what you can expect from medication assisted treatment

What You Can Expect from Medication Assisted Treatment?

So, you have decided to get help for substance use disorder. Or perhaps someone you love and hold dear is going through a difficult time because of substance use, and you wish to help them. Whatever the case, it is essential to analyze which treatment program is best for you. Today, many options are available for the treatment and recovery of a substance use disorder, and it is essential to learn as much as possible about them before deciding which one to opt for.

In case you are considering Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) continue reading to understand what the treatment involves and what you can expect from medication assisted treatment.

What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication Assisted Treatment is for people who have Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). It is a part of an elaborate plan to help the individual work on managing their addiction by controlling cravings and preventing withdrawal symptoms and relapse. This is done by administrating controlled medication that the FDA approves.

The treatment program works along with counseling and therapy in order to work on the individual’s complete recovery and help the body and mind return to their natural state.

Furthermore, healthcare professionals understand the sensitivity of opioid dependency and prescribe medicines that will work best for their condition. They also know that not everyone can be treated the same way, which is why evaluation is a crucial step. Once all the necessary information has been collected, the professionals will develop a treatment plan which will fit your needs.

Is MAT Effective?

How well a treatment works depends on the following factors:

  • How long did the substance use last?
  • Which drugs were being used?
  • Is the individual getting treatment willingly?
  • Which medication is being used to control relapse?

Some individuals have been involved in substance use for decades. In such cases, the chemicals in the brain are entirely out of balance, and recovery depends on the inner strength they possess to overcome this difficult challenge in their life.

The healthcare professionals use controlled medication, which means every drug they choose to give the individual must only be a certain amount and should not exceed this limit. In addition, the treatment includes much more than medication. It involves further evaluations, therapies, and counseling in order to bring the individual’s mind gently towards recovery while also focusing on eliminating the underlying reason for substance dependency.  

This is also why Medication Assisted Treatment is an effective treatment program. It doesn’t just focus on controlling withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and restoring balance. In fact, it also deals in finding the root cause and working on the psychological aspects along with the physical ones in order to prevent relapse and ensure complete recovery.  

Which Medication Is Used During Medication Assisted Treatment?

Following are some medications that FDA has approved for this treatment program:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Methadone
  • Disulfiram

Medications for AUD

Healthcare professionals typically use the following drugs for the treatment of AUD:

  • Acamprosate
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram

These drugs help the individual by managing their withdrawal symptoms and preventing relapse. In fact, Disulfiram is reported to have a highly unpleasant reaction after the smallest amount of alcohol consumption. Hence, individuals stay away from alcohol which helps prevent relapse and works very well for their progress.

Consuming alcohol while taking Disulfiram can cause the following side effects to appear:

  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache

Additionally, Naltrexone keeps the individuals getting treatment free from feeling the withdrawal symptoms. At times, these symptoms can be nasty and stop individuals from leading a regular life. People who are prescribed Naltrexone for alcohol dependency do not suffer from trouble sleeping, restlessness, and mood swings.

Medication for OUD

Typically, healthcare professionals prescribe the following FDA-approved drugs to treat opioid use disorder:

  • Naltrexone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone

Naltrexone is prescribed for the same reason it is prescribed for AUD. It helps eliminate the urge to try opioids again. The unpleasant reaction it induces makes opioid consumption less pleasurable, and people find it better to avoid drinking or taking opioids because it messes with their heads, and the high they get from it is lost.

However, your healthcare professional will help you get off opioids first before they prescribe you the drug. It does not work the same way if you haven’t stopped using opioids.

On the other hand, Buprenorphine helps individuals manage their withdrawal symptoms. It also controls and prevents the effects of opioids. Furthermore, it has proven to be quite effective in the case of OUD-based medication-assisted treatment.

Similarly, Methadone is another drug prescribed for managing withdrawal symptoms. However, even though Methadone has been approved by the FDA, it can be addictive for some individuals.  

What to Expect from Medication Assisted Treatment?

The most important thing to remember is that MAT is a part of a treatment plan. If you are choosing to go for MAT, you must also go through the initial steps for cleansing or detox. This will help cleanse your body of the unwanted drug or alcohol, and then you can proceed toward MAT.

Furthermore, your clinic might keep you under observation for the initial few days in order to manage your withdrawal symptoms and administer the drugs in a controlled environment. Later, when they feel you have progressed, you can recover at home with continuous counseling and therapy in order to maintain the progress.

Your healthcare professionals may also suggest joining therapy groups and AA groups to ensure accountability and that you are surrounded by supportive and like-minded people who share your experiences.

The Final Takeaway

MAT is a whole-body treatment that will focus on all the physical and psychological needs of a person. If you are wondering what you can expect from Medication Assisted Treatment, the answer is simple.

You can expect support and recovery through a complete treatment that can treat you to a great extent for your substance use disorder. However, you must remember that at the end of the day, the ball is in your court, and you are in control of your life.

So, take the reins and guide it towards recovery and a better life for you and your loved ones.