MAT: Medication Assisted Treatment

What is MAT?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), combines behavioral therapy  and medication to treat addiction, including alcoholism. MAT treatments are becoming increasingly popular in addiction treatment (and in some cases required/diversion programs). This shift in the addiction field is happening as a result of the scientific addiction literature detailing the overwhelmingly positive outcome data. In short, statistically, patients who utilize MAT have far better outcomes. They not only stay sober more consistently and for longer periods than standard behavioral “treatment as usual” participants, they also score higher in sequelae of associated recovery behaviors such as treatment attendance, reduced risk taking behavior, more pro-social behavior, less criminal activity and show less depression and anxiety than those not receiving MAT.

 

BEHAVIORAL TREATMENT + MEDICATION = MEDICATION ASSISTED TREATMENT

 

What Addictions Does MAT Treat? 

  1. Alcoholism:

    The anti-craving medication Naltrexone is FDA approved for the treatment of alcoholism. Naltrexone is a pill taken daily and has helped decrease cravings in people recovering from alcohol use disorders. Naltrexone and the long acting form of Naltrexone, Vivitrol (given via shot 1x month) are effective anti-craving medications and increase the patient’s ability to maintain sobriety and improve treatment outcomes. Additionally, the Vivitrol form of this medication is often even more effective than the daily pill form of Naltrexone, as it greatly reduces compliance issues.

 

  1. Opioid Addiction:

    There are 3 FDA opioid medication assisted therapies:

    1. Suboxone (a partial agonist)

      Confidential Recovery provides Suboxone detox tapers or Suboxone maintenance treatment. Additionally, there has been some evidence that Suboxone has been especially useful for people recovering from addiction who also have long term and frequent nervous system deregulations, better known as chronic PTSD. Suboxone increases the patient’s attendance in treatment, which is notably worse for people dually diagnosed with PTSD and substance use.

    2. Methadone (a full agonist)

      Not available at Confidential Recovery.

    3. Naltrexone (blocker)

      Confidential Recovery does provide monthly prescription for active clients. The anti-craving medication Naltrexone is FDA approved for the treatment of opioid addiction. It is a pill taken daily and has helped decrease cravings in people recovering from opioid use disorders. Naltrexone and the long acting form of Naltrexone, Vivitrol (given via shot 1x month) are effective anti-craving medications and increase the patient’s ability to maintain sobriety and improve treatment outcomes. Additionally, the Vivitrol form of this medication is often even more effective than the daily pill form of Naltrexone, as it greatly reduces compliance issues.

 

How Do These Medications Affect the Brain?

  1. Opiate “Full Agonists”

    Includes drugs like Fentanyl, Oxy, Heroin, and Vicodin binds to the receptor and produces strong euphoric effects (e.g. Oxy, Fentanyl, Vicodin, Heroin, Methadone).

  2. Opiate “Partial Agonist s”

    Includes drugs like Buprenorphine and Suboxone. Binds to the Mu receptor – can be euphoric, but can only take the elevator up so high. Weaker euphoric effects (e.g. Buprenorphine, Suboxone).

  3. Opiate “Antagonists”

    Binds to the receptor with no opioid effects, blocker (e.g. naloxone, naltrexone)

Who Should Consider MAT?

  1. People with an alcohol use disorder
  2. People with an opioid use disorder
  3. People with treatment resistant alcohol or opioid use disorders (often MAT is the game changer)
  4. People who have used opioids for over one year
  5. People who want to stop taking opiates but are afraid of the withdrawal symptoms
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