What Is Medication Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse?

Medication assisted treatment, also known as MAT, is a recovery program that uses medication and counseling to break the cycle of addiction. It is used to treat substance abuse disorders related to alcohol, opioids or other drugs.

How Does MAT treatment work?

Depending on the addiction a client is suffering from, various medications are used to help wean them off the illicit drug, prescription medication or alcohol. Our Medical Director (a certified addictionologist) monitors each client to help them safely and more comfortably end their dependence on the addictive substance. Some common medications include:

  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone)
  • Naltrexone
  • Vivitrol
  • Campral

Each of these has its own benefits. For example, some opiate-based treatment drugs bind to opioid receptors but do not have the same euphoric effects or “high” of a street drug. Treatment drugs such as Campral ease the craving for alcohol, making it easier to control the urge to drink.

MAT treatment is most commonly used for those addicted to opioids. It provides a “whole-patient” approach that treats substance abuse by reducing or eliminating withdrawal, weaning the patient off the drug and using counseling and behavioral therapies to boost self-esteem and teach appropriate coping skills. Research has shown that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat addiction and help sustain recovery in the long-term.

Does MAT Just Replace One Drug for Another?

It’s a common misconception that MAT replaces one abused substance with another drug. Instead, the goal is to use medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms and the psychological cravings that people struggle with. The program provides controlled, safe doses of medications to overcome substance abuse. At the correct dose, there is no risk of adverse effects linked to the patient’s mental capability, employability, intelligence or physical functioning.

Do MAT Clients Have to Receive Behavioral Therapy or Counseling?

Under federal law, MAT patients must receive counseling (which may include behavioral therapy). Additional services may also include:

  • Medical treatments
  • Medical assessments
  • Vocational support
  • Educational support

Is MAT Treatment Effective?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) agrees that MAT treatment:

  • Improves patient survival
  • Decreases illicit opiate use and criminal activity associated with substance abuse
  • Increases clients’ ability to get and keep employment
  • Improves birth outcomes for women addicted to substances during pregnancy
  • Increases retention in treatment

This treatment is considered one of the most effective methods, particularly among patients addicted to opioids.

Call Serene Beginnings to Start Medication Assisted Treatment

Everyone struggles in life, but if your struggles have turned into substance abuse, you may not know where to turn. At Serene Beginnings, we are here to help. We offer medication assisted treatment so you don’t have to struggle through withdrawal or the ill effects of substance abuse any longer. We would love to talk to you more about our program and how it can help. Call us today at 855-947-0552 to speak with one of our qualified substance abuse counselors.