Addiction and alcoholism can be fatal and progressive diseases of the body, mind, and spirit. For full recovery, they require a holistic approach. The FDA approved several medications to treat opioid and alcohol abuse disorders. Behavioral therapy and peer support groups are important components of the recovery process. When combined with counseling and behavioral therapy, these medications can aid patients in their recovery. This method of substance abuse rehabilitation is known as medication-assisted therapy (MAT). Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is the gold standard for addiction treatment.
What Is Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)?
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as “the use, in combination, with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment and prevention of substance abuse disorders.” This is especially true for people with addictions to opioids or alcohol dependence.
Some of the most common medications for addiction programs are:
Treatments For Alcohol Use Disorder
- Acamprosate (Campral)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse).
- Naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol).
Opioid Disorder Medication
- Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex, Sublocade)
These medications can reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol, restore brain chemistry, normalize body functions, and block the euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol. Counseling and behavioral therapies can help patients cope with difficult emotions and make lifestyle changes to prevent relapse.
Benefits Of A Medication-Assisted Method
MAT is a clinically proven and evidence-based treatment that offers a more personalized and comprehensive approach to individual patients. By combining MAT with lifestyle and behavioral therapy, patients can stay sober and avoid the negative consequences of substance abuse. This approach has many benefits:
Reduction In Alcohol And Drug Cravings, Assimilation Symptoms
You can take medication during detox or treatment to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone or Suboxone can be taken within 12 hours of the last opioid dose. They can relieve withdrawal symptoms and help restore normal body functions. Some people may continue these medications after detox to reduce cravings.
Individuals can focus on recovery and treatment plans when they’re not distracted by cravings or withdrawals. They are less likely to relapse.
Patients Survival And Treatment Retention Are Both Increased
Patients who don’t feel overwhelmed by drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms will feel more at ease. Patients who feel more comfortable and well are more likely to remain in treatment, finish their program, and keep sober after rehabilitation. A patient who is sober and healthy is more likely to avoid an overdose or other long-term effects of substance abuse.
Higher Birth Outcomes In Pregnant Women Who Are Addicted To Substances
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) may be developed in newborns of mothers who were addicted to opioids during pregnancy. NAS can cause severe withdrawal symptoms in newborns. Mothers who stop taking opioids during pregnancy can experience fetal distress, premature labor, and miscarriage. MAT programs are available to improve the birth outcomes of babies born to opioid-addicted moms. Pregnant women may be given medications like buprenorphine and methadone to help them wean off opioids and improve their maternal health.
Increased Ability To Find Work And Keep A Job
People who receive treatment and remain sober can integrate into society as productive, independent individuals. They aren’t dependent on drugs or affected by the effects of substance abuse. They are, therefore, able to find and keep jobs more easily. It can be difficult to keep a job while struggling with addiction. However, MAT programs encourage holistic recovery that allows individuals to achieve success in recovery.
Lower Rates Of Criminal Or Risky Behavior
Addiction can be a deadly disease that can lead people to participate in dangerous behaviors they wouldn’t normally do. People might drive drunk, steal from their loved ones, engage in unprotected sexual activity, or share needles with others. These dangerous behaviors can have serious legal and physical consequences. MAT can improve recovery rates and decrease relapse rates, reducing criminal or risky behavior. Combining medications with therapies can lower a person’s chances of contracting hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.