Opioid addiction can impact every aspect of your life. It can make it hard to keep a job, maintain healthy relationships, and take care of your overall health. And many of those who try to quit on their own find that they can’t do it without professional help. However, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help.
MAT is an evidence-based treatment that combines medication and behavioral therapy to provide a “whole-patient” approach to recovery. Medication-assisted treatment helps people overcome addiction by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to stick to treatment. At MD M.A.T.T. Washington, DC, we’ve seen firsthand how MAT can help our patients overcome addiction and go on to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
To learn more about MAT or to schedule an appointment, reach out today at 202.933.5583.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
FDA-approved medications, coupled with counseling and behavioral therapies, provide a comprehensive approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. This approach helps patients not only overcome their addiction but also regain control of their lives.
There are a number of different medications that can be used in MAT, depending on the patient’s needs. The most commonly used medications for opioid addiction are methadone and buprenorphine. These medications work by binding to the same receptors in the brain as opioids, but they do not produce the same euphoric effects. This helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for patients to stick to treatment.
At MD M.A.T.T. Washington, DC, we’ve found that Suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, is an effective medication for those struggling with opioid addiction. Suboxone helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms while also blocking the effects of other opioids.
Why Medication-Assisted Treatment?
There are many benefits to medication-assisted treatment, including:
Medication can help to reduce the intensity of cravings, making it easier to stick to treatment. These cravings happen because of the changes that addiction has made to the brain. Opioid addiction alters the way that the brain produces and processes dopamine, which is the “feel-good” chemical associated with reward. This change makes it difficult for people to feel good without using drugs.
Medication helps to restore the balance of dopamine in the brain, reducing cravings and making it easier to avoid relapse.
Relief from Withdrawal Symptoms
Trying to quit opioids cold turkey can be difficult because of the intense withdrawal symptoms that come with it. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches
Medication-assisted treatment can play a big role in withdrawal symptom relief, making it easier for those in recovery to stick with their plan. In the early stages of recovery, this support can be crucial in maintaining sobriety.
Better Sleep and Improved Mood
Both withdrawal symptoms and cravings can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. This can lead to fatigue, irritability, and mood swings. Medication-assisted treatment can help to improve sleep quality, leading to better overall physical and mental health.
Without the dopamine provided by opioids, people in recovery may experience depression. This is why it’s important to couple medication with counseling and behavioral therapies. These therapies can help to address underlying mental health issues and provide tools for managing depression.
Improved Ability to Focus on Treatment
Lastly, medication-assisted treatment can assist you with focusing on your plan for treatment. It’s not uncommon for addiction to make it difficult to follow through with other treatments. However, this becomes much easier as the focus and motivation improve.