Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) became the forefront of addiction treatment programs in 2018 when the American Medical Association began asking policymakers to change the way the healthcare industry treats opioid addiction. This call to action was a result of the devastating fatal opioid overdose statistics that had continued to rise in the previous years. However, many people view MAT as a controversial and unconventional method of treating addiction.
MAT not only treats opioid use disorders, but there are also treatment options for people with alcohol use disorders. While some people prefer to recover from addiction without these medications, there are many people who can benefit from them. With hundreds of people dying of opioid overdose each day, MAT can be a life-saving technique for those battling addiction.
Each person is affected by addiction differently. As a result, different people require different treatment methods. If MAT isn’t right for one person, that doesn’t mean it isn’t right for anyone. This article will take a deeper look at the truth about MAT.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medication with behavioral therapy to treat opioid and alcohol use disorders. All of the medications used in MAT are FDA-approved and are not intended to be a substitute for comprehensive addiction treatment. Instead, it is a complementary technique that can help aid the recovery process. The simultaneous use of addiction counseling and medications provides a whole-patient approach to addiction treatment.
SAMHSA explains that the main goals of the MAT approach are:
- Improve treatment retention rates
- Increase the survival rates of people with a substance use disorder
- Decrease illicit drug use
- Combat criminal activity associated with substance abuse
- Enable patients to maintain employment
- Improve the birth outcomes of women who are suffering from substance use disorders while pregnant
In addition, there are federal laws regulating the use of MAT. For example, patients receiving MAT must have access to counseling, medical care, vocational assistance, educational services, and other treatment services. In the end, the ultimate goal of MAT is to help individuals achieve a full recovery and the ability to live a life free from addictive substances.
How Effective is MAT?
MAT is considered one of the most effective treatment methods for people suffering from opioid use disorder. It has been proven to significantly reduce opioid use compared to the treatment outcomes of patients who do not receive MAT. However, if these medications are used without appropriate guidance and the integration of behavioral therapy, the medications aren’t as effective.
The key to MAT is the word “assisted”. When these medications are used without behavioral therapy or counseling, a person will be unable to uncover the root causes of their addiction. Similarly, they won’t learn the necessary tools to achieve lasting sobriety. As a result, it is critical that individuals receiving these medications are also engaged in a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Instead of the common misconception that MAT merely replaces one addiction with another, it is treating the effects of addiction in a comprehensive manner.
What are the Benefits of MAT?
In addition to improving patient outcomes and treatment retention rates, there are many additional benefits of MAT. When used correctly, MAT can enhance and support both treatment and recovery as a whole. Studies have shown that MAT:
- Reduces withdrawal symptoms
- Eliminates drug and alcohol cravings
- Lowers a person’s risk of relapse
- Decreases a person’s risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis C
- Prevents overdose deaths
- Promotes mental and physical stability of addicts in early recovery
- Reduces criminal activity
- Improves social functioning
By reducing withdrawal symptoms and eliminating cravings, individuals in treatment are able to focus more on their therapy and recovery than on obsessive thoughts about drug use. As a result, patients can be out of danger during early recovery and will have an easier time staying clean. In addition, when therapy is used for longer amounts of time, the treatment process can significantly improve the odds that a person will remain sober.
What Can I Expect in Medication-Assisted Treatment in Indiana?
PAX Riverbend is an accredited substance abuse treatment center in Jeffersonville, Indiana. As an accredited treatment center, our addiction specialists are experienced in using MAT for clients suffering from alcohol use disorder or opioid use disorder. With multiple levels of care, including partial-hospitalization and intensive outpatient, we provide clients with individualized treatment plans that help decrease the chances of relapse. In addition to behavioral therapy, we offer MAT to help individuals reach a place where they can stay sober in the long-term. Lastly, our addiction specialists in Indiana will teach clients how to cope with triggers and cravings so they can stay sober after rehab.
“Whether you or someone you love is entering treatment for the first time or following a relapse, The PAX Riverbend Model is unparalleled in producing successful treatment outcomes resulting in a lasting recovery.”
To learn more about our medication-assisted treatment program in Indiana, contact us today.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.