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How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?

doctor talking to patient about how medication assisted treatment works

Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, but it does not have to be arduous or painful. With medication-assisted treatment or MAT, more people can attain sobriety and heal from the root causes of addiction. Medication-assisted treatment can be highly effective for those struggling with substance abuse.

At A Better State, our experts offer comprehensive medication-assisted treatment and complementary and alternative treatment options. To learn more, contact us at 781.412.1488.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction Recovery?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a kind of drug therapy aimed at helping people to reduce or even stop the use of substances. It works by temporarily blocking the brain’s natural reward system. It does this by making it less likely that people will want to use drugs in the first place, and longer-term, by making it more likely to stop using them.

The term “drug” here is somewhat misleading because MAT doesn’t necessarily treat drug abuse directly. Instead, it treats the underlying brain chemistry that primes a person for drug use.

While MAT for substance abuse can work independently, it also performs better alongside other approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychotherapy, where patients learn skills to overcome their problematic behaviors and attitudes. It also works well in conjunction with other treatments such as medications.

One thing to be conscious of with MAT is that MAT does not effectively treat certain substances, and others may have unpleasant side effects. It’s vital to work closely and be wholly honest with the medical professionals managing your treatment.

How does Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction Recovery Work?

Addiction is a disease, but it’s not easily caught and treated. While medications can help people recover from addiction, enlisting a medical professional or supporting a certified medical-assisted addiction recovery program is crucial. Medically-assisted addiction treatment should never be attempted on one’s own; it is a process that requires supervision by medical professionals and therapeutic support to be effective.

The objective is not just to stop substance abuse. Medication-assisted treatment is also about addressing the impact of how substances affect the physical processes of the body and contribute to mental dependency as well.

Medication-assisted treatment (sometimes called medication-assisted recovery) comprises several approaches proven to help people stop drinking and using drugs. Here’s a look at how MAT fits into the process of addiction recovery:

  • In the first stage of recovery, a person is admitted to a rehabilitation facility and is given medical treatment that helps them get through withdrawal symptoms. This first stage aims to reduce the risk of relapsing into addiction in future phases.
  • In the second stage, when the person has stabilized on medications and can live alone without worrying about getting high again, they can move on to an experiential rehabilitation program and learn new skills. This can last for up to two years.
  • In the third stage, a person will usually progress to a residential substance abuse treatment program or an outpatient addiction rehab program. Some medications can be used with other therapies in this stage, such as talk therapy and behavioral therapy.

When people relapse, medically-assisted treatment can ease the detox process and help people maintain a sense of purpose and possibility.

Contact A Better State for More on Medically Assisted Addiction Recovery

At A Better State, our team is passionate about putting experience, expertise, and proven research to use, helping more people recover their lives. We are eager to support you in making the best decision on whether or not our programs are a good fit. If you think medically assisted treatment may be a good fit for you or a loved one, reach out to us at 781.412.1488.