A significant development in treating some substance use disorders (SUDs) has been discovering that certain medications can help curb cravings. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines therapy and medication to support recovery and avoid relapse. Currently approved for use in alcohol and opioid use disorders, MAT can make a big difference in your recovery.
At CeDAR, we offer medication-assisted treatment as part of a multi-faceted rehab experience that supports people who want to escape the cycle of addiction and live healthy, sober lives. Learn about MAT and other addiction treatments offered at CeDAR by calling us at 720.848.3000 or using our online form.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
MAT has been in use for nearly half a century, but over those decades, more and more medications have been discovered to be effective in combatting cravings and supporting sobriety.
Addiction interferes with your brain chemistry, and the medication piece of medication-assisted treatment helps rebalance that chemistry. The goal is for your brain to return to its normal functioning whereby it produces the neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, you need to feel pleasure and avoid anxiety. That production was interrupted by drug or alcohol use which interferes with the natural feedback loop within the brain that seeks emotional balance.
MAT has no time limit, and patients can use the medications safely for indefinite periods. The medications used today in medication-assisted treatment have few, if any, side effects. MAT can help you manage physical and psychological cravings throughout recovery.
Any form of psychotherapy can be helpful in a MAT program, including group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
How Does MAT Work?
Remember that MAT includes both medication and therapy. One without the other is not considered MAT.
By itself, medication is:
- Not a solution, but it is part of a strategy that works when used properly
- Not an alternative to psychotherapy, but supports it
- Unable to heal co-occurring disorders—such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or OCD
- Unable to cure addiction, which is a chronic disease that needs lifetime management
Some of the medications used nowadays in conjunction with other addiction interventions like psychotherapy include:
- Acamprosate (Campral)
- Buprenorphine (Suboxone)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol, ReVia)
Medication can be administered in different ways. The delivery method depends on which drug your clinicians prescribe, but it may be via:
- Dissolving pill or film
- Long-term subdermal implant
- Monthly injection
Frequent check-ins are required even after you leave your rehab program. A reputable physician, psychiatrist, or addiction treatment center will not continue to give you medication if you stop engaging in psychotherapy. The benefits of medication-assisted treatment are great as long as you remain fully invested in your long-term recovery.
Benefits of MAT
What is medication-assisted treatment? It is more effective than medication or psychotherapy alone and can improve health and recovery outcomes while remaining entirely focused on the patient. In the United States alone, well over a million people currently benefit from a MAT program. Some benefits of MAT include the following:
- Aids in resetting brain chemistry and outlook
- Blocks euphoric brain effects of drugs and reduces cravings
- Offers individualized treatment with a holistic approach of considering the whole person
- Reduces risk of overdose and relapse
- Improves retention rates in rehab treatment, improving long-term outcomes
A MAT program can also help you retain employment during and after your comprehensive addiction treatment plan.
Learn More About Medication-Assisted Treatment at CeDAR
MAT saves countless lives every year. Consider a medication-assisted treatment protocol under the supervision of CeDAR’s professional and caring clinical staff, including therapists and physicians, who share a single goal—your lasting recovery. Call 720.848.3000 to get started on addiction recovery today.