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.