Overcoming addiction is one of the most challenging endeavors people face in their lifetime. Traditional treatments such as counseling and behavioral therapy are effective in treating addiction, but it can be hard to get people through the doors of an addiction treatment center. Even if you want to get sober, getting past the anticipation of going through withdrawal, battling cravings, and facing life without substances can hold you back from getting the help you need.
Many people need additional assistance during detox and treatment to successfully overcome addiction. This assistance often comes in the form of prescribed medications or pharmacotherapy. Medication-assisted treatment, commonly known as MAT, is an integrated, evidence-based approach that combines pharmaceutical medications with counseling and behavioral therapy. MAT is currently available for individuals struggling with opioid or alcohol use disorder.
If you or a loved one are struggling for addiction and looking for a way out, ARISE Treatment Center can help. Call today to speak with an addiction specialist about starting medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in Southern California.
Understanding the Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma surrounding MAT because it is often viewed as swapping one addiction for another. MAT stigma is not only false, but it is also harmful to the people whose lives could be positively impacted by this approach.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “MAT has proved to be clinically effective and to significantly reduce the need for inpatient detoxification services for these individuals. MAT provides a more comprehensive, individually tailored program of medication and behavioral therapy that addresses the needs of most patients.”
A few advantages of medication-assisted treatment include:
1. Withdrawal Symptom Relief
Painful withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid and alcohol withdrawal are the number one cause of relapse in the first hours and days of recovery. The best way to avoid withdrawal is to take medications prescribed by a licensed physician.
Many of the medications used in MAT, such as Suboxone and methadone, are started during the detoxification period because they provide symptom relief. Since withdrawal is the first major obstacle you have to face when getting sober, having the ability to get relief from medications is something you’ll be grateful for.
2. Fewer Cravings
MAT medications don’t just alleviate withdrawal symptoms–they also reduce the intensity and frequency of drug and alcohol cravings. Cravings may begin during detox, but for many people, they persist for several weeks or months into early recovery.
While addiction treatment therapies will help you cope with cravings, you may not be able to deal with them on your own in the beginning. Medication-assisted treatment gives you a crutch to lean on in the meantime by reducing cravings while you develop healthy coping skills in therapy.
3. Focus More on Therapy and Recovery
With fewer withdrawal symptoms and cravings, you can put more of your energy into your healing journey. The bulk of addiction treatment involves behavioral therapies which take up a lot of emotional energy. And, it can be difficult to focus on recovery when all you can think about is how bad you feel and how much you want to drink or get high.
One of the most important benefits of medication-assisted treatment is that it gives you the capacity to focus on the things that are important–not the things that you’re trying to get away from.
4. Reduced Relapse Risk
Medication-assisted treatment may reduce the risk of drug and alcohol relapse during and after treatment. It is considered one of the most effective treatments for opioid and alcohol abuse. Evidence shows that patients receiving MAT are far less likely to return to prior drug use than patients who were not taking medication.
5. Increased Treatment Retention and Completion
Leaving rehab early or failing to complete treatment can be extremely risky, and most patients who leave rehab against medical advice (AMA) end up returning to drug or alcohol use because they are not ready to stay sober on their own. But how do you get people to stay in rehab?
One way to increase treatment retention and completion is by offering medication-assisted treatment. Research shows that MAT patients are less likely to leave rehab early and more likely to remain in treatment for the amount of time their therapist recommends. This may be because MAT reduces cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, which in turn reduces the temptation to use drugs or alcohol.
6. Better Treatment Outcomes with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
The goal of MAT is to enable patients to achieve full recovery. In addition to the benefits listed above, medication-assisted treatment has been clinically proven to:
- Improve patient survival after rehab
- Decrease illicit opiate use and number of drinking days
- Decrease criminal-related activity in people with substance use disorders
- Increase the ability to gain and maintain employment
- Reduce the rusk of contracting or transmitting HIV, hepatitis C, and other viral illnesses that may be passed via needle-sharing or unprotected sex
- Improve birth outcomes in women who are pregnant while struggling with a substance use disorder
Learn More About Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Options in Southern California
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a powerful tool that can be used to combat the opioid epidemic, reduce heavy drinking in people with alcohol use disorder, and help people who are struggling with addiction achieve a higher quality of life. While medications treat withdrawal symptoms and cravings, therapy and support groups can help you establish a foundation for your recovery.
To find out if you are eligible for MAT, speak with an admissions coordinator at Arise Treatment Center. Our team is dedicated to helping you find a Southern California treatment program that meets your needs and can set you up for long-term recovery. Call now to get started.