Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) at Curative Behavioral
Opioid use and addiction have become major issues within the last couple of decades. Since 2017, over 9,000 people have died in Arizona from opioid overdose, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Commonly referred to as the “opioid epidemic,” rises in opioid overdoses and deaths have led to the development of new, effective treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD).After a person has used opioids for an extended period of time, the body and brain start to get used to the constant presence of the drug. This causes changes in brain chemistry and physiology that can lead to very unpleasant physical and mental withdrawal symptoms when a person stops taking opioids. These withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person but typically include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense drug cravings
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sleep issues such as insomnia
- Muscle, joint, and bone pain
- Stomach pain
- Depression and anxiety
These symptoms of withdrawal can be relieved by the administration of an opioid, leading many people to fall back into addiction simply to avoid the terrible symptoms of withdrawal. The fear of withdrawal is a significant reason why many people continue to use harmful substances.The prospect of having to deal with the intense and uncomfortable symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be a roadblock for someone seeking recovery. That’s why Curative Behavioral is proud to offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment (also known as MAT) can help ease withdrawal symptoms, reduce drug cravings, and encourage long-term behavior and lifestyle changes that help maintain success in recovery
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-assisted treatment is a multi-step approach to treating substance use disorder (SUD) that combines the use of certain medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. For someone who struggles with SUD, MAT can make all the difference in long-term recovery. The medications used in MAT serve to normalize brain chemistry, relieve physical drug cravings, and normalize body functions while avoiding negative withdrawal effects.
What Makes a MAT Program Effective for Opioid Addiction?
Medication-assisted treatment is most commonly used for addiction to opioids such as:
Opioids work by reducing the body’s ability to feel pain. Because of this, opioids are typically prescribed to people who have suffered an injury, recently had surgery, or experience chronic pain. They can also have negative effects on other systems of the body and cause slowed breathing, mood changes, and digestive issues such as constipation.
Opioids work by binding to receptors in the brain, leading to the euphoric “high” effects and symptoms of overdose. Medications used in MAT work by interacting with the same opioid receptors in less harmful ways.
For example, the MAT drugs buprenorphine and methadone interact with opioid receptors and relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings without the intoxicating effects. Another type of medication, naltrexone, works by blocking the effects of opioids at the receptor site and is only used in patients who have already gone through detox.
In certain rare cases, MAT may be used for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Three medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of alcohol addiction. One of these medications is naltrexone, which is effective for treating opioid use disorder as well.
What Medications Are Used in MAT?
As mentioned above, medications used in MAT must be approved by the FDA. The FDA has approved several medications used in the treatment of alcohol and opioid use disorders.
One mistaken belief about MAT is that it’s substituting one addiction for another. In reality, these medications work to relieve intense withdrawal symptoms and mental cravings. MAT programs provide a safe and controlled level of medication with the goal of helping a person overcome their addiction to harmful substances.
Some medications used in MAT include:
- Naloxone (Evzio and Narcan)
- Naltrexone (ReVia and Vivitrol)
- Buprenorphine (Belbuca, Buprenex, Butrans, Suboxone, and Subutex)
- Methadone (Diskets, Dolophine, and Methadose)
While some MAT clinics use methadone for treating opioid use disorder (OUD), Curative Behavioral treatment centers do not.
What Makes MAT Effective?
The answer lies in the customized nature of MAT programs. By using medications along with behavioral therapy, MAT is able to treat the whole person and not just their addiction issues. The ultimate goal of MAT is to provide people with lifelong recovery from OUD.
Some of the benefits of this treatment approach include:
- Increased patient survival rate
- Increased rate of retention in treatment
- Decrease in opioid use and dependence
- Increase in the ability of patients to obtain and maintain employment
- Improved birth outcomes among pregnant women who have substance use disorders
Addressing Mistaken Beliefs About MAT
As mentioned above, the most common mistaken belief about MAT is that it’s substituting one addiction for another. This notion is common but incorrect. The medications used in MAT are responsibly monitored and used in moderation under close clinical supervision. Much like small amounts of stimulants are used in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other attention disorders, MAT uses medications appropriately to address symptoms of OUD. Like any drug you can get from a local drug store, the correct dose is key to its effectiveness.
For example, Suboxone is generally viewed as effective because it relieves strong cravings but also has a “ceiling.” This means it’s virtually impossible to feel a “high” from Suboxone. Much like MAT in general, Suboxone isn’t right for everyone.
Our trained and compassionate medical staff works with every individual client to determine whether MAT is the best and most effective treatment option.
It’s also very important to note that MAT is not the end of the road for treatment. While it can be a very effective tool in the recovery process, it’s not the only tool needed for strong, long-term recovery.
MAT is most effective when used along with substance use education, evidence-based behavioral therapies, relapse prevention programs, and other treatment programs. This is why Curative Behavioral takes a multipart approach to treating OUD.
What Does MAT at Curative Behavioral Typically Include?
Just like every single approach to treatment at Curative Behavioral, we make sure that our MAT programs are catered to meet your needs and specific goals in treatment. Our licensed and caring medical professionals will work with you to figure out which type of MAT applies to you and your unique situation.
How often you will need to visit our clinic will depend on the form of MAT that works best for you and is based on a phase system. Frequency of visits are as follows:
Phase 1: Twice Weekly (2-4 weeks)
Phase 2: Once Weekly (2-4 weeks)
Phase 3: Twice Monthly (Two Months)
Phase 4: Once Monthly
Phase 1: Twice Monthly (First Month)
Phase 2: Once Monthly
The length of your first visit to our MAT clinic is typically 30 to 45 minutes, while each follow-up visit lasts from 15 to 25 minutes.
These timelines act as a general guide and are by no means “one-size-fits-all.” There are many different physical and mental factors to consider every step of the way. But don’t worry, Curative Behavioral will be by your side throughout every phase of the MAT process.
Our MAT clinic is meant to treat both short-term patients who are visiting for outpatient detox from opioids as well as patients who are going through long-term MAT, which can last anywhere from six months to many years. Your assigned medical professional will decide what your treatment schedule will be.
Begin Your Journey By Calling Today
Curative Behavioral Is Here to Get You On the Road to Health and Recovery.
Finding the right treatment center for you or a loved one can be hard, and choosing the correct one can be crucial for success in recovery. Curative Behavioral is a safe, experienced MAT clinic that is here to ensure you or a loved one can have a solid foundation in the journey toward long-term recovery.
Located right here in Scottsdale, Arizona, we’re here to help you or a loved one who may be struggling with a mental health issue and/or addiction. We’ve provided top-quality, compassionate, evidence-based care to hundreds of people across the nation. Many of our former clients are here in the Phoenix area and are proof of the high-quality care we’re able to provide.
To learn more about our medication-assisted treatments, or to get started, call 877-781-5821 today.
Medication-assisted treatment is a multi-step approach to treating substance use disorder (SUD) that combines the use of certain medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. For someone who struggles with a SUD, MAT can make all the difference in long-term recovery. The medications used in MAT serve to normalize brain chemistry, relieve physical drug cravings, and normalize body functions while avoiding negative withdrawal effects.
Medication-assisted treatments have been shown to be effective in helping many people overcome substance use issues. Much like any other treatment, MAT may not be right for everyone but can be a major tool in helping manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing for a person to regain control of their life.
Medication-assisted treatment works by using medications to curb drug cravings and other negative withdrawal symptoms while a person undergoes various behavioral therapies. The goal of MAT is to use these two things together to help ensure long-term success in recovery.