Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based approach that combines the use of medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a comprehensive and individualized approach to recovery.

MAT has been shown to be highly effective in reducing illicit drug use, overdose rates, and other negative outcomes associated with addiction. It can help those suffering from withdrawal symptoms to cope enough to focus on their treatment. At California Addiction Treatment, we provide it as part of our comprehensive treatment.

What is
a MAT program?

A MAT program is a comprehensive treatment approach that combines the use of medications with individual therapy and other parts of the treatment process. MAT programs are tailored to meet the needs of each individual, and can be implemented in different types of treatment programs.

Medications used in MAT programs can help reduce cravings for the addictive substance, alleviate withdrawal symptoms, and restore balance to brain chemistry. These medications are prescribed by healthcare providers who work at the treatment program or a person’s personal doctor. By combining medication with therapy, MAT programs offer a holistic approach to addiction treatment that addresses both physical and psychological aspects of the disease. The goal is to help the body heal from addiction and help prevent relapse purely from craving the drug to function normally.

What are
the Components of a MAT Program?

A MAT program is designed to work alongside an individual treatment program, and supports components of recovery like therapy. Depending on the individual, the medications used in medication-assisted treatment are chosen to:

Reduce cravings
Alleviate withdrawal symptoms
Block the effects of the abused substance
Help the individual cope with the effects of any co-occurring medical disorders

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs often involve a comprehensive assessment process to determine the most suitable medication for each individual’s unique needs. This personalized approach ensures that the medication is tailored to address a specific substance use disorder and any co-occurring mental health conditions (without sabotaging progress in either area). Medical professionals closely monitor the individual’s response to the medication, making adjustments as needed to optimize its effectiveness and minimize potential side effects.

Which Medications ?
are Used for Addiction Treatment

Medications used in MAT programs can vary depending on the substance being abused. Some may not be prescribed due to the strength of the person’s addiction or their personal mental health needs.

However, care is also taken to make sure that individuals don’t become addicted to the medication used to help ease the pain caused by the addictive substance. Methadone, a long-acting opioid agonist, helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for opioid drugs. But there is also a history of misuse of methadone by people using it to ease symptoms of heroin withdrawal.

Fortunately, there is more knowledge of how addiction works than the early days of rehabilitation. It’s important to answer questions honestly during initial assessment so that you can receive the medications that are best for your situation.

Acamprosate (also known as Campral) is a medication that works to restore the chemical balance in the brain disrupted by alcohol addiction. It’s been proven safe for people even if they have liver damage from excessive drinking, which can be an asset for people looking to heal from chronic addiction. On the other end of the spectrum, the drug disulfiram is designed to discourage people from drinking in the moment. When someone taking disulfiram drinks alcohol, they’ll experience symptoms like flushing, nausea, and vertigo. This drug can also be used for people coping with cocaine addiction.

Naltrexone, which people can take as either a pill or a shot, blocks the pleasurable effects of alcohol and reduces cravings. If someone is no longer physically dependent on alcohol but is worried they’ll relapse, it can help to dissuade someone from drinking if they know they won’t get what they want from alcohol. Naltrexone can also be used to treat opioid addiction.

For some people, topiramate may be prescribed to help alleviate the temptation to drink and may prove effective for combating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But The latter claim may need more research.

When it comes to opioid addiction, methadone is the classic drug used for alleviating opioid misuse. It activates the same receptors in the body as are activated by opioids, but don’t produce the same effect. Dosages are adjusted to fit the individual person, and the period of use may last up to one year. But methadone carries the same risk of addiction as opioids, and side effects may still present themselves with use. It’s advised that people using methadone don’t share the drug with other people and use it exactly as prescribed.

Another drug used to help with opioid addiction in particular is buprenorphine. This particular drug is taken early on in the withdrawal process, up to 24 hours after their last use. This drug is a partial opioid agonist like methadone, but is meant to be taken over a shorter period of time. In some circumstances, it may be used with naltrexone to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and help discourage using opioids during the crucial early withdrawal window.

MAT statistics,
effectiveness, and goals

MAT programs can significantly reduce illicit drug use, overdose rates, and criminal activity associated with addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individuals receiving MAT are more likely to have positive outcomes and refrain from relapse than others who don’t receive medication alongside treatment.

MAT is designed to support long-term recovery and improve the quality of life for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. But these programs are not one-size-fits-all. Each MAT treatment program is designed to fit the individual and their needs, including the severity of their addiction. It also isn’t designed to be the sole way to cope with addiction. A person still needs to undergo therapy, set themselves up in a living situation that supports their sobriety, and possibly even address personal trauma to fully heal from addiction.

Adding MAT to a person’s individual treatment plan isn’t going to magically help them overcome their addiction. This is meant to be a supplement to their existing efforts to detoxify and complete their treatment program — without the constant effects of withdrawal distracting them from the main goal. You may need to keep using medication throughout your stay in residential treatment or phase out medication use as you move to another arrangement. It all depends on personal health and situation.

How Long
Does a MAT Program Last?

The duration of a MAT program varies depending on the individual’s needs and their general progress in their treatment program. Some individuals may require short-term medication treatment to overcome acute withdrawal symptoms, while others may benefit from long-term maintenance treatment to prevent relapse. Pre-existing damage to the body and existing mental health disorders (treated or untreated) must also be taken into account. It is important to answer healthcare professionals honestly so they can help determine the ideal duration of a MAT program in comparison to their overall treatment.

Does Insurance
Cover MAT?

Insurance coverage of MAT programs (with or without a general treatment program to accompany it) depends on the specific insurance plan. Many insurance plans offer coverage for at least some aspects of MAT, including medication and therapy. However, the extent of coverage may vary, so it is important to review individual insurance policies, explore available resources, and discuss options with your healthcare providers to ensure access to necessary treatment services. It’s considered best to determine this before beginning treatment services, so there are no surprises for yourself and the facility.

California Addiction
Treatment offers MAT

As part of treatment at California Addiction Treatment, individuals can undergo medication-assisted treatment as part of their journey to recovery. Our treatment center in Huntington Beach, CA offers therapy and treatment for addiction to alcohol, opioids, cocaine, and other substances. We’re happy to help you build a new life free of addiction. Contact us today to learn more.

Medication-Assisted Treatment
in Orange County

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