Everything You Need to Know about Medication-Assisted Treatment

The goal of any treatment program is to help the whole person. Any individual struggling with substance abuse, or any type of mental or behavioral health issue, needs a well-balanced treatment approach tailored to his or her individual needs. A comprehensive treatment program ensures that issues are addressed, and that effects remain permanent after initial treatment periods conclude.

Understandably, medication and treatment alone may not enough to fulfill that comprehensive treatment. Rather, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) offers a well-balanced approach: a combination of both therapy and medication working together, to holistically address a patient’s individual concerns. All medications prescribed are approved by the Food and Drug Administration; behavioral and mental health therapy is administered by recognized institutions.

Why are MAT programs recommended?

MAT programs provide the right blend of therapy and medication, to help make sure positive change becomes permanent change. Proven clinically effective since it was introduced, MAT subsidizes recovery efforts with a permanence that medication or treatment alone cannot provide. Used together in tandem, medication and treatment as a medication-assisted treatment program offers evidence-based recovery success.

One main objection to MAT programs is the understandable hesitance to prescribe substances. After all, many individuals who participate in an MAT program are already struggling with substance use. In some eyes, medication-assisted treatment is just replacing one substance with another.

In reality, medication-assisted treatment is far from substituting one substance for another. MAT programs help individuals take control of substance abuse issues, eliminating dangerous drugs and alcohol practices through transformative medications prescribed by licensed professionals. You’re not substituting one damaging drug for another damaging drug. On the contrary, you’re relieving withdrawal, achieving sobriety and taking back your life.

What can I expect from an MAT program?

The ultimate goal of any medication-assisted treatment program is a full and complete recovery, for each and every patient. MAT programs are designed to eliminate negative substance abuse practices, and return you to a health and well-being you can be proud of. Here’s what you can expect from a successful medication-assisted treatment program:

  • Obtain and hold employment at a successful place of business
  • Maintain relationships with friends and family members that were damaged or lost through substance use
  • Increase patient survival rates after treatment concludes
  • Replace criminal activity with healthy, productive living habits

The goal of any medication-assisted treatment program is your immediate health and well-being. The medication helps save lives, and the therapy helps promote the same self-directed living practices that you once enjoyed.

What medications are used as part of medication-assisted treatment programs?

The type of medication prescribed as a part of medication-assisted treatment is directly related to the substance use, behavioral or mental difficulty that the program is addressing.

Note that medications, when kept at home, should be kept in a controlled environment, away from children.

Medication for unhealthy alcohol practices

If medication is prescribed to help address unhealthy alcohol practices, you’ll most likely be prescribed medications like acamprosate or naltrexone. While medications cannot help innately cure your disorder, they help relieve withdrawal effects and cravings, laying the groundwork for healthy future activity.

Medication for opioid dependence or overdose

If medication is prescribed to help address unhealthy opioid practices, you’ll likely be prescribed methadone, naloxone or buprenorphine. No matter the individual opioid-addressing medication, it will be safe to use for the weeks, months or years required, under full supervision by licensed medical professionals. Those same behavioral and mental health professionals will consult with you to help determine dosage and frequency on an ongoing basis.

Medication-assisted treatment: evidence-based treatment to restore quality of life

The proof is in the results: medication-assisted treatment programs provide evidence-based options that can restore quality of life, through a proven combination of medication and therapy. No matter the substance abuse, behavioral or mental health issue you’re facing, MAT programs can prove the difference between addiction and a purpose-driven, fulfilling life.

Misconceptions about the reality of medication-assisted treatment programs have kept many from getting the help they need. Through a combination of intensive therapy practices and medication prescribed by certified professionals, MAT programs represent a life-changing option for anyone adversely affected by substance abuse.