What is Medication Assisted Treatment?
After years of depending on a substance like alcohol or heroin it can be difficult to overcome the intense cravings of wanting to use. Even worse, if that person does stop abruptly, they are plagued with withdrawals. The fear of withdrawing from alcohol, heroin, or any addictive substance can be enough to resist treatment. They may feel stuck in their addiction with the constant fear of cravings and withdrawals keeping them in this life destroying cycle.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) can be utilized to help a person keep those cravings and withdrawals at bay. MAT is the use of medications, counseling and behavioral therapies to gradually recover from years of substance abuse. Research depicts that medication-assisted treatment improves the overall quality of life for those who are recovering from substance abuse:
In a study of 933 heroin-dependent patients in methadone maintenance treatment programs there were decreases in narcotic abuse, arrests, criminal activity, and drug soliciting (Powers and Anglin, 1993).
In a 2.5-year follow up study of 150 opiate-dependent patients, methadone maintenance treatment resulted in some substantial improvements in medical, social, psychological, legal, and employment problems (Kosten, Rounsaville, and Kleber, 1987).
A systematic review conducted on 28 studies involving 7,900 patients has demonstrated significant reductions in HIV risk behaviors in patients receiving methadone maintenance (Gowing, Farrell, Bornemann, et al., 2004).
These are just a few examples of how properly administered medication-assisted treatment could positively influence someone who is recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. Medication-assisted treatment is mainly utilized for opiate abuse and alcoholism.
MAT medications are taken to normalize brain chemistry, relieve intense cravings, block the high/euphoric feelings of opiates and alcohol, and normalize body functions. Medications used in medication-assisted treatment must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Opioid Dependency Medication-Assisted Treatment Medication
According to the results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated of 2 million people in the United States are addicted to or dependent on opiate-based substances. Withdrawals from these substances are so intense that they continue abusing these substances to avoid the withdrawal side effects. Common MAT medications for opiate dependency are:
Methadone is an opiate that has been utilized to treat opioid addiction since the 1950s. Patients who make the decision to use Methadone for MAT must go through a reviewing process from a treatment team. The dosage is individually craft based on that reviewing process and requires the patient to visit the methadone clinic daily for their regulated dosage. This medication reduces their withdrawal symptoms and cravings to achieve a normal regulated brain function.
Like other opioids, Methadone is addictive and can be abused if not properly monitored and administered.
Like Methadone, Buprenorphine reduces cravings for the abused substance. This MAT medication is the first to treat opioid dependency that can be prescribed or dispensed in a doctor’s office. Buprenorphine is long acting as compared to Methadone. This means that the patient can visit the clinic every other day rather than once a day.
Naloxone is a MAT medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent overdose by opiates such as heroin and oxycodone. Naltrexone effects the body differently than Buprenorphine and Methadone. If a person using naltrexone and experiences a relapse, blocks opioid receptor sites preventing the sedative or euphoric effects of that substance. This in itself deter people from relapsing knowing that they will not get the high they are chasing.
Who is Most Likely to Visit a Methadone Clinic?
Opiate-based substances corrupt the mind and leave a long-lasting impression on a patient’s life. After years of abusing an opioid, patients fear the intense cravings and withdrawals commonly associated with this substance. Those who identify the cravings as a choke point for their sobriety consider medication-assisted treatment because they honestly want to live a life without substance abuse.
Because SMC Methadone Clinic is strict on their initial screenings and daily regulations. We provide a structured routine that compliments a patient’s normal traditional recovery activities of IOP, meetings, and relapse prevention sessions.
Methadone has been utilized since the 1950s to treat people who are addicted to opioids and opiate-based pain medicines. SMC is dedicated to our strict routine and regulations. When methadone is properly prescribed and monitored, it is safe and effective.
The Powers and Anglin 1993 research study suggested that rates of criminal activity, drug soliciting, and arrests decreased during methadone maintenance treatment when compared with addicts not in treatment.
Those who make time for regular SMC clinic visits for daily doses of methadone also participate in recovery-based practices like support group meetings, inpatient treatment methods and/or IOP services. These patients utilize this medication to function normally free of persistent cravings and life debilitating withdrawals.
Yes, Methadone can be addictive, but those who take Methadone for MAT decide that this regular visit to SMC clinic is beneficial to their life in recovery, respect the strict regulation and take the preventative steps needed when it comes to any MAT plan.