Addiction is a serious problem in the United States, with nearly 1 million people dying from drug overdoses since the year 2000. When you suffer from a substance use disorder, you must seek help from a professional drug rehab program. Without treatment, you could experience an array of consequences, including relationship issues, financial problems, the development of health conditions, and even fatal overdoses.
When it comes to addiction recovery, there are many different forms of treatment you can choose from. For people suffering from opioid and alcohol addiction, one of the most effective approaches is medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines traditional treatment approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group counseling with pharmacotherapy, or prescribed medications. There are many benefits of choosing medication-assisted treatment, including an easier detox and fewer drug cravings. Find out if MAT is right for you by speaking with one of our dedicated admissions counselors at Moving Mountains Recovery Center.
Does Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Really Work?
Medication-assisted treatment is one of the most effective approaches to addiction treatment. It can reduce the risk of relapse, increase treatment retention, and more. Rather than allowing you to face withdrawal cold turkey and cravings without support, medications can offer you relief.
According to the South Dakota Departments of Health and Social Services, “Up to 90% of patients who use MAT maintain sobriety at the 2-year mark.”
It is important to note that medication-assisted treatment combines pharmacological treatment with evidence-based addiction therapies. While some people perpetuate the stigma that MAT is substituting one substance for another, this is factually untrue. The medications are not used in a manner that puts you at risk for developing an addiction, they just provide an extra layer of defense against unnecessary relapses.
5 Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
There are many benefits associated with medication-assisted treatment (MAT). In fact, using FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (OUD) reduces the death rate among those living with addiction by 50% or more.
Additional benefits of MAT include:
1. Reduce Symptoms of Withdrawal and the Need for Inpatient Detoxification
Medication-assisted treatment is often used during the detoxification phase of addiction recovery. Opioid and alcohol withdrawal can be uncomfortable, painful, and even life-threatening in some cases, but MAT makes the detox process easier for people recovering from addiction.
Medications like methadone or buprenorphine attach themselves to opioid receptors in your brain. During withdrawal, your brain acts in an excited, hyperactive state because the substance you were addicted to is no longer present in your system. When these medications attach to your opioid receptors, they trick the brain into thinking it’s gotten the substances it’s craving, eliminating symptoms of withdrawal and preventing cravings.
Without medications, many people require inpatient detox services with around-the-clock care. However, MAT reduces withdrawal symptoms and relapse risk, allowing some individuals to detox on an outpatient basis. If you qualify for outpatient detox, you will check into the detox center each morning, take your medications, and participate in a therapy session or brief assessment to monitor your progress.
2. Alleviate Drug and Alcohol Cravings
After you complete detox, you can continue to take advantage of the benefits of medication-assisted treatment if your doctors think it is appropriate. Whether you are addicted to alcohol or opioids, you can receive medications that prevent cravings that tend to linger after the withdrawal process is completed. Medications help ensure you will not succumb to relapse due to cravings.
3. Focus More on Your Recovery
When you aren’t experiencing withdrawal symptoms or cravings, you can fully focus on your recovery. While some people might think that attending detox is enough to “cure” their addiction, the real work starts afterward.
Therapy, educational groups, and group counseling is where you will receive the bulk of the treatment you need to maintain long-term recovery from addiction. However, if you are preoccupied with discomfort or drug cravings, it can be difficult to put your energy into the healing process. Medications act as a crutch that allows you to fully engage in therapy.
4. Higher Treatment Retention and Success Rates
Staying grounded and present in treatment can be difficult, but by taking away the burden of experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings that render you unable to function, MAT makes it possible for you to fully focus on the emotional, behavioral, and psychological aspects of recovery. This sets you up for long-term success and an overall better quality of life. MAT clients can absorb the information they learn in treatment more effectively, providing them with higher chances of long-term success in recovery. In fact, medication-assisted treatment is associated with higher treatment retention and success rates.
5. Lower Relapse Risk
Medication-assisted treatment reduces the risk of relapse by preventing withdrawal symptoms, lessening cravings, and increasing treatment retention. Since you’re less likely to relapse, you are also less likely to experience other consequences of addiction. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports 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.”
In addition to lowering your risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis, you are less likely to engage in criminal behavior or get arrested. Medication-assisted treatment helps you remain sober, preventing you from engaging in the negative behaviors associated with substance abuse.
Start Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in New Jersey Today
Here at Moving Mountains Recovery, our goal is to help you find a life so full of passion that there is no room left for drugs or alcohol. If that means you can benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT), our experienced addiction doctors can prescribe the medications that are right for you. Alongside therapy and holistic healing techniques, we can show you the path toward recovery.
Don’t wait any longer to obtain the life-changing care you deserve. Call now to speak with a qualified addiction treatment specialist.
- National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCAS): Drug Abuse Statistics, Retrieved Jan 2023 from https://drugabusestatistics.org/
- South Dakota Departments of Health and Social Services: 10 Things You Need to Know About Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Retrieved Jan 2023 from https://dss.sd.gov/formsandpubs/docs/BH/BHAO10_MAT_Brochure.pdf
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Medication-Assisted Treatment, Retrieved 1/17/2023 from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment