Millions of people in the United States live with an addiction to opioids, including heroin. Without getting the treatment they need, many people with heroin addiction will face serious, sometimes life-threatening consequences to their physical and mental health and their ability to function in every aspect of their lives. Many also experience life-changing legal or financial difficulties or severe health complications, including deadly overdose.
Heroin addiction is a complicated condition impacting every aspect of a person’s life. For this reason, people with heroin addiction must get comprehensive treatment to address the physical, psychological, and behavioral roots of their substance abuse.
Treating only the physical or behavioral components of heroin addiction isn’t enough to help people overcome this condition. Every aspect of a person’s addiction must be treated to give them the best chance at putting heroin addiction in the past.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in California offers comprehensive support and care for people with heroin addiction and allows them to overcome the condition and live a healthy, sober lifestyle.
This article will explore how medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can treat heroin addiction and how to find high-quality treatment options. Contact the Arise Treatment Center specialists to learn more about our comprehensive MAT programs.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a form of addiction treatment that uses medications to relieve discomfort and reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol. It is often used in heroin addiction.
In a typical California MAT program, people receive a combination of treatments and therapies that work together to address the complexities of heroin addiction. These include:
- Substance abuse assessment and evaluation
- Individual counseling
- Medically-supervised detox
- Medication management
Many treatment programs also include group therapy, relapse-prevention education, and family therapy, and some offer holistic therapies like massage, yoga, and nutrition support.
Some MAT programs in California offer outpatient detox and addiction treatment, and some require an inpatient stay. Medication-assisted treatment is a valuable tool that addiction specialists and doctors can use to increase their patients’ likelihood of achieving and maintaining long-term sobriety.
What Medications Are Used During Medication-Assisted Treatment for Heroin Addiction in California?
Specific medications are used during treatment for different types of addictions. No medications can “cure” an addiction, but the medications used can provide effective relief from withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Simply put, MAT medications can make people more comfortable and make it easier to avoid relapse.
Common medications used in MAT for heroin addiction include:
People can safely take these medications for long periods, including lifelong use. They are a valuable tool people can use to help them maintain long-term sobriety.
Naloxone is a medication that can be administered to people suspected of having an opioid overdose. While it is not used during MAT for heroin addiction, it can reverse the life-threatening effects of heroin during an overdose.
What are the Goals of MAT?
The goals of medication-assisted treatment for heroin addiction include:
- To help people reduce symptoms of withdrawal
- To reduce the intensity and frequency of cravings
- To allow people to overcome addiction through holistic care
Medication-assisted treatment provides whole-person treatment that aims to address the complex roots of heroin addiction. Complete, lifelong recovery from addiction is the goal for each person, no matter the intensity or length of their substance misuse.
While the overall goal of MAT for heroin addiction is lifelong recovery, that goal includes several measurable outcomes, including:
- Decrease illicit activity related to opioid use
- Reduce the risk of death
- Increase motivation to stay active in recovery
- Improve people’s ability to find and maintain employment
- Reduce pregnancy and birth complications in pregnant people with heroin
Medication-assisted treatment has been proven to improve a patient’s short and long-term success in treatment. This means better short-term experiences and increased chances of lifelong success in recovery.
Is MAT Effective at Treating Heroin Addiction?
Research into medication-assisted treatment’s effectiveness has been promising. First, people who participate in MAT are more likely to achieve and maintain sobriety than those who use other treatment types, especially those with opioid addiction.
Addiction experts believe medication-assisted treatment works so well because it addresses multiple aspects of heroin addiction instead of focusing only on its physical aspects. Medication-assisted treatment can make people more comfortable during the early stages of recovery, increasing motivation to continue in treatment.
People participating in MAT for heroin addiction have also reduced their risky behaviors like needle-sharing, which reduces the risk of exposure to HIV and Hepatitis C. It also decreases the risk of overdose for people with heroin addiction.
For people living with heroin addiction, medication-assisted treatment offers the best chance to overcome addiction.
Find a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program for Heroin Addiction in California
If you or someone you love require addiction treatment or support during addiction recovery, reach out to the Arise Treatment Center specialists. We offer comprehensive heroin addiction treatment programs to help you overcome addiction and live the healthy, sober life you choose.