Medication assisted treatment programs have been used for several decades.

What is MAT in Substance Abuse Treatment

Individuals seeking help for substance abuse issues can turn to different types of treatment. One of the most popular forms of treatment offered today is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). MAT is believed to help with both addiction treatment as well as assist with the patient’s long-term recovery.

Let’s examine the history of this practice, what it includes, and whether it is the right choice for you.

What is MAT in Substance Abuse Treatment?

So what is MAT in substance abuse treatment? Medication-Assisted Treatment is defined as a substance abuse treatment that includes the use of medication alongside behavioral therapy and counseling. This treatment method is effective for treating addiction to prescription painkillers and opioids.

History of MAT

In the United States, MAT is believed to date back to the 1920s. This treatment tyle emerged following Congress’s decision to allocate funds to establish two treatment facilities to combat the illicit opioids crisis of the 1920s.

Two facilities in particular were at the forefront of early MAT. The first was a treatment center in Fort Worth, Texas. The other was in Lexington, Kentucky.  Both facilities offered medical, social, psychological, and psychiatric services for patients who entered the program voluntarily.

The default length of the treatment program was six months. However, patients were allowed to stay for up to ten years.

MAT treatment continued for many decades and entered its current form in the mid-2010s. In 2016 President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act which allowed licensed physicians to prescribe medications for use in MAT. This freedom was further expanded when the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act was passed in 2018.

MAT has since risen to become the gold standard in treatment of opioid addictions.

What Does MAT Include?

MAT programs vary depending on the treatment provider as well as the type of addiction being treated. Some of the treatment methods commonly found in each program include:

Prescription Medications

Prescription medications play a key role in assisting patients during their MAT program. These medications help normalize the patient’s brain chemistry, relieve physical cravings, normalize body behavior, and block the euphoric effects associated with opioid and alcohol consumption.

Some of the common prescription medications used for different types of substance additions are:

Alcohol Use Disorder Medications

Naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate are frequently used to help patients with alcohol use disorders. Naltrexone blocks μopioid receptors which are believed to reduce alcohol’s reinforcing effects. Patients given this medication report having fewer cravings and experience less intoxication.

Disulfiram produces unpleasant side effects for patients who consume alcohol after it has been administered. This includes nausea, flushing headaches, and vomiting.

Acamprosate blocks glutaminergicN-methyl-D’Aspartate receptors and activates the body’s 3-aminobutyric acid type A receptors. Studies have found that this medication helps reduce relapse rates for patients recovering from alcohol dependence.

Opioid Use Disorder Medications

Naltrexone, Methadone, and Buprenorphine are frequently used to help patients recovering from disorders involving opioids. They are believed to help with both short-acting opioids including codeine, morphine, and heroin. They may also help patients with disorders linked to semi-synthetic opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Naltrexone is an opioid receptor agonist that limits the effects of opioids and reduces cravings. Methodrone is a full opioid receptor agonist that prevents withdrawal, blunts the effects of opioids, and reduces cravings.

Buprenorphine is a partial agonist that minimizes the euphoria, sedation, and respiratory depression patients experience from opioid consumption.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are typically used in conjunction with medications in MAT programs. This includes. This includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps prevent relapse during treatment for opioid and alcohol use disorders. CBT programs work on the assumption that learning processes play a key role in the development of substance abuse problems. This treatment route attempts to correct such behaviors using various skills.

A core component of CBT is anticipating the issues patients experience during substance abuse treatment and improving their self-control with the help of coping strategies. This treatment also teaches patients how to recognize the signs of cravings early and understand situations that may put them at risk or relapsing.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy is an intervention method that aims to improve the patient’s psychological flexibility. Its goal is to help patients learn to confront the present moment and alter their actions to achieve a specific effect, such as avoiding a relapse.

The Acceptance component of this therapy teaches individuals experiencing problems to reflect on them without feeling guilty or anxious. The Cognitive Diffusion component of this therapy teaches patients to experience negative emotions and thoughts without fixating on them. The Mindfulness aspect helps patients become more aware of their negative feelings without feeling judgmental towards themselves.

Lastly, the commitment aspect of this therapy helps patients achieve long-term goals while concentrating on values that help them improve.

Is MAT Effective?

MAT has been shown to be highly effective in treating opioid and alcohol use disorders. One study found that a significant percentage of patients reported using less heroin, opioids, or alcohol in the six months following their treatment. They also reported decreased symptoms such as pain, worry, depression, and anxiety. Based on this evidence, it can be said that most patients find success using MAT programs.

Why Choose MAT Texas?

If you are interested in starting MAT to help you overcome opioid use disorders, please reach out to MAT Texas. Our state-of-the art facility employs experienced medical staff with a deep understanding of such disorders.

Allow us to help you recover and take back control of your life under the supervision and guidance of compassionate experts. Take your first step towards a brighter and healthier future by signing up for our treatment program at MAT Texas.