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What Is MAT?

a man sitting with a therapist discussing what is mat

Today, many approaches, tools, and even medications help people manage addiction recovery. Medication-assisted treatment is a leader in addiction recovery, especially for those managing long-term opiate and opioid recovery. Understanding how and why MAT works can help you and your loved ones decide if medication is the right choice for you. MAT involves using FDA-approved medications, such as buprenorphine and naltrexone, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a “whole-patient” approach to treatment. If you or someone you love is looking for MAT in New Hampshire, A Better State can help. Our Hudson, NH clinic provides holistic addiction recovery and mental health treatment. Call us now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about our outpatient medication-assisted treatment programs.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

What is MAT? Medication-assisted treatment for addiction has been a part of addiction treatment since the early 1930s. Popularized in the 1970s, MAT has become a standard in individualized addiction treatment. MAT, also known as medication-assisted treatment, uses highly effective medications to reduce withdrawal effects and ease detox symptoms. A clinical nurse administers and monitors these medications to prevent substance abuse or overdose. MAT is an evidence-based practice proven to reduce the risk of relapse and death from overdose. It is a safe and effective way to manage addiction, allowing people to focus on their recovery. MAT medications used in addiction treatment include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone

How Does MAT Work?

When someone develops an addiction, the brain becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol for specific chemical processes. The dopamine reward effect leads many people to crave dopamine when drugs or alcohol release it in the brain. For those with co-occurring disorders, this can happen more quickly. Specific medications can help the brain adjust and slowly ween off substances as it produces dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and other neurotransmitters. When paired with behavioral therapy and other life changes, this approach can help people recover more quickly. This can increase survival rate and program retention and decrease the risk of relapse and overdose.

MAT is usually a treatment option for opioid withdrawal. Because opioids change a person’s brain chemistry, they are tough to stop taking without medical support. Medication can ween the brain and body off opioids, preventing relapse and other health complications. MAT is also successful for alcohol addiction; other medications can ease withdrawal from prescription or illicit drugs.

Many clients, especially in outpatient recovery programs, see success with various medications alongside group, individual, and family therapy programs. Common MAT treatments often include Suboxone, Methadone, Vivitrol, and Benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal.

What to Expect from MAT

During MAT, clients are on strict medication schedules. Methadone and Suboxone are daily prescriptions taken on-site during recovery. These and other MAT medications require specific life changes and commitment to sobriety. During MAT, the use of illicit drugs can be fatal. While a client takes these medications, they often attend individual, group, and family therapy programs alongside peer support groups, job training, and other skills training to help them integrate tools from rehab into daily life. MAT treatment duration varies based on a person’s health history, drug history, and the type of MAT medication used. Most MAT programs will use a step-down approach to reduce medication use gradually while helping clients navigate daily stressors and life changes with therapy and support groups.

Is Outpatient MAT Right for You?

MAT can be highly effective for clients ready to make lasting changes in recovery. If you’re unsure if you’re a MAT candidate, the A Better State team can help. Our holistic, trauma-informed clinic can help you find the right outpatient program for you. Our intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) include treatment for:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Opioids
  • Opiates
  • Benzos
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin

With a range of individual, group, and family therapy programs, our team can help you, and your loved ones thrive. With step-down and sober living referral programs, we help clients across New Hampshire regain control of their lives.

Learn More About Medication-Assisted Treatment at A Better State

If you’re still asking yourself, “What is MAT?” reach out to A Better State to learn more about this treatment option. Medication-assisted treatment is a type of treatment that uses medication to help people recovering from addiction manage their withdrawal symptoms and cravings. MAT may be the proper treatment for you if you’re struggling with addiction. Reach out to A Better State today to learn more about our program and how we can help you on your journey to recovery. Contact us at 781.412.1488 to learn more and get started.