MAT for Opioid Use Disorder: A Path to Healing
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a proven approach for treating opioid use disorder (OUD). MAT combines medication with counseling and behavioral interventions.
Medications used in MAT help reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and the risk of relapse. Alongside medication, counseling and therapy sessions provide support, education, and strategies to address the underlying causes of addiction.
For those facing the challenges of OUD, MAT offers a transformative journey toward recovery and the promise of a brighter future.
In recent years, the opioid crisis has been a severe health issue in the US, and MAT is one of the proven methods to deal with it. Here is more about MAT:
- MAT combines specific medications and behavioral therapy to address addiction’s physical and psychological aspects.
- FDA-approved medications used in MAT include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- MAT also yields better outcomes in managing co-occurring mental health disorders often accompanying OUD.
- MAT is highly effective, with studies showing that it can cut the risk of overdose death by half or more.
Don’t let opioid addiction hold you back. At The Recovery Team, we’re ready to stand with you in your journey to recovery. Contact us today at (800) 817-1247 for more information!
Understanding the Opioid Crisis
The opioid crisis is a severe health problem in the United States. It involves widespread misuse of opioid drugs, including heroin, prescription opioids, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
This crisis started in the late 1990s when health providers began prescribing opioid pain relievers more frequently, believing they were safe. Unfortunately, these medications were highly addictive.
Over time, misuse of these drugs has led to numerous overdose deaths. In 2020, every day, an average of 44 Americans died from an opioid overdose, totaling more than 16,000 deaths.
It’s a health crisis and an economic burden, costing the US billions annually in healthcare, lost productivity, substance use disorder treatment, and criminal justice involvement.
Remember, resources like medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be a life-saving step toward recovery. More awareness about the risks of opioid misuse and access to treatment are key steps to tackling this devastating opioid epidemic.
Medications for OUD: A Pillar in the Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a powerful tool in the fight against opioid use disorder (OUD). This treatment approach uses different medicines to help people overcome their addictions.
Let’s delve deeper into the four primary drugs utilized in MAT:
Methadone: A long-acting opioid that’s been used for decades to treat OUD. It reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms, letting people feel normal and function well in their daily lives. But it’s not a cure-all. It must be used under careful medical supervision because, if misused, it can lead to addiction itself.
Buprenorphine: A partial agonist that helps people with OUD. It also minimizes withdrawal symptoms and cravings, like methadone. But, it has a “ceiling effect.” This means after a certain point, taking more of it won’t increase its effects. This reduces the chances of developing dependency, decreasing the risk of substance abuse.”
Naltrexone: Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, which act like opioids, naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids. If someone tries to use an opioid while on naltrexone, they won’t get the usual high. This can be a strong deterrent, helping prevent relapses.
Naloxone: An emergency medication used to reverse opioid overdoses. If someone overdoses on an opioid, naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing and save their life. Some people receiving MAT also carry naloxone as a safety measure in case of accidental overdose.
Remember, these medicines are only available with a prescription, and their use should always be under the direction of a healthcare provider. Alongside benefits, they can also result in side effects. They may have negative interactions with other drugs, so it’s essential to use them responsibly.
While the use of medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can make a big difference in treating OUD, they work best in combination with other therapies and support systems.
How MAT Works for OUD: Unveiling the Process
MAT is an effective and comprehensive approach to treating OUD. It provides individuals the support they need to break free from addiction and achieve lasting recovery.
MAT works through several key mechanisms, including:
Combining Medications and Behavioral Therapy
MAT uses a combination of medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, and behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, and motivational interviewing (MI).
The medications help manage the physical part of addiction. Meanwhile, behavioral therapy addresses the emotional and psychological parts of addiction.
Medications address the body’s chemical imbalances and curb cravings. Therapists work with patients to understand the root causes of their addiction. They also help develop coping strategies to avoid future drug use.
Suppressing Opioid Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms
MAT works by suppressing opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. When people stop taking opioids, they can suffer from withdrawal. This can cause symptoms like pain, nausea, and anxiety.
But MAT medications can help reduce these symptoms. They ease the body’s dependence on opioids, making it easier to stop using them. This combination of drugs and therapy increases the chances of long-term recovery.
Blocking the Effects of Opioids
MAT can block the effects of opioids. This means that even if a person relapses and takes an opioid, they won’t feel the usual high. It takes away the reward of drug use, making it less appealing to relapse.
Managing Co-Occurring Disorders
Lastly, MAT helps in managing co-occurring disorders. Many people with OUD also have other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. These conditions can make a recovery from OUD more difficult.
But MAT can also help manage these co-occurring disorders. The combination of medication and therapy can address both OUD and other mental health conditions at the same time. This comprehensive approach increases the chances of successful recovery.
MAT Success Rate for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has shown high success rates in helping people with opioid addiction. Studies show that MAT can reduce overdose death risk by half or more. It also increases the chances that a person will stay in treatment, which is crucial for long-term recovery.
When MAT is combined with counseling, the success rate rises even higher. Therapy helps address the root causes of addiction and teaches strategies for avoiding drug use. This combination of medicine and counseling ensures that addiction’s physical and mental aspects are addressed.
However, success doesn’t mean a quick fix. OUD is a chronic disease, much like diabetes or hypertension. So, it requires long-term management. MAT isn’t about replacing one drug with another. It’s about managing a medical condition and helping individuals lead healthy, fulfilling lives.