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How Medications for Addiction Treatment Helps Addiction Recovery

Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. It involves using medication, counseling, and other supportive services to help individuals overcome their addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Think of MAT as a tool that can help individuals with addiction to manage the physical and emotional symptoms of their condition.

The medications used in MAT can help to reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to focus on their recovery and avoid relapse. MAT also uses counseling and behavioral therapies to address the psychological and social factors contributing to addiction. These allow individuals to develop the skills and support needed to maintain sobriety and build a fulfilling, drug-free life.

It’s important to remember that MAT is not a cure for addiction, but it can be a highly effective tool in helping individuals to achieve and maintain sobriety. By providing a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to recovery, MAT can make a real difference in the lives of individuals with addiction and their families.

Understanding Drug Use Problems

When a person uses a substance, it triggers a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of pleasure and reward. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to the increased dopamine levels, leading to tolerance and the need for more of the substance to achieve the same reward level. As the pattern of substance use continues, the brain becomes dependent on the substance to function normally, leading to the development of addiction. Addiction can also happen due to psychological and environmental factors.

Those struggling with addiction often experience periods of exacerbation (when their symptoms are worse) and remission (when their symptoms are milder). Even during remission, however, they are never considered “disease-free.” This is why MAT and psychosocial treatment are so important for individuals with addiction. MAT provides a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to recovery, helping individuals manage their symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.

What are Medications for Addiction Treatment?

Medications for addiction treatment are an evidence-based approach to treating substance use disorders. It involves the use of medications, along with behavioral and counseling therapies, to offer a “whole-patient” approach to addiction treatment. Drugs used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are clinically driven and customized to meet each patient’s unique needs. The right medication for an individual depends on factors like the type and severity of their SUD, their medical history, and any other health conditions they may have.

Combining MAT and psychosocial therapy makes an effective treatment for SUD and can help some people sustain recovery. This dual approach to opioid addiction treatment is more effective than either medication or behavioral interventions alone. That’s why it’s widely supported by different organizations and entities in the United States, including federal entities like the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, behavioral and medical health groups like the National Council for Behavioral Health and the American Society of Addiction, and patient advocate groups.

MAT has also been shown to:

  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Reduce cravings, relapse risk, and drug use
  • Improve patient survival
  • Reduce illicit opioid use and criminal activity among those with substance abuse issues
  • Prevent overdoses
  • Improve the quality of life of individuals in addiction recovery
  • Lower the risk of contracting HIV or Hepatitis C

Counseling and Behavioral Therapies

Counseling and behavioral therapies are two essential types of psychosocial treatment for Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). These therapies are often used in conjunction with medications for addiction treatment to provide individuals with a comprehensive approach to recovery.

Counseling involves working with a trained therapist to identify and address the psychological and social factors contributing to addiction. This can include individual, family, or group therapy sessions. The goal of counseling is to help individuals with SUDs develop the skills and support they need to maintain sobriety and build a fulfilling, drug-free life.

On the other hand, behavioral therapies focus on changing the behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to substance use. This can include techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, and motivational interviewing.

The therapeutic goals of psychosocial treatment for SUDs include:

  • Addressing the psychological and social factors that contribute to addiction
  • Helping individuals develop coping skills and stress management strategies
  • Improving communication and interpersonal skills
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety
  • Building a support network and improving overall social functioning
  • Reducing the risk of relapse
  • Recommending additional health services
  • Improving the overall quality of life and well-being

FDA-approved medications

Medications for SUDs are a key component of medication addiction treatment. These medications are designed to help individuals manage the symptoms of SUDs and reduce the risk of relapse. Here are examples of these medications:

Medications for alcohol use disorder:

  • Naltrexone (Revia) – Blocking the effects of opioids and reducing cravings for alcohol.
  • Acamprosate (Campral) – Restores the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain disrupted by chronic alcohol use. This can help to reduce cravings for alcohol and improve the chances of successful recovery.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) – Causes unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, headache, and flushing, when an individual drinks alcohol. This helps to discourage individuals from drinking and reduce the risk of relapse.

Medications for opioid use disorder:

  • Methadone (Dolophine) – A synthetic opioid that binds to the same receptors in the brain as opioids such as heroin or prescription pain relievers. This can help to stabilize individuals with opioid dependency and reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex) – A partial opioid agonist that works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as opioids but with a lower intensity. This can help to prevent withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for opioids.
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol) – An opioid antagonist that works by blocking the effects of opioids and reducing cravings. Vivitrol is a long-acting form of naltrexone that is given as a monthly injection.

Opioid overdose prevention medication:

  • Naloxone (Narcan) – An opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of opioids in the event of an overdose. Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can be administered quickly and easily in emergencies to help prevent overdose and death.

Find Medication Addiction Therapy Treatment

MAT is a valuable and effective tool in treating SUDs and is currently implemented in various primary care settings. It provides a comprehensive approach to recovery that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with a SUD, it is essential to seek help from a qualified treatment provider.

Recovery Centers of America offers comprehensive and personalized MAT programs in a supportive and caring environment. With a focus on the latest evidence-based practices and a commitment to delivering high-quality care, Recovery Centers of America can help individuals achieve lasting recovery from substance use disorders. Contact us today to start your journey toward healing and hope.



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