Detox is a critical and necessary part of recovery from an addiction to drugs and alcohol, but it can be one of the most challenging parts, and without a full, complete, and successful detox, subsequent substance abuse treatment may have little or no effect. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly strong. Many individuals who attempt to detox on their own will fail. This is because, to alleviate their symptoms, they quickly return to their drug of choice.
A medication-assisted treatment program (MAT) gives individuals who want to recover a way to minimize the risk of relapse. It can also end their dependency and recover with long-term success.
What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-assisted treatment is a clinically driven approach for substance use disorders that involves the use of FDA-approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. MAT is often used to treat opioid and alcohol use disorders, and it has been proven effective in improving outcomes, reducing the risk of overdose, and decreasing substance misuse.
The medications used in MAT work by reducing cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and removing the temptation to use again. MAT also blocks the effects of opioids or alcohol, meaning individuals are less likely to engage in substance use because they will not achieve the same results.
MAT is typically prescribed and monitored by a healthcare provider as part of an individual’s treatment plan. MAT is also typically an option that individuals must qualify for in order to be prescribed these medications. Each person’s substance use disorders are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see if they qualify for these treatment medications.
At Bayview Recovery, we’re committed to providing the care that our patients need to overcome their addictions. With the help of medication-assisted treatment, dual diagnosis treatment, and our other options, we give them the tools they need to heal. To learn more about our services, please contact Bayview Recovery today at
Acamprosate is used to help individuals who have already detoxed from alcohol refrain from using the substance again. It works by reducing symptoms related to withdrawal and alcohol cravings, as well as restoring the balance of brain chemicals that have been disrupted by alcohol use.
Disulfiram, also known as Antabuse, is another medication used in the MAT treatment for alcohol use disorder. It works by blocking the metabolism of alcohol in the body. This means if an individual engages in even the slightest amount of alcohol use they’ll encounter negative consequences such as nausea, vomiting, and headache. This can help to reinforce the decision to stay away from alcohol and can be an effective deterrent for those struggling with alcohol substance abuse.
Naltrexone, as mentioned before, is also used for alcohol use disorder. It reduces the pleasure and rewarding effects of drinking by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, thus reducing cravings and the reinforcing effects of alcohol.
Buprenorphine and methadone are opioid agonists, which means they activate the same receptors in the brain as opioids, but with milder effects. They work by reducing the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings associated with opioid use disorder and help to prevent relapse.
Naltrexone is a medication known as an opioid antagonist that binds to the same receptors as opioids, but it does not activate them. This medication will reduce cravings for opioids and alcohol and also blocks the effects of opioids so that individuals cannot get the same euphoric effects.
MAT is an evidence-based approach that has been shown to be effective in treating substance use disorders, particularly opioid and alcohol use disorders. It can help to reduce substance misuse, improve physical and mental health outcomes, and increase the likelihood of completing substance abuse treatment. However, it is important to note that MAT should be combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies for the best results.
Dave Cundiff, MD, MPH is an experienced leader in the field of Substance Use Disorder treatment. He works with patients suffering from Substance Use Disorder to evaluate their medication needs and prescribe treatments accordingly. In addition, he regularly participates in all-staff debriefing sessions involving peers, nurses, and other prescribers. He also reviews and advises on policies, procedures, and techniques for treating substance use disorder.