During addiction treatment, many people experience powerful cravings or withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to stay sober. This is because the chemistry of your brain actually changes during addiction. It can take some time for your brain and body to normalize. Our medication-assisted treatment program can help manage these issues and keep you on the road to recovery.
What is MAT?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of FDA-approved medication, along with behavioral therapy, to manage the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that come with substance use disorder. It’s primarily used for adult patients with opioid or alcohol addiction and can be used during residential or outpatient treatment. MAT can also be used as a maintenance tool during early recovery.
What do expect during MAT
If you are a good candidate for MAT, your therapist or primary care doctor can refer you to a board-certified addiction medicine doctor or nurse practitioner. He or she will review your current treatment plan, medical records, and recommend medication and timeline based on your needs.
Depending on the type of medication you are prescribed, you may receive your doses in our office or be given a prescription to take at home. You will be expected to see your provider regularly for follow-up appointments to make sure there are no issues with your medication. The length of time these medications are taken can vary from person to person.
How does MAT work?
The goal of MAT is to give you therapeutic tools needed and provide a safety net to help prevent relapse. Our addiction medicine providers have access to a variety of safe medications that can be added to your treatment plan. They all work in different ways to help support your recovery.
Common types of medication we offer include:
- Bupenorphine (Suboxone), which attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors to mimic the effect that opioids have but without the euphoria or high you would normally experience. This reduces withdrawal symptoms. It’s taken as a tablet or film, which you place under your tongue. Bupenorphine can be taken daily for up to six months.
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol), a non-addictive, opioid blocker that acts on the brain to stop the feel-good effects of opioids. It has also been shown to be effective for patients with alcohol use disorder as it prevents the feelings of intoxication. It’s given once per month by injection in our clinic.
- Disulfiram (Anabuse), is a deterrent used for those with alcohol use disorder. It prevents the body from breaking down alcohol, causing a toxic chemical to build-up resulting in headaches, nausea and vomiting. It is a pill taken daily for up to two weeks during early recovery.
- Acamprosate (Campral), is prescribed to help reduce the anxiety, insomnia, and emotional discomfort many people experience when they stop drinking. It is a pill that is taken daily for up to 12 months.