Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a treatment option that employs a whole-patient approach to care, including therapies, counseling, and medications to support safe recovery from substance use disorder. Studies have shown that MAT shows a much higher retention rate than care without the assistance of medication.
At Lilac Recovery Center, we believe that this approach to recovery is among the safest, most effective approaches. We work to provide MAT education along with the treatment that will be most helpful for each of our clients.
As mentioned, MAT stands for medication-assisted treatment that takes place during substance use disorder treatment. Recovery is not an easy journey. In fact, relapse is so frequent in addiction recovery that it is often considered another step along the path to lasting recovery.
Studies have shown that relapse rates can be as high as 65-90% after a detox-only program without holistic, medication-assisted treatment. Nearly 63% of those patients expressed a desire for a MAT recovery program after detox.
MAT is so successful because it is predicated on creating a recovery plan that is individualized for each patient. With the combination of FDA-approved medication, therapies, and counseling, you have a better chance of attaining recovery and maintaining sobriety. In recovery, MAT can help you regain the mental and physical health you need to become confident in living a happy, healthy, productive life.
Medication Assisted Treatment
MAT combines the use of FDA-approved medications to relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings with the various therapies and counseling found in other types of treatment. MAT is the recommended treatment for SUDs like alcohol and opioid use disorders, as it is evidence-based, safer than non-assisted treatment, and creates a more tolerable healing process. With this combination of medication and therapy, MAT also works to get to the heart of co-occurring disorders by treating not only the substance use issue but also other issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Primarily, MAT is used in the treatment of opioid use disorder, as the medications provided interact with opioid receptors in the brain. MAT medications work to block the euphoric effects of opioids, diminish the craving symptoms that come along with substance use, curb withdrawals, and help the body and brain regulate themselves without regular access to the substance of choice. MAT is also frequently used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder with similar results.
MAT for addiction recognizes that medications approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can be incredibly effective for substance use treatment. At this time, many in the addiction recovery community believe that complete abstinence from any substances—including medications—is the best way to recover from substance use disorder. However, studies have shown that MAT for addiction can be incredibly effective during treatment and help prevent relapse.
Since MAT uses medication to assist and sustain recovery, it must be custom-tailored to the individual. In this way, MAT recognizes that recovery is different for every person. The treatment you will receive at Lilac Recovery is designed to fit not only your medication needs but also your mental and physical health needs.
Effectiveness of Medication-Assisted Treatment
MAT is a research-backed, clinically supported, and proven effective method of addressing substance use disorder. It can reduce the necessity for detoxification on an in-patient basis, improve outcomes, and help prevent relapse. With the use of MAT, treatments can be more individually tailored to suit patient needs. If you are struggling with substance use disorder, access to individualized care can help you feel more comfortable and give you the best tools to use in treatment and recovery.
Ultimately, the goal of MAT is to help each person find recovery and live a life that is independent and productive away from substance use.
MAT has been proven to:
- Reduce the illicit use of substances and additional criminal activity among people with SUD
- Increase patient survival rates
- Increase treatment retention rates
- Improve the ability of individuals in treatment to achieve and retain employment
- Increase healthy births among women who are pregnant and suffer substance abuse disorders
- Reduce relapse rates
- Reduce the risk of acquiring diseases like hepatitis C and HIV
Each of these benefits may help you along your personal recovery journey, just as each is very important to treatment success.
Evidence-Based Recovery and MAT
Of course, the most critical component of a treatment program is that it is successful in helping you reach recovery. That’s why it is so important to seek treatment that is backed by research and proven effective. MAT has demonstrated a high level of effectiveness in supporting recovery, so it should be noted that MAT is not a crutch or a continuation of substance use. Medications can and should be used as a tool for recovery.
Ceasing the use of certain substances—especially alcohol and benzodiazepines—can be dangerous and even fatal if not done in a supervised setting with approved medications. Medications are scientifically proven to help patients taper away from these substances safely. They can help curb cravings, ease uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and give patients in treatment the additional support they need to reach successful recovery.
Can Medication-Assisted Treatment Help With Co-Occurring Disorders?
Co-occurring disorders are often underlying issues that can contribute to serious substance use disorders. Co-occurring disorders are any mental health disorders that occur alongside SUD.
Some of the mental health disorders commonly found with SUD include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Anxiety and Mood Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Conduct Disorders
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
In order to effectively treat SUD, prevent relapse, and establish lasting recovery, it’s absolutely vital to address both disorders. Unfortunately, when the mental health disorder isn’t treated along with the substance use issue, it’s much harder to manage recovery from substance use disorders. MAT with attention to co-occurring disorders can help address the mental health disorder and the SUD with medications, therapies, and counseling. Research shows that people with SUD and co-occurring disorders who receive MAT are more likely to remain in recovery than those who receive other treatments.
Medication-Assisted Treatment and Long-Term Addiction Recovery
While MAT is crucial in substance use disorder treatment and is well-known as a result, medication-supported recovery is a lesser-known term. However, it is very important to recognize that medications can help throughout the recovery process for many people. Recovery shouldn’t be seen as a process that ends as soon as you complete treatment. Instead, it is a lifelong process, and medication is a normal part of maintaining recovery for many people.
In fact, medication can be an important part of each step of the process, including detox, treatment, and aftercare. After treatment is complete, you will often require continuing care and education. Supporting recovery with medication is very much a normal component of the treatment process and should be used in conjunction with ongoing therapy and counseling.
What Medications Are Approved for MAT?
While the purpose of MAT is to help patients safely cease the use of illicit substances and misused prescription medications, MAT medications are selected for their non-addictive nature, administered in tightly controlled circumstances, or both. A variety of medications have been approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, and other SUDs.
Their approval comes after scientific evidence has shown them to be effective at reducing the risk of dangerous withdrawals and interacting with specific chemical receptors to ease withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings. For that reason, the medications you might encounter in MAT are dependent upon your substance of choice.
Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder
The most common medications used to treat alcohol abuse disorder include:
- Anticonvulsants, used during detox to reduce the risk of seizures.
- Acamprosate, used after detox, is complete to help reduce cravings.
- Clonidine and propranolol, used in detox and early recovery to treat withdrawal symptoms.
- Benzodiazepines, used during detox and treatment to reduce anxiety.
- Disulfiram, often used in early recovery to discourage use by creating negative side effects after alcohol consumption.
- Naltrexone, used throughout recovery to block the pleasurable effects of alcohol and discourage use.
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
Among the approved medications for opioid dependence are:
- Buprenorphine, used during detox and treatment to reduce dependency on opioids, limit cravings and withdrawals, and prevent misuse.
- Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, used to decrease withdrawal symptoms.
- Methadone, used during detox and treatment to reduce cravings and withdrawals and prevent relapse.
Some of these medications should be restricted to short-term use in a supervised, clinical setting. Others are safe for short-term use as well as long-term use.
Medication for the Prevention of Opioid Overdose
Opioid overdose is a serious concern, but administering specific medications can help reverse the effects of an overdose. Naloxone is approved to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Once known only by its brand name, Narcan, naloxone is now widely available as an injectable or spray.
MAT in San Diego, CA for Addiction Recovery
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) at Lilac Recovery Center is both safe and effective and can provide you with the additional support you need throughout recovery. Whole-person, individualized care can help you achieve the support you need to continue your journey. Together, the medications, therapies, and counseling offered at our luxury treatment center can help you find lasting recovery.
The team of experts at Lilac Recovery Center offers comprehensive care in a comfortable, luxury setting complete with all the amenities you need to focus on your journey. Best of all, we provide the education and tools you need to return to a life free of harmful substances. If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder, learn more about our Substance Use Disorder services and start your recovery journey today.