One method of addiction recovery has become the gold standard for opioid treatment in the face of mounting overdose deaths; medication assisted treatment (MAT). MAT combines behavioral therapies with FDA-approved medications and is currently sitting at the forefront of addiction recovery tools. This is likely the result of its successful track record, ability to combine treatment modalities, and is recommended by the American Medical Association for the treatment of opioid addiction
How Medication Assisted Treatment Works
Medication Assisted Treatment utilizes a unique “whole-patient” approach when it combines therapy and medication. It can be used to treat a wide variety of addictions and is predominantly being used for dangerous opioid addiction. Primarily, medications like Buprenorphine remove perilous cravings and withdrawals that interrupt the recovery process. In fact, this is usually the cause of relapse for those in early recovery (one year or less) Buprenorphine is a long-acting partial agonist which prevents withdrawal symptoms and cravings. While this medication can used as a stand-alone, it most widely used when combined with Naloxone (an opioid antagonist) creates what most know as Suboxone, which wards off the euphoric effects of an opioid should a person try to “use.” Which is why it is the active ingredient in the popular Narcan used by so many emergency personnel and first responders.
Why MAT Works?
Medication Assisted Treatment is proven to be clinically effective. The World Health Organization considers MAT medication “essential medicines”. Still, finding large-scale MAT studies with proven results is difficult due to the nature of rehab, the definition of ‘success’ in addiction and the regard that relapse is a part of recovery and not a sign of failure. However, some studies show remarkable results. For example, Baltimore saw a 37% decrease in deaths following introduction to Buprenorphine. Even as far back as 1995, France allowed for clinical Buprenorphine distribution and saw opioid-related deaths decrease by 79% as a result. At the same time, the real benefit to the patient being treated is they can focus on their addiction therapy without the distractions of cravings. In this way, the patient is normalized, more receptive to clinical therapy and likely to remain in care to get their life back on track.
More About Suboxone Treatment
When a physician starts an opioid-addicted patient on Suboxone treatment, the patient must be experiencing mild to moderate withdrawal. At this point, the opioids have started to leave the brain’s opioid receptors. Furthermore, when opioids come off those receptors, Buprenorphine connects and sticks to them. When this happens, the patient’s withdrawal symptoms improve as the receptors accept the Buprenorphine. Additionally, the Suboxone starts to overpower withdrawal symptoms and cravings. With daily Suboxone maintenance, Suboxone continues to keep the brain’s opioid receptors busy. In fact, should the patient use another opioid at this point, the euphoric effects of that opioid will be greatly decreased or null.
Simple Path Recovery is a beach side, boutique addiction treatment center located in Pompano Beach, FL. Recognized as an intimate Florida Drug & Alcohol Rehab, Simple Path is committed to individualized care, 12-step integration and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Their addiction helpline is available 24/7 at 855-467-3625.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.