What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a common way of treating substance abuse disorders, especially opioid addictions.  It combines the use of medications and behavioral therapies, and when strategically implemented and subsequently supervised by a qualified substance abuse therapist, can have remarkably positive results.

MAT is not the only option for treating substance abuse disorders.  And it would be inappropriate to suggest that MAT works all on it’s own.  Rather, it is an assistive therapy that, when working in conjunction with other effective treatments, often plays a role in long-term sobriety.  MAT doesn’t “cure” a person’s addiction, but improves the odds of recovery when combined with counseling, therapy, familial support and long-term after-care.

How Does MAT Help?

The challenge with opioid addiction comes when people abruptly stop taking the drugs; the withdrawal symptoms become so painful that many start taking them again.  Medication-Assisted Treatment works to minimize uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms using an opioid replacement medication.

There are several types of medications that qualify as MATs.  They all address the cravings for the opioid in the early stages of recovery.  They are designed to then provide a slow weaning of the drug so that the addict can adjust to abstinence.

When a physician with a therapeutic background couples MAT with qualified supervision, people stand a much better chance of navigating the cravings, triggers and stressors that typically lead to relapse.

Duration of Use

There is no cookie-cutter approach to the use of Medication-Assisted Therapy.  The individual addict’s specific circumstances, along with his or her therapeutic team’s input greatly determine the length of MAT usage.  Once the most intense cravings for opioid use subside, the physician may opt to implement a tapering of the dosage across a specific timeline.  The goal is to eventually wean the addict off of the opioids, and replace the negative behaviors with positive, healthy ones.

Here at A New Outlook Counseling Services, we stand ready, willing and able to work with your physician to achieve positive results for your future.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy that will make your transition to sobriety much more likely to be long-term. A New Outlook Counseling Services has 4 locations in the Denver metro area to serve all of your therapy needs. Feel free to contact us here A New Outlook Counseling Services.

Next Article: MAT: Which Medications Work Best?

Resources:

https://www.recovery.org/topics/medication-assisted-treatment/

https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/mat/

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