It is common for people trying to overcome addiction to struggle with cravings and have difficulty maintaining sobriety despite their strong desire to do so. In order to kick their habit, many addicted individuals have attended many inpatient and outpatient treatment centers, experiencing chronic relapses. As a result, medication-assisted treatment has been introduced as a way to help some people to maintain recovery.
Medication Assisted Treatment: What is it?
MAT (medication-assisted treatment) was developed because substance use disorders are chronic relapsing conditions. As part of MAT, a combination of medications, counseling, and support are used to treat substance dependence and cravings. After consulting a physician familiar with these treatments for substance abuse disorders, it should be considered.
Individuals with substance abuse issues would need to be assessed and diagnosed as suffering from substance use disorders in order to be considered a candidate for medication-assisted treatment. In order to ensure the client gets the most effective outcome, MAT includes counseling, medication monitoring, and a treatment plan to promote adherence to the program.
How Effective Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
According to SAMHSA, medication-assisted treatment has been found to have numerous beneficial effects in the lives of those with substance use disorders. Examples include improved patient survival, higher treatment retention rates, curbed substance abuse, enhanced employability and healthier babies for mothers who are pregnant and have a SUD. In addition, MAT can also act as a protective factor against HIV and Hepatitis C by lowering the chances of relapse.
Currently, there are several different medications available that are geared toward treating alcohol and opioid use disorders as well as smoking/nicotine cessation. There are several studies and research underway on drugs that may be effective in treating other illicit substances, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. There is currently insufficient information and data about their effectiveness, and none have been approved for use in treatment.
Medication-Assisted Treatment For Alcohol Abuse
There are three medication-assisted treatment options available for people with alcohol use disorders: disulfiram (brand name Antabuse), acamprosate (brand name Campral), and naltrexone (brand name ReVia or Vivitrol).
It is available in pill form and prevents the body from fully breaking down alcohol, resulting in an unpleasant reaction. After drinking alcohol, those on disulfiram will become ill for about half an hour. The hangover effects of disulfiram are primarily headaches, nausea, and vomiting that last about a half hour.
Those who have recently stopped drinking can use acamprosate in pill form to restore the chemical balance as well as reduce alcohol cravings.
The pill form of Naltrexone is taken every day, while the injectable form is a long-acting form that is administered every 28 days. The medication is known as Vivitrol. In addition to reducing alcohol cravings, naltrexone can also be used for opioid dependency (see below).
Medication-Assisted Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Methadone, naltrexone (Vivitrol), and buprenorphine (brand name Suboxone) are medication-assisted treatment options for those with opioid use disorders.
Since it has been around for the longest, methadone has traditionally been given as a liquid, but is now also available as a pill. As well as being a form of maintenance therapy, it can also be used for detoxification from opioid dependency. As a long-acting opioid that replaces cravings and urges for other opioids, it needs to be taken on a daily basis.
Naltrexone is available as a pill or as a Vivitrol injection. In pill form, it is taken daily, and the injection is administered every 28 days. It works by blocking opiate receptors in the body, preventing a patient from experiencing the same euphoric high that heroin would cause.
As well as being used for MAT, buprenorphine is often used in medical detox facilities to wean off heroin and other opioids. It comes as a pill, sublingual film (Suboxone), or long-lasting injection (Sublocade). Like methadone, buprenorphine is an opioid that lasts for a longer period of time. Because of its "ceiling effect," where side effects usually associated with other opioids are not as prevalent and level off after a certain dose, buprenorphine is popular.
You CAN find hope, healing and recovery from addiction. Redemption Addiction Treatment Center can help make your journey more comfortable. Call us today to learn more about our Medication-Assisted Treatments.