Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications—typically in combination with therapy—for treating addiction. Medications like Vivitrol or Suboxone help curb cravings and stave off some of the more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, so that a person can focus on recovery. For now, there are only approved medications for opioid and alcohol use disorder, but research is currently being done on MAT for meth.
Naltrexone, the active ingredient in Vivitrol, blocks the effects of drugs so that you don’t get a “high” feeling from opioids or alcohol. Buprenorphine—one of the active ingredients in Suboxone—works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, but to a much lesser degree than opioids like heroin or oxycodone.
According to Peter Grinspoon, M.D., at Harvard Health Publishing, “By doing so, it blunts intoxication with these other drugs, it prevents cravings, and it allows many people to transition back from a life of addiction to a life or relative normalcy and safety.”
There is a myth that using medication-assisted treatment is “replacing one addiction with another.” However, MAT is recovery, not another addiction. Grinspoon again: “As addiction is increasingly viewed as a medical condition, Suboxone is viewed as a medication for a chronic condition, such as a person with diabetes needing to take insulin.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), medication-assisted treatment increases chances of survival, increases treatment retention, decreases criminal activity among people with addiction, and increases ability to maintain employment. It lowers the risk of overdose death by 50%. Medication-assisted treatment can help people get back on their feet and feel free from the endless need to use.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. We offer MAT (Suboxone and Vivitrol) to help gradually free you from substances. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.