Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction problem, you might want to get help but not know where to start. And then, if you take that first step into getting help, you might not know what to expect when it comes time to get your treatment.

If this sounds like what you or a loved one is dealing with, read on to learn more about what you might expect while trying to kick your addiction with medical help.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (also known as MAT) is a specific type of treatment that has been used in current situations to try and help people who are suffering from opioid addictions (specifically).

These disorders are called opioid use disorder (OUDs), and it’s related to prescription medications, although it can also stretch to include heroin. Medication-assisted treatment works on the idea that combining specific medications – along with behavioral therapies and medical counseling.

Unfortunately, because this is still a newish treatment, the CDC is still attempting to conduct studies on how viable medication-assisted treatment is and which specific medications work best in which combination. Additional research is being done between various sites and through other medical provider support that is helping to do further research on the wider health effects and outcomes.

One of the other underlying hopes of MAT is to remove – or lessen – the stigma surrounding opioid addiction and the medication used to treat OUDs. 

Who Is MAT For?

Medication-Assisted Treatment is used to help those individuals who are currently suffering from opioid addiction. It uses a specific combination of FDA-approved drugs to try and break the dependency an individual has on opioids such as heroin.

How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?

There is still research being done to perfect it. Still, as it stands, the current methodology uses a combination of three different drugs that, in various combinations, are being used to try and treat opioid addictions. 

The three current drugs are buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Extensive testing has been done to ensure that these treatments are safe and incredibly effective when combined with other treatments meant to teach opioid users better ways to handle their addiction. As a result, they’ll be less at risk of relapsing.

Anyone who is considering undergoing this treatment will be given a choice between all three drug options – not only does this allow them the possibility of choice when it comes to their drugs and an opportunity to attempt different treatments to find the one that works best for them – but it also means that no matter the medical provider, it’s likely that several insurance companies will cover this treatment.

There’s nothing worse than needing medical aid and not being able to have it because of an insurance provider that doesn’t cover your needs.

What Medications Treat Alcohol Use Disorder?

So far, there have been three medications that have managed to:

  1. Be approved by the FDA.
  2. Have proved to be successful with patients.

The three medications are disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Trexan), and acamprosate (Campral). When it comes to alcohol dependence, there’s been a push to have medication-based treatments take more of a primary role in treating alcohol dependency. 

What Medications Treat Opioid Use Disorder?

Your specific treatment might change depending on your needs, but the three drugs used for your treatment to kick your dependence on opioids are buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. 

Because OUDs are a chronic ailment, patients will need to be constantly reevaluated to see how they’re handling the MAT and if any changes need to be made to their treatment. Luckily, there – currently – isn’t a maximum recommended duration for treatment, meaning that if your specific needs aren’t met promptly, you can still receive medical aid.

Treatment can continue forever if need be.

What to Expect During Medication-Assisted Treatment?

When it comes time for you to go through MAT, you will speak with a medical professional so that they can come up with an initial plan for your treatment. Then, based on your insurance and other medical concerns, you might undergo a recommended treatment using one of the three medications.

Whatever treatment you end up using will also be compounded with behavioral therapy and additional counseling. The goal of all of this treatment is to make sure that at the end of the day, you (or your loved ones) will not only kick their dependency but that they will also be given the tools that will allow them to stay on the road to recovery without relapsing back into their addiction.

However, if they do relapse, there is still the option of additional treatment.

Can You Use Medication-Assisted Treatment in IOP?

The short answer is… yes!

There has been a lot of reported success in combining MATs with IOPs. Over the last five years, people have spent a lot of time and testing to ensure that individuals who need help can get it without disrupting their lives too much.

People who participate in IOPs (an acronym for Intensive Outpatient Programs) are those who are suffering from addictions but who also can’t shut their whole life down to enter into an inpatient facility.

Outpatient facilities are sort of like “afterschool programs” in that they still allow patients to go to work, live on their own, deal with their family and friends. IOPs are meant to introduce the least disruption to a patient’s life so that they don’t have to worry about the additional life disruptions making it harder for a patient to recover from their substance abuse.

Get Started At North Star Treatment Services

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction and you’re not sure of the best way to get help, you can contact us at North Start Treatment Services. We have a professional and highly efficient team that strives to treat each patient with the care, kindness, and respect that they deserve.

Trust in us at North Star, and quickly see an improvement on the road to recovery.

Resources

  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment
  2. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/information-about-medication-assisted-treatment-mat
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/Medication-Assisted-Treatment-Opioid-Use-Disorder-Study.html
  4. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/1101/p1775.html