Lately at Cenikor, we’ve been sharing several testimonials from clients who are or have been in our MAT Treatment Program. You can read those here. Now, we’d like to share more detailed information about what this program is and how it can work for you or a loved one struggling with opioid use disorder.
What You Need to Know About Medication-Assisted Treatment
More than 35 million people suffer from drug abuse worldwide. Substance abuse is a difficult thing to tackle, especially without help and support.
MAT is mainly used to treat people with opioid addictions. Opioid addictions happen for a variety of reasons. It usually involves the use of prescription opiates.
These drugs are designed to treat severe forms of pain. Trouble arises when people take these drugs in a way that is not recommended. An example includes crushing and snorting the drugs instead of taking them orally as recommended by a doctor.
Some people may inject opiate drugs for a more intense high. Abusing opiates in this way often leads to serious addictions. An addiction to opioids is very difficult to stop.
This is because it is such an intense drug with a high risk of dependency. But how can medication-assisted treatment help? Isn’t it a bad idea to introduce more medication into an addict’s life?
Not necessarily. One of the biggest benefits of MAT is that it’s tailored to the individual. This allows the treatment to have more of an effect.
This treatment can help an addict in many ways. It makes it easier for the person to kick their addiction. It also makes it easier for the person to keep from returning to their drug of choice.
MAT is even helpful for prolonging patient survival in the long run. If a person is dependent on opioids, several medications can counter this addiction. Naltrexone is one of the most common choices.
Buprenorphine and methadone may also be used. These drugs work to make it easier for a patient to wean themselves off of opioid medications.
Consider naltrexone – this medication reduces opioid cravings. This is important because opioid cravings are very powerful and perpetuate opioid addictions. Reducing these cravings makes it less likely for the patient to seek out more opioids.
This medication also does not result in withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are often very severe, unpleasant, and can be a deterrent to quitting. Reducing or eliminating them is important for making the process of recovery smoother for the patient.
The benefit of naltrexone, along with similar medications, is that it has no addictive potential. It is not possible to get high or feel euphoric when taking this medication.
Some medications prevent overdoses, such as Naloxone. Fatal opioid overdoses happen often but using naloxone can save a person’s life.
Medication-assisted treatment is not something that will cure an addiction overnight. As with any kind of treatment, it takes time to work, but once it does, this type of treatment is very effective.
What to Expect from Medication-Assisted Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment takes a while to work. The exact length will depend on the severity of the addiction.
Suppose a person has been addicted to heroin for years, this would be a very severe addiction. The patient’s brain would be dependent on the presence of that drug to function and removing this drug from the person’s system would cause very severe withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms can be very dangerous, sometimes even fatal. Using medication-assisted treatment can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. While it does not make withdrawal an easy process, it reduces the dangers of the process.
The patient may need to continue with this treatment for several months. It may take as long as a year before the person can go back to living a drug-free life. Most people only need to go through one to three months of treatment.
This treatment is often combined with other forms of treatment. Therapy is the most common type. Therapy blended with medication-assisted treatment has shown itself to be very helpful.
What You Need to Know
Therapy allows the patient to talk about their addiction. It also allows them to talk about how they feel. People often abuse drugs to escape something; they may be depressed or anxious. They may feel that using opioids allows them to escape these feelings. It’s important to get to the root of these problems.
This is because these problems are what caused the addiction in the first place. Fixing these issues makes it more likely that the patient will not return to opiate drugs in the future. If a mental health issue is at its core, therapy can help treat it.
Therapy also helps a person manage their feelings and urges. It allows a person to maintain better self-control, which makes it easier for a person to avoid dangerous and addictive drugs.
It also changes a patient’s way of thinking. This is done by teaching a patient to focus more on positive rather than negative things. Combining this with MAT should provide excellent results.
Medication-Assisted Treatment Overview
Medication-assisted treatment is a very effective method of treating opioid addictions. It uses medication to wean a person off of opioids, and it is usually combined with talk therapy for the best results.