundamentals of medication-assisted treatment and how it's used to treat patients struggling with opioid abuse.

What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment is an evidence-based approach to managing substance use disorders, notably opioid abuse. It combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a comprehensive treatment approach. The primary aim of MAT is to help individuals live healthy and productive lives by mitigating the adverse health impact patients face from opioid dependence and other chemical addictions.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the use of MAT has resulted in increased patient survival rates and has been successful in helping some patients achieve sustained recovery. In addition, data shows that these medications and therapies can contribute to lowering a person's risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C by reducing the potential for relapse.

At Sunrise Treatment Center, our opioid services include the MAT method. We also offer detoxification services in addition to our host of other programs. Our team of qualified professionals is wholly committed to fighting addiction and helping patients battle this issue with informed methods backed by data and research.

Types of Medications Used in MAT

There are several medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in medication-assisted treatment programs. The choice of medication depends on the drug class and the specific substance abuse being treated. For example, in the case of opioid addiction, medications are tailored to target withdrawal symptoms and combat the detrimental effects of opioids on the individual's brain chemistry. For alcohol addiction, medications are prescribed to help prevent relapse and reduce alcohol cravings.

Opioid Addiction: Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone

Methadone and Suboxone are FDA-approved medications used to treat opioid addiction. These medications work by interacting with the opioid receptors in the brain, decreasing the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and reducing the cravings associated with opioid dependence, supporting sustained recovery. Methadone is administered as a liquid or sublingual tablet, while Suboxone (buprenorphine) is available as a sublingual film or tablet, which dissolves under the tongue.

For example, a patient receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction may be prescribed methadone maintenance treatment, which has been used since the 1960s. This therapy allows patients to reduce their opioid intake by taking methadone under controlled conditions at an opioid treatment program. This helps to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and makes it easier for the patient to focus on their recovery.

At Sunrise Treatment Center, we primarily use generic Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) tablets in our medication-assisted treatment program. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist that only activates opiate receptors to around 40% of their full potential. This is enough to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and help patients feel stable. This medication also has a ceiling effect, meaning it's impossible to overdose on it when taken correctly. The naloxone in the Suboxone is the chemical in Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal medication. When it's taken correctly, naloxone has no activity in the body.

Our treatment center also has options for buprenorphine tablets without naloxone, though these are only available for certain clinical situations. Our professionals have the medical expertise to assess a patient's situation and provide the best and most informed care possible.

It is important to note that the success of medication-assisted treatment depends on a combination of medications, behavioral therapies, counseling, and support from healthcare providers, opioid treatment programs, and mental health services. Achieving recovery from opioid addiction is a challenging journey, but with appropriate MAT and a supportive environment, individuals can regain control over their lives and live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Find the Right MAT Program for You

If you're seeking an MAT program for yourself or a loved one, Sunrise Treatment Center is here for you. We are based in Cincinnati, Columbus, Portsmouth, and Dayton areas and have been working to help patients battling addiction since our founding in 2007. In 2013, Sunrise became Ohio's first buprenorphine-only Opioid Treatment Program, which allowed us to increase access to services and provide a more comprehensive approach to treatment.

If you're ready to invest in yourself with an MAT program, learn more about our services today and contact us to get started receiving substance abuse treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does medication-assisted treatment include?

Medication-assisted treatment includes the use of:

  • Medication: MAT involves the use of medication approved by regulatory authorities for the treatment of substance use disorders.
  • Medical Monitoring: Patients are monitored by healthcare providers throughout the process to ensure safety and to adjust dosages if needed.
  • Counseling: MAT programs include counseling and behavioral therapies that aim to address the psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of addiction.
What is the goal of medication treatment?

The primary goal of medication treatment is to assist individuals in achieving and maintaining recovery from addiction. This treatment works to reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, stabilize biological function, and prevent relapses.

Is medication-assisted treatment safe?

When done under the supervision of qualified medical professionals, MAT is safe and can help patients make a permanent positive change in their lives.

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