What Is MAT?
Addiction is characterized by the continual use of rewarding stimuli regardless of adverse consequences. People can form addictions to many things, such as relationships, food, television, or video games. By far, the most common form of addiction is to drugs and alcohol.
Since 2017, 19.7 million Americans have fought a substance abuse problem of some kind, according to the American Addiction Centers. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control show 72,000 deaths from a drug overdose and 88,000 from alcohol abuse in 2017. Those are astounding numbers.
In response to the national crisis, the CDC began recommending a treatment called MAT, or medication assisted treatment, for those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions. Since 2017, treatment centers, physicians, and healthcare providers all over the country have become certified to administer the groundbreaking treatment.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Addictions have commonly been treated with behavioral therapies and counseling, but that treatment plan is not always effective. Medication assisted treatment adds the benefits of FDA-approved medications to traditional behavioral therapy and counseling.
So many people relapse because of chemical imbalances in the body caused by psychosomatic cravings and withdrawal signs. Medication assisted treatment uses drugs to help curb these problems and help patients stay on track.
How Can MAT Help an Addiction?
Treating a drug addiction with drugs may sound contradictory, but research has proven it to work because drugs used in MAT treat the symptoms that send addicts into relapse. Besides fighting withdrawals and cravings, it also increases patient survival rate, and retention in treatment programs.
Medications used in conjunction with behavior therapy and traditional counseling have shown to increase the birth weight of babies born to addicted mothers. Studies also point to a marked decrease in criminal activity and illicit opioid use among people with substance abuse issues.
There are a variety of medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat alcoholism and drug addiction. They are used in a controlled and safe manner to overcome the abuse of alcohol or opioids. Studies have shown that at specific doses, these drugs have no harmful effects on a patient’s mental capacity, employability, physical functioning, or intelligence.
Common drugs used in medication assisted treatments include:
Naltrexone binds itself to the same receptors in the brain that drugs such as heroin and codeine effect and blocks the euphoric impacts. If a patient relapses, the Naltrexone in their system will block any high from their problem drug.
Antabuse battles alcoholism by stopping liver enzymes from deconstructing acetaldehyde, an alcohol metabolite which causes hangovers after a bout of heavy drinking. It is noxious at high levels. When a person drinks alcohol while taking Antabuse, they feel as if they are suffering from a mammoth hangover.
How Long Does a Patient Stay on Medication Assisted Treatment?
The medications used in MAT’s are safe to take for a lifetime if so needed. While some may need them for the rest of their life, others may take them only a few months or a number of years. Each patient’s treatment plan is designed by their doctor. Stopping treatment or any deviation from the treatment plan can be harmful and should be discussed with a doctor first.
First Steps Recovery
Choosing sobriety is a life-altering decision. First Steps Recovery offers options in inpatient resident rehabilitation and detox programs for alcohol and drug abuse that begin with the first phone call. We use both science-based and holistic approaches to provide the most thorough and lifelong recovery possible.
Our mission, at the Fresno, California, First Steps Recovery, is to provide a healing place for mind, body, and spirit. Recovery and the life you deserve are just a phone call away. Reach out today, so we can get you the help you need.