What is MAT as a Treatment?

According to an article in the New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration plans to begin permitting pharmaceutical companies to sell medications that help temper cravings, even if they don’t fully stop addiction. The health and human services secretary, Alex M. Azar II, said the agency intended “to correct a misconception that patients must achieve total abstinence in order for MAT to be considered effective.” MAT, also known as Medicated-Assisted Treatment, is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. MAT as a treatment is effective in the treatment of addiction and can help some people to sustain recovery. Medication can be used for many different things throughout the recovery process.

MAT as a Treatment for Detox

Medications can be prescribed to help with the painful withdrawal symptoms that start happening during detox. When the body is no longer being supplied the substance that it is addicted to, you can become very sick and experience a range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and much more. MAT as treatment can help comfortable get you through this phase so you can begin therapy and behavioral treatment more quickly. In addition, medications can be prescribed to block receptors and actually prevent people from getting high as an extra cushion in the early days of recovery.

MAT as a Treatment for Opioids

Another way that MAT can help people in recovery is as a long-term treatment for opioid use disorder. While the FDA acknowledges that it does not fully end addiction, it does help taper people off of substances and have a more comfortable road to recovery.

How It Works

When someone is addicted to opioids, they stop producing their own endorphins and dopamine which help the body regulate its mood and stress. The body stops producing its own due to the huge surge that the substances provide. When a person stops using opioid substances suddenly, they can be met with some very debilitating withdrawal symptoms until their bodies are able to produce it’s own again.

Sometimes, the process of the body regenerating its own endorphins and dopamine can take months, or even years depending on the length and severity of the addiction. People can feel acute withdrawal symptoms for this long until their body is able to rewire itself. That is where MAT can step in – to help the body slowly taper off of substance opioids at the same time their body is building up its own again. Think of it as a diabetic being provided insulin for its body’s own lack of being able to produce insulin. It’s this type of long-term care that can help sustain sobriety and addiction recovery.

What are the FDA Approved Medications for MAT as a Treatment?

The FDA has taken on an expanded view of MAT as a treatment for opioid use disorder. While there are many medications that can be used as part of MAT as a treatment, some of the more commonly prescribed medications include:

  • Vivitrol. This medication is used to actually block opioid receptors. This prevents the patient from actually becoming high or experiencing severe cravings. It is can be administered as a once-monthly injection or Naltrexone can be taken as a once-daily pill. It’s a great extra cushion for people who are in early recovery and just leaving treatment.
  • Methadone. This is a long-acting opioid. According to SAMHSA, it lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
  • Buprenorphine. According to SAMHSA, this medication is an opioid partial agonist. This means that, like opioids, it produces effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression. With buprenorphine, however, these effects are weaker than those of full drugs such as heroin and methadone. In addition, Buprenorphine is ideal for people who do not have access to a methadone clinic or do not prefer to go to one.

Is MAT Right for Me?

Deciding whether or not MAT is right for you can be a tough decision. You will want to talk with a therapist or medical professional to help you determine if it could be beneficial to you. MAT only works well when used in conjunction with behavioral therapies, so having MAT while in a residential treatment center is the ideal situation. Recovering from drug addiction takes much more than just abstinence and getting over its physical effects. It also involves learning how to navigate triggers, repairing relationships with loved ones and finding a way to live a new, healthy lifestyle free of drugs.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

MAT as a treatment for opioid use disorder is growing and growing in popularity and in significance. Getting over an addiction isn’t as cut and dry as completely abstaining. Many people need long-term care in order to rehabilitate themselves, and MAT can provide a safe solution for this.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and
healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com