Substance use disorders are a common condition. Millions of Americans each year find themselves dealing with a substance use disorder, but unfortunately, many of them do not receive the treatment they need in order to recover fully. Part of the reason this may be is that, even though substance use disorder is creating problems in a person’s life, they may not be able to access care that allows them to manage their responsibilities while also providing appropriate treatment. For those who would benefit from a more whole-patient approach, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) from a MAT rehab center can be a helpful solution. These centers often offer a Vivitrol treatment program, a suboxone treatment program, or both. But does medication-assisted treatment work? Learning more about these topics can help you make the best choices about recovery care.
What is Medication Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment is a type of recovery care for people who are dealing with substance use disorders. In traditional detox or rehab programs, patients are monitored by medical and psychological care staff while they undergo the withdrawal process, but MAT is different. In a MAT program, patients are given medications that are designed to help them transition away from their drugs of abuse slowly. Patients do not experience a sharp withdrawal process or detox but rather step down with the help of medication.
Two of the most commonly used medications are:
- Suboxone – Suboxone, or buprenorphine, is a medication that is similar to other opioids. In order to use it, patients must stop or strongly reduce their opioid usage for a period of time, after which they may begin taking Suboxone. The medication performs some of the same functions in the body and brain as opioids but in a much weaker way. This allows patients in a Suboxone treatment program to gradually taper off without going through a full and severe withdrawal.
- Vivitrol – Vivitrol, or naltrexone, is a medication that is given as a monthly injection by a care provider. A Vivitrol treatment program blocks the patient’s ability to feel ‘high’ from taking opioids, allowing the patient to benefit from therapy and counseling without as great a risk of returning to use.
Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?
There is no official data on exactly what the rates of success are for MAT, but data has clearly shown that MAT, when combined with therapy and counseling for substance use disorders, can help people stop or reduce their substance use, avoid some of the dangers of substance use, and help them stay in treatment.
What Are the Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment?
MAT has many potential benefits. In addition to being an approach that is more cognizant of the patient as a “whole person,” some of the ways that MAT has been shown to help are:
- Patients who receive MAT have a better chance of not dying of an overdose.
- Women who are pregnant and receive MAT have better outcomes during birth.
- MAT can reduce the chances of a negative interaction with law enforcement.
- Patients receiving MAT are more likely to stay in and complete treatment.
What to Do If You Think You Could Benefit from MAT
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder and you are interested in medication-assisted treatment, the first step is to contact a licensed substance use disorder counselor, or a medication-assisted treatment program near you. Even if you or your loved one has tried treatment before, MAT could be an option to help you get into and stay in recovery.
Substance use disorders are real medical conditions that require proper care and treatment. Recovery is possible, so reach out for help today.