In the United States alone there are more than 21 million people in need of treatment for a substance use disorder, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Of these millions, only 10% received treatment.
Many of these people will benefit from medically-assisted treatment (MAT) in order to achieve success in recovery from drugs or alcohol addiction.
How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?
Medically-assisted treatment or MAT is the use of medications along with therapy in the treatment of substance use disorders. MAT programs have been proven to be particularly effective in treating both alcohol and opioid addiction.
Sadly, there is a limited availability of MAT programs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) less than half of privately funded rehabs offer medically assisted treatment for clients.
If you or someone you love is living with a substance use disorder, The Core Centers in Florida can help. The Core Centers offers help, hope, and has a variety of treatment options including MAT. Working closely with you during an assessment, the caring staff will craft a recovery plan to meet your unique recovery needs.
Medication-assisted treatment programs are proven to increase success rates in recovery. In fact, according to NIDA clients treated with medications were more likely to remain in therapy than those who were not treated with medications. This is especially true for anyone with opioid addiction.
When are Medications Used?
Medications in substance use disorder treatments are often started in the detox phase of treatment. The use of medications in detox helps to suppress difficult withdrawal symptoms increasing your chances of getting through this often challenging first step of treatment. This is just one reason it is not suggested to try to detox from drugs or alcohol on your own. Not only can the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms lead to relapse but some of these symptoms can be life-threatening. It is strongly suggested that you detox in a facility with medical professionals that utilizes MAT.
After you successfully get through detox, many times medications will be used along with therapy as part of your treatment plan.
Most commonly used for alcohol and opioid dependencies, there are a variety of medications to help ease cravings and deter relapse.
Medications Commonly Used
There are several medications approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for substance use disorder treatment. Most of these are for the treatment of alcohol or opioid dependencies.
Medications Commonly Used for Opioid Addiction Treatment:
- Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex®, Probuphine® , Sublocade™)
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol®)
The medications buprenorphine and methadone, which target the same areas of the brain as heroin and morphine, help to suppress cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone can only be used once detox is successfully completed. After full detoxification, this medication helps to reduce drug seeking and related criminal activities as well as aids in open-mindedness towards therapy.
Medications Commonly Used for Alcohol Addiction Treatment:
- Acamprosate (Campral®)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse®)
Each of these medications works in different ways to help with alcohol abuse treatment. From decreasing cravings and withdrawal symptoms to interfering with alcohol’s reaction in the body, each can play an important role in MAT.
Medications for Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues
There are a large number of people suffering from substance use disorders who have a co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported 7.9 million Americans experienced both a substance abuse issue and mental health problem.
Medications are often needed to effectively treat these conditions and stabilize any mental health issues. If you or your loved one has a co-occurring mental health issue, also referred to as a dual diagnosis, you should seek a treatment facility certified to treat both the substance use and mental health issues. Treating one without the other will not provide the comprehensive care needed for long-lasting recovery.
While these medications have proven to be extremely helpful in achieving long-lasting recovery, behavioral therapies are essential in any treatment program. At The Core Center, there are 12 holistic therapy programs as well as MAT to help you recover from addiction.
Behavioral therapies help clients to find long term freedom from addiction by:
- Learning skills to change behaviors and attitudes towards alcohol and drugs
- Developing and implementing healthy living skills
- Sticking with treatment protocols such as medications, meetings, etc.
It’s important to understand that addiction to alcohol or drugs, is a chronic disease and there is no cure but there is recovery. If you want to break free from the painful cycle of addiction it requires a life-long commitment. Long-lasting recovery means starting with a rehab or treatment center that is best suited to meet your unique needs; one that will equip you with the understanding, motivation, and tools needed to recover from addiction.
Medication-assisted treatment along with therapy gives you the best chance possible to beat addiction and discover a life beyond your dreams in recovery.
Addiction is painful. Often thinking about facing the future without drugs are alcohol can seem painful at first. It doesn’t have to be that way. There is hope and help. The Core Centers in Fort Lauderdale can help you start changing your story today. Take the first step.