Medication Assisted Treatment: Everything You Need to Know About MAT
Are you considering medication assisted treatment for your addiction? Read on to learn everything you need to know about groundbreaking MAT therapy treatment options.
The most recent data reveals that in the U.S., almost 22 deaths per 100,000 people are from a drug overdose. That’s over 70,000 needless deaths per year!
Alcohol and opioid addiction combined costs the U.S. about $53 billion dollars a year. These costs are from lost work productivity, crime, and healthcare.
Addictions are often difficult to treat, but Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) offers hope in the treatment of addictions.
Are you considering MAT? Read on for everything you need to know before you choose MAT therapy.
Medication Assisted Treatment: What Is It?
As the name states, MAT is the use of medications in the treatment of alcohol and opioid abuse. You can’t take part in MAT treatment without meeting certain criteria.
Upon entering the Muse Los Angeles drug-treatment program, you’ll have an intake evaluation.
The doctor identifies and diagnoses your substance abuse disorder. She then evaluates the severity of the abuse and addiction. The doctor looks for any underlying physical and mental health issues.
You must have a diagnosed addiction to opioids or alcohol. You must also be good at following doctor’s orders to qualify as a candidate. You can’t have any underlying medical conditions that the medications could worsen.
You’re not a qualified candidate until informed of all other treatment options.
If you misused medication in the past you’re not a good candidate. Addiction to substances other than alcohol or opioids disqualifies you from MAT.
You must want sobriety. MAT treatment won’t work well if you don’t want release from your addiction.
Certain health conditions disqualify you from participation in MAT. Examples are a heart or lung condition.
But How Does It Work?
Why substitute one drug for another? Because there’s evidence that it’s an effective treatment for addiction.
Opioids cross the blood-brain barrier. They attach to brain-cell receptors and cause the user feelings of euphoria. This is the “high” of drug use.
Substituting a controlled opiate breaks the link between drug use and the “high” feelings. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings decrease. An addicted person can lead a normal life while on the substitute opioid.
There’s less chance of death by drug overdose with the prescription opioid because of the controlled dosage.
Street drugs like heroin are almost never pure. Drug dealers add fillers such as powdered milk and sugar to increase profits. A user never knows how much heroin they’re getting. This increases the chance of accidental overdose.
Doctors also prescribe opioid antagonists. These drugs prevent a drug user from feeling high after taking drugs.
Evidence shows that MAT programs are safe. They increase the length of sobriety as compared to users who aren’t in MAT.
MAT works best in conjunction with complementary therapies such as group and one-on-one therapy. MAT alone won’t result in long-term sobriety.
While the patient is on MAT, he’s able to work on his underlying issues without struggling through intense cravings.
What Are the Medications?
MAT only works for alcohol and opioid addiction. There are no FDA-approved drugs for other addictions.
There are many different medications used in our Muse Medication Assisted Treatment programs. A few of these are:
Opiate agonists produce opioid-like effects on the user, but it’s much longer acting and more controllable than opiate based street drugs, like heroin. Its effects are mild and don’t impair a person’s functional abilities.
A person on an opioid agonist can work and live an almost normal life. These opiate use disorder medications works well for someone addicted to heroin or other opioids like pain killers It’s a long-acting drug that prevents cravings and withdrawal symptoms for more than a day.
If you’re on an opiate agonist, consult a doctor before discontinuing the drug. Although mild, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop it cold turkey.
Some of the common side effects of opioid use disorder medications are:
- No appetite
- Dry mouth
- Sleep problems
- Reduced libido
The side effects of these FDA approved opioid agonists medications can be mild but not life-threatening.
Life-threatening side effects are seizures and difficulty breathing or swallowing. If that happens, call 911.
This drug discourages the use of alcohol. When on Disulfiram, consuming alcohol causes unpleasant side effects. These effects happen within 10 to 30 minutes after taking a drink.
The effects include but are not limited to:
- Blurry vision
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
The effects resolve after about one hour. The severity of the effects vary depending on the dose the patient is on and the amount of alcohol ingested.
Getting Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Do you or a loved one have alcohol or opioid addiction? Consider Medication Assisted Treatment. It’s an effective treatment with good long-term outcomes.
Medications help stop withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This helps patients focus on the underlying issues causing the addiction.
When an addict treats his underlying issues, long-term sobriety is easier to maintain.
Are you or a loved one ready for Medication Assisted Treatment? Take a look at our program here.