What Is Medication Assisted Treatment And How Can It Help Me Detox Safely
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How Can I Detox Safely With Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Millions of people in the United States struggle with drug and alcohol abuse without ever getting the treatment they need to recover. Without getting help, many with addiction will face severe, adverse consequences to their mental and physical health, as well as other legal, social, and financial troubles.

Addiction is a complex and deeply-rooted condition that requires comprehensive treatment. Without holistic care to address substance abuse’s psychological, physical, and behavioral aspects, people will likely experience a worsening of their addiction and more severe consequences as time goes on.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is considered the gold standard of substance abuse treatment. This evidence-based approach uses specific medications and tailored therapies to help people stop using hazardous, addictive drugs and work toward lifelong sobriety.

This article will explore medication-assisted treatment and how it can help you detox from drugs safely. Reach out to the team of specialists at Flourishing Foundations Recovery now to learn more about our treatment programs or to schedule an intake assessment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a form of substance abuse treatment that involves using specific medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapy to help people curb cravings and reduce other withdrawal symptoms once they stop using addictive substances. Medication-assisted treatment is most commonly used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction.

Typically, a MAT program begins with an intake assessment to help the treatment team develop the most effective course of treatment during detox and beyond. Medication-assisted treatment programs utilize a combination of evidence-based treatments, including:

  • Evaluations and screenings
  • Individual psychotherapy and counseling
  • Medically-supervised detox programs
  • Medications and med management

Medication-assisted treatment is especially critical during the detox period when people typically experience the most intense symptoms and are most vulnerable to relapse. Participating in an MAT program can help people avoid much of the discomfort associated with drug withdrawal and have a more comfortable detox period.

Many MAT programs include group therapy, holistic treatments like nutrition support and exercise, and family counseling to support overall wellness in recovery.

What Medications Are Commonly Used in MAT Programs?

The type of medication used during a MAT program depends on each person’s addiction and needs. No medications can “cure” an addiction, but specific ones can be used to manage symptoms of withdrawal, prevent cravings, or reduce the likelihood of complications during detox.

Some of the most commonly used medications include:

  • Acamprosate (Campral) –  medication used in alcohol dependence treatment, assisting in maintaining abstinence by reducing cravings.
  • Methadone (Methadose, Dolophine) –  a synthetic opioid used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol) – a medication that blocks opioid receptors, reducing the pleasurable effects of opioids and alcohol, often used to prevent relapse.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) – a medication that creates an unpleasant reaction when combined with alcohol, discouraging its consumption as part of alcoholism treatment.
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex, and Sublocade) – a partial opioid agonist used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms without producing a high like other opioids.

People can typically take these medications for as long as they need to–including lifelong use. These medications can significantly improve a person’s chances of lifelong recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, especially when taken as part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes therapy, education, and ongoing support.

What are the Goals of Medication-Assisted Treatment During Detox?

Medication-assisted treatment can help people detox from opioids, alcohol, and other addictive substances safely and completely while avoiding many of the discomforts and hazards of “cold turkey” detox.

The medications used to treat opioid addiction, including buprenorphine and methadone, work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain in the same way that illicit and prescription opioids do. However, these medications do not cause feelings of euphoria or make people feel “high.” Taking these medications can reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal from occurring, making it possible for people to stop taking addictive drugs more comfortably.

The primary goal of MAT is simple: to help people stop using addictive substances. But within that goal are several other goals, including:

  • Reducing illicit activity related to opioid and substance abuse
  • Increase a person’s likelihood of survival
  • Increase a person’s commitment to treatment and recovery
  • Allow people to get hired and maintain employment
  • Reduce pregnancy and birth-related complications in pregnant people struggling with addiction

People who participate in MAT programs often have better and longer-lasting outcomes than those who detox independently or attempt to quit using addictive substances “cold turkey.” Medication-assisted treatment is a valuable tool that can help people overcome substance use and work towards the goal of lifelong recovery and sobriety.

Is Medication-Assisted Treatment Effective?

Research has shown that medically-assisted detox improves people’s short and long-term success in recovery, starting with a safe, complete detox from harmful addictive substances. MAT is especially effective for those living with opioid addiction, which is a serious and pervasive condition in the United States.

People who participate in MAT programs are more likely to complete detox and remain in treatment for longer. They also have lower rates of risky behaviors like needle-sharing and deadly overdose.

Medication-assisted treatment programs are effective because they provide comprehensive care that addresses the complex, underlying aspects of addiction. People in MAT programs remain more comfortable throughout detox and treatment, allowing them to participate more fully in their recovery and remain committed to the lifelong process of healing from addiction.

Find Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in San Antonio Today

Medication-assisted treatment provides the best hope of recovery from addiction for people living with opioid addiction and can be effective when treating other forms of addiction. If you or someone in your life struggles with substance abuse or addiction, reach out to the Flourishing Foundations Recovery specialists to explore the many benefits of medication-assisted treatment in San Antonio or to schedule an intake evaluation.