Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in San Antonio: Helping You Achieve Lasting Recovery

There are many different routes people can take to achieve recovery. Similarly, no two people’s experiences are the same, as each individual has their own unique situation, treatment needs, and goals for recovery. One route that is often used to treat addictions to alcohol or opioids is known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)? Understanding the Basics

Medication-assisted treatment, commonly known as MAT, is an integrated approach to recovery that involves using prescription medications alongside counseling and behavioral therapy to overcome addiction. This approach is thought to provide more comprehensive, whole-person care than counseling and behavioral therapy alone.

Medications can be helpful in recovery for numerous reasons, but the main reason is that addiction changes the brain, both structurally and chemically. After chronic use, people become physically dependent on the substance they are using. This dependence can become so severe that it can take months–sometimes years–to fully recover from the effects. As the brain adjusts to sobriety, individuals face various challenges related to withdrawal and cravings, but medications can alleviate these challenges and help people stay sober.

The Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Years of extensive research have proven that medication and therapy can help individuals sustain recovery from drugs and alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) outlines several beneficial outcomes of using this approach, including:

  • Improve patient survival rates
  • Boost engagement and continuity in treatment
  • Reduce involvement in illicit opiate use and other criminal behaviors among individuals with substance use disorders
  • Enhance patients’ capacity to secure and sustain employment
  • Enhance the outcomes of childbirth for pregnant women dealing with substance use disorders

What Medications Are Used in MAT?

Currently, there are only MAT medications available to treat opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder

Opioids are pain-relieving drugs, such as oxycodone, codeine, morphine, heroin, and fentanyl, that bind to and activate opioid receptors in the brain. This results in feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and sedation. Over time, the body relies on opioids to function “normally,” resulting in symptoms of withdrawal upon quitting.

The medications used to treat opioid addiction target opioid receptors in various ways to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and/or reduce cravings. These include:

  • Buprenorphine – This is a partial opioid agonist that binds to opioid receptors, but to a lesser extent than other opioids, not causing a high. It helps to treat withdrawal symptoms during detox and ease cravings in recovery. Buprenorphine comes in various forms, including:
    • A daily medication that comes in the form of a tablet (Subutex)
    • A daily medication that comes in the form of a sublingual film or tablet and is combined with naloxone (Suboxone)
    • A monthly injection that is administered subcutaneously in the abdomen (Sublocade)
  • Naltrexone – Naltrexone is an opioid receptor agonist that works by blocking the effects of opioids. It helps reduce cravings for opioids after detoxification. Naltrexone comes in two forms:
    • A daily medication in the form of a pill (ReVia)
    • A monthly injection that is administered intramuscularly, usually in the buttocks (Vivitrol)
  • Methadone – The first medication approved to treat opioid addiction, methadone is a full opioid agonist that may be used during detox to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal. However, it is not used as frequently as buprenorphine or naltrexone due to a potential for misuse.

Each of these medications is most effective when combined with counseling, behavioral therapy, and the guidance of qualified healthcare professionals.

Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder

Several medications are approved for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD), and they work in different ways to help individuals reduce or quit drinking. Here are some medications commonly used for treating AUD:

  • Acamprosate (Campral) – Acamprosate helps balance the chemicals in the brain that are disrupted by long-term alcohol use. It is generally used to support abstinence by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) – Disulfiram discourages alcohol consumption by causing unpleasant reactions when alcohol is ingested. It blocks the normal breakdown of alcohol, leading to symptoms such as nausea, flushing, and increased heart rate.
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol, ReVia) – Naltrexone, as mentioned earlier, is an opioid receptor antagonist that can be used for treating both opioid addiction and alcohol dependence. It reduces the rewarding effects of alcohol and can help prevent relapse.

Like the medications used to treat opioid addiction, these should also be used in combination with an addiction treatment program and medical supervision.

Learn More About Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in San Antonio

At Flourishing Foundations Recovery, we believe that a comprehensive, whole-person approach is essential for a successful recovery. In order to help our clients detox safely and comfortably, they may be prescribed medications to cope with withdrawal. In our program serving the greater San Antonio area, we are able to provide a medical detox from drugs and alcohol in a safe, comfortable, and effective manner on an outpatient basis.

The MAT programs utilize evidence-based treatments and therapeutic interventions, including:

With an intimate setting and a dedication to patient care, you can rest assured that you or your loved one is receiving the highest quality of care at Flourishing Foundations Recovery. To learn more about medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or to get started with a confidential, risk-free assessment, please contact us today.

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