Category: Medication-Assisted Treatment

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Opioids and alcohol are two of the most prevalent addictions in the United States today and have an almost uniform status across each state. Massachusetts is no different, with an estimated 6-7% of people over 12 suffering from AUD—nearly 300,000 people1. Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a highly effective means of reducing some of the most physically and mentally demanding points of recovery. By combining certain medications with counseling and behavioral therapy, MAT can be an effective tool to have in your arsenal of coping and management skills. 

For those seeking medication-assisted treatment in Lowell, MA, Clear Steps Recovery is here to help. Our compassionate staff has years of experience in applying MAT in comprehensive treatment. Call us today at 603.769.8981 or reach us online to learn how you can qualify for MAT or about our Lowell, Massachusetts, medication-assisted treatment program.

What Is Medication-Assisted Therapy?

Medication-assisted therapy is a treatment approach that combines the use of certain cleared medications with behavioral therapy to help individuals manage their addiction. Currently, MAT has various uses in treating alcohol and opioid use disorders. The medications used for MAT attempt to reduce symptoms of withdrawal and cravings. They do so in different ways, either by making the substance physically repulsive or by neutering its ability to excite the reward centers of the brain. Some of the common medications used for MAT include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Disulfiram

While it might seem counterintuitive to substitute reliance on one medication for another, the objective of MAT meds is to reduce their own cause for use as quickly and safely as possible. Medications used for MAT are not just non-addictive; they are addiction antagonists, meaning they make addictive substances ineffectual or even unpleasant. MAT medications are restricted to prescriptions given by a healthcare professional as part of comprehensive treatment.

Why Choose MAT in Massachusetts?

MAT is an extremely helpful tool for reducing the most unpleasant or alluring aspects of substance abuse. Its only major drawback is, besides its limitations to just alcohol and opioid cases, the fact that it’s a form of reactive treatment rather than being proactive. Alone, it does very little to treat the underlying causes of substance use disorder. For that reason, MAT is often utilized as a part of a comprehensive treatment program that involves therapy and lifestyle adjustments.

Those who suffer from opioid or alcohol use disorder have to be eligible to participate in medication-assisted treatment in Lowell, MA. The first major step is to receive an official diagnosis from a physician. This assessment isn’t arbitrary. It’s a way to gauge which medication will prove most effective in MAT or if it’s even the correct course of action. Patients who do learn that MAT is the right call will be able to overcome their withdrawal symptoms faster, suffer from fewer to no cravings, and feel more at ease during treatment.

Clear Steps Recovery Provides Lowell Medication-Assisted Treatment

At Clear Steps Recovery, we want to make treatment as safe and comfortable as possible for our patients. Recovering from substance use disorder can be a painful ordeal at times, but with the right oversight, the process can be smooth and painless. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be effortless—breaking addiction is still a mentally and physically demanding task regardless of medication assistance. It takes a high constitution and total commitment to seeing your recovery through to achieve sobriety that will last.

We’re willing to work with you all the way to your goal. Call the team at Clear Steps Recovery today at 603.769.8981 to learn how our medication-assisted treatment in Lowell, MA, can improve your journey to recovery.

Sources

1SAMHSA – “2016-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health National Maps of Prevalence Estimates, by Substate Region”

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is an approach to substance use disorder treatment that implements medications that counter addiction and withdrawal symptoms, allowing for an easier and safer recovery. MAT has been a widely-used companion treatment to more traditional therapy styles that helps improve retention rates and reduces the risk of relapse after rehab.

Multiple medications have different methods of diminishing the properties of drugs and alcohol, so it’s essential to discuss with your provider which would work best for you. At Clear Steps Recovery, we offer guided counseling and care for our patients to ensure the best medication-assisted treatment results. To find out about our medication-assisted treatment in Billerica, Massachusetts, contact us today at 603.769.8981 to learn more about the benefits of MAT or any of our adjacent therapy programs.

Is MAT Beneficial? Looking at the Results of MAT

Since MAT describes the use of various medications to treat different substance use disorders, not everybody will experience the same effects. Our team’s objective is to give our patients a structured medication-assisted treatment program that works best for their situation. 

Across the board, the application of MAT has helped patients struggling with opioid and alcohol addiction. It’s a valuable tool that helps keep withdrawal symptoms in check, reduces the risk of relapse, and overall improves the likelihood that patients will stick to their treatment plan. However, medication-assisted treatment results only in the easement of symptoms and reduction of triggers. Alone, it does nothing to address the roots of an individual’s substance use disorder. That’s why combining MAT with individual, group, or family therapy is such common practice.

The Effects of Medication-Assisted Treatment

The medications used in MAT go about reducing the risk of relapse in several ways. Some medications, like disulfiram, cause extreme sensitivity to ethanol, disincentivizing alcohol consumption. Others make the impulse to continue using lower by occupying the pleasure centers of the brain that opioids attach to. Above all, each MAT medication seeks to achieve these five effects:

  • Reduced cravings

One of the main benefits of MAT is that it can help reduce cravings for drugs. Cravings can become a major trigger for relapse, which is why many MAT medications work to stabilize the urge to take drugs.

  • Withdrawal symptom management

Withdrawal symptoms are a major contributor to dropping out of rehab programs and relapsing. When a person has become accustomed to or even dependent on having an addictive substance in their body, the absence of that substance can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Most MAT medications make withdrawal symptoms manageable, allowing patients to focus on treatment without the burden of withdrawal.

  • Improved treatment retention

By reducing withdrawal symptoms, MAT has been shown to increase retention in treatment programs. Consistency is the key to recovering from addiction, which is why staying in a rehab program is so critical. When patients have access to support and medications to help manage cravings and reduce discomfort, they’re more likely to adhere to treatment.

  • Lowered health risk

The symptoms of withdrawal aren’t just discomforting—sometimes, they can pose a legitimate health risk if left untreated. MAT combined with professional supervision can reduce the risk of health complications significantly.

  • Reduced risk of relapse

All of these factors help keep patients from relapsing, undoing potentially months of hard work and progress. Relapse is a major setback in any case, which is why MAT is such an effective component of treatment. Minimizing relapse will always result in higher odds of long-term sobriety.

Contact Clear Steps Recovery Today for MAT in Massachusetts and New Hampshire

It’s clear that MAT can be an extremely valuable tool for treating substance use disorder. As with any tool, it has to be used correctly and when appropriate. That’s why, at Clear Steps Recovery, we make it easy to connect with specialists who can work with you or your loved one to determine the best medication-assisted treatment results possible.

Call us today at 603.769.8981 or reach out online to learn more about medication-assisted treatment or any of our other recovery programs. Our goal is to make your recovery safe, comfortable, and long-lasting, no matter your situation.

Before going into treatment, some people have medication-assisted treatment expectations that can make them uneasy. Potential worries often revolve around the interchange of one drug for another—treating a substance use disorder by introducing another substance seems counterintuitive. However, medication-assisted treatment is a robust complementary approach that can provide tangible benefits to those struggling with addiction and subsequent withdrawal.

At Clear Steps Recovery, we’ve seen firsthand the strengths of using medication-assisted treatment. MAT, in addition to programs like behavioral therapy, family therapy, and counseling, allows patients to minimize the pain of withdrawal on their way to total recovery. Reach out today by calling at 603.769.8981 to learn about our Londonderry, New Hampshire, medication-assisted treatment program.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a valuable tool for treating substance use disorders. As the name would imply, MAT involves the use of medication to aid in treatment, specifically to reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment is restricted chiefly to cases of opioid and alcohol use disorders because of how those particular substances affect the brain.

Withdrawal comes as a result of a neurochemical imbalance—the brain becomes accustomed to having certain drugs present and halts its own production in response. When these drugs fail to appear, the brain has difficulty readjusting, and withdrawal is what follows.

This is what most MAT medications seek to fix. By binding to the same receptors as these substances, the medication can occupy the receptor and nullify the ensuing withdrawal symptoms. It’s essential that these drugs put the patient at zero risk of becoming addicted or do not themselves cause adverse reactions even as they seek to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. 

What to Expect in Medication-Assisted Treatment

If you and your healthcare provider determine MAT is right for you, there are some standards you can come to expect:

Reduced Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms

MAT medications can help reduce the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This can make managing addiction easier, allowing for more focus on recovery.

Improved Treatment Retention

MAT has been shown to improve retention in treatment, as patients are less likely to drop out due to discomfort with their withdrawal symptoms or inability to manage cravings.

Lower Risk of Relapse

Because of the previous two benefits, the use of MAT is associated with a lower risk of relapse. Whereas dropping out is one step backward, relapse can be compared to a full reverse sprint.

Improved Physical and Mental Health

MAT can help improve overall mental and physical health, as individuals are able to enter a less discomforting mindset without the pain of withdrawal.

Better Pregnancy Outcomes

MAT is the standard of care for pregnant women with an opioid addiction. Opioid use can be immensely harmful to pregnancy, so MAT aids in improving overall health and reducing the risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome.

MAT is beneficial in managing the worst withdrawal symptoms and disincentivizing further substance abuse, but it doesn’t accomplish much else. It alone will not cure a substance use disorder—for that, a comprehensive treatment plan is necessary. Without getting to the center of the problem, such as addressing motivations for abusing drugs, there’s no guarantee that treatment will meet many people’s medication-assisted treatment expectations.

Reach Out to Clear Steps Recovery for MAT in New Hampshire

At Clear Steps Recovery, we understand how painful withdrawal can be. Many people who have dropped out of rehab cite withdrawal pain as a major contributor. MAT can help combat the discomfort of quitting drug use, leading to more secure treatment. If you have questions about medication-assisted treatment expectations, contact our team of specialists today at 603.769.8981 or reach out online.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a highly effective approach to treating substance use disorders, particularly opioid and alcohol addiction. Certain medications can counteract the effects of opioid or alcohol addiction by reducing cravings, withdrawal symptoms, or the primary effects of the drugs themselves. MAT is a widely-used program that significantly improves treatment outcomes but may not be suitable for everybody.

You can determine whether MAT is right for you by speaking to the team at Clear Steps Recovery. Our staff is experienced, compassionate, and ready to help guide you through medication-assisted treatment preparation before you begin. Call 603.769.8981 or reach out to us online to ask questions or get involved in our medication-assisted treatment program in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Some substance use disorders are able to be effectively treated by the use of other medications. These medications are prescribed during treatment, either to be taken at home or at a clinic. Initially, it may seem counterintuitive to add another medication into the mix for treating these disorders—after all, many people who started abusing opioids began by misusing a prescription painkiller. Not only are the medications used for MAT specifically created to have no addictive properties, they actively curb the effects of opioids or alcohol to reduce their impact.

MAT medications are part of a group called agonists. They work to minimize the discomfort caused by withdrawal by binding to the parts of the brain opioids and alcohol would. Once they’ve occupied that space, the abused substance is rendered much less effective. Some medications most commonly employed for MAT include:

  • Methadone – Opioid agonist, reduces opioid effects and cravings
  • Buprenorphine – Opioid agonist, reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Naltrexone – Treats both opioid and alcohol, blocks effects, and reduces cravings
  • Acamprosate – Alcohol agonist, reduces cravings and relapse risk
  • Disulfiram – Alcohol agonist, disincentivizes alcohol consumption by inducing sensitivity to ethanol, resulting in vomiting, nausea, sweating

Preparing for Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment preparation requires receiving an official diagnosis of having opioid use disorder or alcohol use disorder. Getting diagnosed involves an assessment from either a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed counselor. Once the diagnosis is received, you can apply for receiving MAT during treatment. Not only is receiving this diagnosis crucial for regulatory reasons—it’s important to keep the supply of any medication in the right hands—a diagnosis can also identify what MAT seeks to do. The number of medications used for this treatment is higher than the listed five, and making sure patients are taking the correct one is largely informed by how they deal with addiction.

Additionally, MAT is rarely ever used in isolation. Treating the effects of drug abuse without addressing any of its underlying causes only succeeds in improving the quality of the present moment, failing to consider how to later equip patients with the tools necessary to stop MAT altogether. Instead, this type of therapy works best when used in tandem with behavioral therapy or counseling. Getting to the root of the problem, whether that’s depression, anxiety, financial insecurity, or any potential cause for drug use, is the ultimate goal of rehabilitation.

Contact Clear Steps Recovery for MAT in New Hampshire

At Clear Steps Recovery, we can help you manage the moment-to-moment pain that comes from withdrawal. Still, we ultimately strive to support your long-term effort to overcome opioid or alcohol addiction. For any questions regarding the specifics of MAT, reach out to our compassionate team of experts to discuss medication-assisted treatment preparations and how it’s applied in our treatment.

Let us help you in reaching sobriety safely. Get in touch with us by calling 603.769.8981 or by filling out our online form.

Addiction causes the body to lose its chemical stability. The body tries to maintain a sort of internal equilibrium known as homeostasis. The introduction of drugs into the system can cause significant disruptions to body temperature, neurotransmitter efficiency, and more. Most prescriptions avoid creating this imbalance by keeping dosage relatively low and punctuating when the medication is taken. Unregulated substances, on the other hand, have only a self-imposed limit on their destruction.

Finding a way to wean off stronger substances is a common difficulty for those seeking to reduce and ultimately end their drug usage. Fortunately, most recovery centers employ a practice called medication-assisted therapy, also known as medication-assisted treatment, or simply MAT. MAT is a widely-used, rigorously tested means of reducing the effects of opioids and alcohol on the body and is an integral part of our therapy programs. To learn even more about the many medication-assisted therapy benefits, contact the team at Clear Steps Recovery today at 603.769.8981 and ask about medication-assisted therapy in New Hampshire.

5 Benefits of Medication-Assisted Therapy

1. Lowers Risk of Relapse

Relapse is always a concern during and after the detox process. It takes significantly more time to build a healthy habit than it does to tear one down. Fortunately, MAT reduces the risk of relapse by the process of habituation—it helps remove the addictive drive for opioids or alcohol from the body.

2. Eases Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal is another obstacle in the way of recovery, with intense pains lasting for weeks or longer. By gradually reining in the effects of the drug, withdrawal symptoms eventually become manageable before finally disappearing. Therapists monitor the severity of withdrawal throughout treatment to ensure comfort.

3. Rebalances Brain Chemistry

By reducing the amount of opioids taken, as well as reducing the body’s cravings and withdrawal symptoms, the process of reaching homeostasis again is significantly easier. Depending on the severity of the substance use disorder (SUD), it can take different amounts of time, but MAT can help bring levels back to pre-SUD conditions.

4. Disables Opioid Receptors

Opioid agonists, the primary medication typically used in MAT, are similar to opioids in name and shape. They attach to the same dopamine neurotransmitters as opioids but are entirely ineffectual. Doing so satisfies part of the withdrawal pains and reduces the compulsion to take more opioids.

5. Strengthens Additional Therapies

When MAT is incorporated into other therapy styles, it can benefit the quality of the entire process. Allowing oneself to take their focus off the pain of withdrawal or the craving for opioids can allow for clearer decision-making, more honest introspection, and an ability to return to typical day-to-day life much more naturally.

Other MAT Benefits

In addition to the five above, medication-assisted therapy benefits extend beyond the recovery process. MAT is a way to ensure that clients leaving therapy can return to living as usual, with a significantly reduced drive to return to opioid or alcohol use again. The 2-8 week window following departure from recovery is the most vital time to ensure clients have a safe landing. Individuals who return to living life following MAT tend to find employment easier to obtain, something denied to many afflicted with substance use disorders.

Discover the Benefits of MAT in New Hampshire at Clear Steps Recovery

Each of the medication-assisted therapy benefits excels in easing the difficulty of treatment. With that said, there is no easy recovery. It takes perseverance, dedication, and care from others to see it through to the end. Taking that first step means saddling new, unexpected challenges in order to improve one’s life for years to come.

At Clear Steps Recovery, we understand the uphill battle that is addiction recovery. We employ MAT, in addition to a number of other therapeutic practices, to give you the advantage necessary to overcome substance use disorders and live healthily. Contact us at 603.769.8981 or reach out online to learn what makes our medication-assisted therapy in New Hampshire so effective.

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