Treating Your Opioid Addiction with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Treating Your Opioid Addiction with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

The opioid epidemic is an ever-evolving health crisis in the United States that has recently — thanks in large part to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) — started turning a major corner. 

As a key component of our whole-person approach to opioid addiction care and recovery, MAT uses FDA-approved medications to block opioid-induced euphoria and minimize or prevent withdrawal symptoms. In conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies, MAT can help you detox safely, relieve cravings, reduce relapse, and sustain recovery. 

Read on as our seasoned team at EXIS Recovery Inc. in West Los Angeles, California, discusses how MAT supports substance abuse treatment and recovery for people struggling with opioid addiction.

A national epidemic — by the numbers

In the late 1990s, after pharmaceutical companies reassured the U.S. medical community that opioid pain relief medications weren’t addictive, health care providers began prescribing them more often. As we now know, this quickly led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids, which are indeed highly addictive. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency in 2017. In 2018, some 2 out of 3 overdose-related drug deaths involved opioids.

The most recent statistics from the crisis show that in 2019, some 10.1 million people misused opioids; specifically, 9.7 million people misused prescription opioid medications, and 745,000 people misused heroin. That same year, 1.6 million people were diagnosed with opioid use disorder.

How MAT supports your recovery goals

When combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, MAT is a fundamental part of a whole-person approach to opioid addiction treatment and recovery.

Tailored to your needs, MAT uses FDA-approved medications to help you detox from opioid dependency safely and effectively. These medications can significantly ease or, in some cases, eliminate the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that generate imbalances in your body, reducing the need for a supervised inpatient detox program.

Post-detox, MAT can help you sustain recovery from opioid dependency by relieving cravings, reducing potential relapse episodes, and preventing accidental overdose. When administered at the proper dosage, MAT medications won’t diminish your mental capabilities or physical functioning. 

Clinically effective and highly beneficial

With the critical support of an individualized counseling and behavioral therapy program, the primary goal of MAT is to help you reach and sustain full recovery, including the restored ability to lead a self-directed life. Treating opioid addiction with MAT has been shown to:

Compared to non-medication-assisted opioid addiction treatment and recovery approaches, research shows that MAT significantly increases patient adherence to treatment and reduces illicit opioid use and relapse. It also improves birth outcomes among pregnant patients.

FDA-approved MAT medication options

About 1.27 million Americans are receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Medications used for MAT are evidence-based treatment options; they do not just substitute one drug for another.

FDA-approved MAT medications for opioid addiction treatment fall into two categories:

Opioid dependence medications

Three medications are FDA-approved for the treatment of opioid dependence: 

All three are safe and effective when combined with counseling, psychosocial support, and behavioral therapies. Our team works with you to determine which MAT medication best suits your needs. 

It’s important to recognize that there is no maximum recommended duration of maintenance treatment for these MAT medications — they’re safe to use for months, years, or even a lifetime. Because of the chronic nature of opioid use disorder, the need for continuing MAT is periodically re-evaluated. For some people, treatment may continue indefinitely.

Opioid overdose prevention medication

Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication used to rapidly reverse the toxic effects of an opioid overdose and prevent an overdose-related death. While Naloxone is not a form of MAT, it may be prescribed to someone undergoing medication-assisted treatment if they’re at risk of overdose.

To learn more about MAT and how it can support your recovery from opioid addiction, call or click online to schedule an appointment at EXIS Recovery Inc. today. 

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