With new developments in medical research, different programs and treatments start to tend to specific groups of people in treatment and recovery. Recovering from addiction can be overwhelming and seem very broad. However, with new treatments rising with medical research, certain groups of people in recovery can be catered to in a more personal way. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is one of these treatments that can be incorporated into one’s treatment plan and recovery journey.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
MAT is a tool developed for those in need of additional support in their recovery journeys. This treatment uses physician-prescribed medication that acts as anti-craving medication. The medication is partnered with counseling and behavioral therapies. Some of these therapies may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Psychosocial treatment
- Mindfulness therapies
- Creative group therapies
- Motivational-based therapies
CBT, specifically, deals with understanding unhealthy habits or patterns that lead to self-destructive behavior, such as alcohol or drug abuse. A therapist works with the client, helping them understand their thought process better and develop healthier behaviors and beliefs. Part of the MAT program is to pair this restructuring with medication.
MAT works to decrease high cravings and provide a safe place to do so – in treatment with trained professionals and a stable support system. While working through both individual and group therapies, MAT is designed to help individuals find lasting recovery.
Using Medication-Assisted Treatment for a Whole-Person Approach
This combination of medication and therapy provides a whole-person approach to treatment and recovery. MAT is tailored to each person’s needs to “normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used.”
The medications used in MAT may be specific to alcohol use disorders (AUDs), individuals with opioid dependency, or those at risk of overdose. The goals of this treatment include:
- Client survival
- Increased retention in treatment
- Decrease illicit substance use and other criminal activity
- Increase an individual’s ability to gain and maintain employment
- Improve birth outcomes among people who have substance use disorders (SUDs) and are pregnant
While going through this treatment, the dosage of the medication decreases until the medication is no longer needed. These medications are FDA-approved, and the method of administration is federally regulated. The duration of MAT may be short. However, if needed, this program can be longer. A medical professional will determine the duration of MAT for each client for the best possible results.
Who Can Benefit From Medication-Assisted Treatment?
The clients who have MAT incorporated into their treatment plan at Roots Recovery are overseen by Dr. Dokukin. Dr. Dokukin is a triple-board certified addiction medicine and physical medicine physician. Medications are provided to those Dr. Dokukin believes need extra support.
After undergoing detox, if an individual is experiencing high cravings after being dependent on alcohol or opioids, they are likely to be put on this path. The primary goal of MAT is to avoid relapse and is a treatment plan put in place if Dr. Dokukin determines that a client’s high cravings are dangerous enough.
The Importance of Medication-Assisted Treatment in Recovery
MAT is important in the treatment and recovery process as it helps to prevent relapse. The goal is not only to maintain sobriety while actively in treatment but to sustain recovery afterward. If high cravings are risky for an individual, MAT works to keep them on track and reduce the cravings until that risk is lowered.
Preventing Relapse and Overdose
MAT helps decrease the risk of relapse, decreasing the risk of health issues or death once treatment is over. The days after detox is complete are the most dangerous for people in recovery, with many relapsing in this short period of time.
Relapse during this time is especially dangerous as a detox lowers an individual’s tolerance. If a client relapses, they often attempt to use the same amount they used before entering treatment. However, using the same amount after tolerance has decreased is more likely to lead to an overdose.
Preventing Infectious Diseases
MAT also decreases the transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. Decreasing the risk for other diseases alongside living a life of sobriety improves an individual’s health and quality of life.
The death rate of those with opioid use disorder has been reduced by 50% or more by implementing MAT into their treatment plan. Specifically, with opioid usage, MAT blocks the euphoric effects of the drug, relieves cravings, stabilizes brain chemistry, and normalizes physical functions without withdrawal effects.
Medication-Assisted Treatment at Roots Recovery
Roots Recovery uses MAT to encourage clients to maintain a sober and healthy life. Likewise, MAT works cohesively with the whole-person approach Roots Recovery’s professionals implement into client programs. Longevity, sobriety, and healthy living are the ultimate goals at Roots, which MAT helps assist.
Here at Roots Recovery, we offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for clients at high risk for drug or alcohol relapse. This treatment plan is implemented by Dr. Dokukin, who examines each high-risk client and determines whether MAT is suitable for them. Once this is determined, the duration, drug, and dosage are confirmed. MAT works to decrease high cravings among those who recently finished detox. After an individual’s detox, they may feel the need to use alcohol or drugs again, leading to overdoses, health issues, and even death. MAT works to subside these cravings until they no longer exist, improving the longevity of a client’s sober life. To learn more about MAT, call Roots Recovery today at (562) 473-0827.