Medication-Assisted Treatment

doctor providing patient with MAT

Addiction works on both the mind and body. It takes tools to fight addiction at both levels in order to win the battle. Addiction specialists utilize evidence-based behavioral therapies, counseling, and medication-assisted treatments in Washington State and Oregon drug rehab facilities. In many types of addiction, it requires these and other forms of treatment to break the addiction cycle.

This article explores medication-assisted programs for addiction treatment. Why are these programs effective? How do they work? Why are these programs one part of a comprehensive strategy for true addiction recovery at Washington State drug rehab?

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for certain types of addiction, including alcohol, tobacco, and opioids. A September 2017 statement shows the FDA’s approach to MAT for opioid addiction:

“This type of treatment is an important tool that has the potential to help millions of Americans with an opioid use disorder regain control over their lives.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), MAT is effective at normalizing the chemistry in the brain while blocking some of the euphorias from alcohol and opioids. It also helps reduce the craving for these drugs. Dispensing these medications is highly regulated at the federal and state level.

SAMHSA points out:

“Federal law requires patients who receive treatment in an opioid treatment program (OTP) to receive medical, counseling, vocational, educational, and other assessment and treatment services, in addition to prescribed medication.”

Clinically, these therapies have been shown to be effective in helping the substance user recover. MAT assists patients through the detoxification process so that they can ease more quickly past the cravings and suffering that comes as the first step in recovery. SAMHSA says that when used in combination with other therapies,  MAT:

  • Improves the survival rate of patients.
  • Decreases the dropout and recidivism rate of patients.
  • Reduces criminal activity and decreases illegal behaviors.
  • Increases the patient’s ability to maintain a job during treatment.
  • Potentially reduces the likelihood of contracting HIV or hepatitis C.
  • Improves the birth outcomes for women who are substance users and pregnant.

MAT Misconceptions

The general stigma surrounding substance use disorders is heightened by the attitude that MAT is replacing one type of drug with another. It is difficult to understand the complicated mental and physical disorders that lead to substance use. Therapeutic interventions with medication allow recovering addicts to gradually and safely withdraw from their addiction in a controlled and more comfortable environment.

Perhaps it is this stigma that has led to the slow adoption of MAT. SAMHSA suggests the number of clinics and treatment centers offering MAT for opioid addiction decreased from 2002 to 2010. This happened despite clinical studies showing the effectiveness of these treatments as a way to speed up recovery and decrease recidivism among substance users.

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Washington and Oregon

  • The Recovery Village Ridgefield Residential Treatment Center Front Entrance
    The Recovery Village Ridgefield

    888 Hillhurst Rd. Ridgefield, WA 98642
    (360) 857-0007

Washington and Oregon rehab centers continue to widely adopt a mix of therapeutic approaches to help patients stop their addiction. Addiction is an individualized process, complex in nature, and difficult to break. MAT remains an effective tool to break the cycle of addiction and help people back on the road to health. To find out more about our residential treatment facility,  please contact us.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.