Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, utilizes FDA-approved medications in combination with therapy to treat substance use disorders such as opioid addiction to reduce the risk of relapse and help manage and maintain recovery.
MAT significantly reduces the risk of relapse and opioid overdose deaths. In fact, the risk of relapse for someone with an opioid use disorder after detox only is 70%; heroin is 91%. MAT drastically reduces that risk.
Medication-assisted treatment is an important part of our treatment toolkit and patient-centered treatment plans as it reduces cravings, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms, and post-acute withdrawal syndrome. This can recur up to a year after treatment, and interfere with an individual’s ability to continue or engage in other therapies. The use of medications to help manage these physical issues allows the individual to focus their attention on their psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs through therapy, group meetings, and recovery support groups.
At Caron MAT is used in combination with interdisciplinary interventions, including evidence-based therapies like dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We also assess each patient for mental health issues so that we can address them, as well as other healthcare needs that may come up in the assessment process, such as chronic pain.
Caron uses MAT because it is well-researched and evidence-based and backed by all major medical associations for use in substance use disorder treatment. The medications we use in medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have been clinically proven to make both inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment safer and more successful.
What Types of Addiction Benefit Most From MAT?
Medication-assisted treatment is mostly used to treat addiction to opiates like heroin and painkillers like oxycodone or hydrocodone. Combining MAT with other treatment options such as counseling and behavior modification therapies can help people safely taper their opioid dependence, stabilize their systems, and engage in their disease management plan to maintain recovery.
MAT can also reduce the discomfort of medical detox. As with the treatment used by our healthcare providers in our treatment facilities and in our Opioid Program, medication-assisted treatment is used in detox for those whom it is medically necessary to help stabilize their systems and safely withdraw.
To help an individual begin a sustained recovery, treatment must include a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach such as the treatment services we provide at Caron in our MAT program.
Do we let patients continue MAT throughout treatment?
Medications Used in Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs
The medications used in MAT help with treatment in a number of ways. Some of the medications Caron uses include:
Buprenorphine, an opioid medication that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms in a person with an opioid use disorder and can be tolerated relatively well by most people.
Vivitrol® or naltrexone, which blocks opioids and alcohol from producing euphoric effects. Vivitrol should only be taken under the guidance of a licensed and experienced medical addiction treatment provider.
Suboxone, which combines buprenorphine and naloxone, prevents cravings and helps people to get treatment and move into recovery. Like buprenorphine, it is also noted by NIDA as an effective medication to treat opioid use disorder.
As a part of the treatment of opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder, patients have the choice to continue with medication-assisted treatment for maintenance. Caron offers medication-assisted treatment in both our inpatient and outpatient opioid treatment programs as well as in medical detoxification.