Recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) can come with many different mental and physical health challenges. Addressing trauma and shame, learning new coping strategies, building new healthy relationships, and coping with withdrawal symptoms can be difficult. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and requires treatment to overcome. The condition can affect an individual’s mood and behavior.
Co-occurring mental health disorders can be difficult to treat with just counseling and certain behavioral therapies. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be a highly beneficial addition for clients who are having difficulties in the recovery process.
As stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), MAT is a program through which a provider combines therapy and counseling with medications. This is done to treat and stabilize certain health conditions like addiction. MAT also assists in sustaining recovery.
The medications used in MAT are, of course, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and always prescribed and monitored by a professional health specialist. Specific prescriptions work to balance the individual’s brain chemistry, relieve cravings, ease psychological withdrawal symptoms, level out bodily and mental functioning without the side effects caused by the substance of choice, and block euphoric feelings caused by opioids and alcohol.
For example, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, MAT uses prescriptions such as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone. This is done in combination with behavioral therapies and counseling for all kinds of SUDs, including opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Who Can Benefit From MAT?
MAT programs have been proven by research to reduce drug overdoses. This treatment method works best for individuals who need addiction treatment. Addictive drugs are difficult and even dangerous to come off of without proper monitoring and care. Distressing withdrawal symptoms can make the recovering individual uncomfortable and can even be life-threatening. Therefore, MAT works to ease these symptoms so an individual can enter treatment on the right foot.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), both men and women are susceptible to the challenges that come with SUD. Men are more likely to use most types of illicit drugs. For a majority of age groups, males have the highest rate of problems with addiction and dependence on illegal drugs and alcohol.
Equally important, using narcotics can lead to continuous emergency visits and increased overdose deaths for both genders. The same goes for the misuse of prescription drugs and marijuana. MAT can be very helpful in treating clients aged 18 or older when it comes to certain prescriptions.
Benefits That Come With Treatment
As stated by the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, clinical research and studies have proved that MAT is highly effective in decreasing SUD symptoms. Further, it meets the demands and requirements needed for inpatient detoxification services. According to clinical research, opioid and drug relapse rates are high. Fortunately, MAT comes with several positive health benefits such as:
- Improving client survival rates
- Relieving withdrawal symptoms
- Focusing on the aspects of recovery
- Decreasing the use of illicit drugs
- Preventing HIV caused by drug-related risky behaviors
- Working to prevent pregnancy-related complications
- Increasing a client’s ability to find and maintain employment
Based on a recent study, MAT has also made it easier for an individual to retain child custody in comparison with groups that were not in such a program. Parents in the study were 120% more likely to regain custody of their children after just one year.
MAT can benefit both one’s health and social circle. It can enhance the efficacy of relapse and reunite families that face custody challenges.
Addiction can affect an individual and their families and loved ones on many different levels. For the people involved, their financial state, as well as their emotional, psychological, and social circle can be impacted. Their life is at risk for major disruption. Additionally, witnessing a loved one facing difficulties in their journey to recovery or while in active addiction can be heartbreaking.
There are several resources available to the public to help individuals and their loved ones find a facility that provides MAT. Although behavioral therapy and counseling alone can help treat the symptoms associated with SUD, MAT is a great treatment option that can be used to assist a person facing challenges with addiction.
Overall, speaking with one’s family practitioner about one’s concerns, receiving a referral to visit with a mental health professional, and taking the right steps in therapy to treat one’s condition can improve one’s symptoms while in recovery. MAT medications can be dispensed, administered, or prescribed by certified health professionals in many different settings. What’s more, a MAT program can greatly reduce the risk of death.
If you feel you need extra support, MAT is a safe and effective treatment option to take advantage of.
If you or a loved one is facing challenges associated with substance use disorder, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help. Here at 12 South Recovery, we offer a variety of services to benefit all of our clients’ needs. Our health care providers and staff understand that people at every level of care may benefit from counseling and behavioral therapy in combination with medications. Additionally, our staff knows that certain treatments can help relieve symptoms associated with addiction. Facing challenges with a mental health condition, substance use disorder, or a dual diagnosis can be difficult. If you need support and guidance in beginning a healthier path while in recovery, call 12 South Recovery at 866-839-6876 to learn about our treatment options.