Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) often has mixed reviews. However, when used correctly, results from MAT treatment far exceed the success rate of traditional treatment methods. Integrating MAT with comprehensive addiction and behavioral treatment in Palm Beach is considered the gold standard in treating drug and alcohol addiction today.

Using FDA approved medications in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction can be highly effective if it is done so responsibly and in a controlled environment. A key to making MAT treatment effective is remembering that these medications alone do not provide a cure for addiction, but rather assist in the treatment process.

Options for MAT in Palm Beach

There are a wide variety of MAT drugs available to assist in the treatment process. These medications will differ depending on each individual’s addiction history, their substance of choice, and other mental and physical health conditions.

MAT options for the treatment of opioid use disorders, including prescription opioids such as oxycodone or Percocet, and illicit opioids, like heroin, include:[1]

  • Subutex, Buprenex, Butrans
  • Buprenorphine (buprenorphine and naloxone)
  • Methadone
  • Narcan (naloxone)
  • Vivitrol, Revia (naltrexone)

MAT options for the treatment of alcohol use disorders include:[2]

  • Vivitrol (naltrexone)
  • Antabuse (Disulfiram)
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan)
  • Campral (acamprosate)

How MAT Works in the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

MAT serves two purposes in a medical setting. Some drugs are blockers and some are replacers. Some MAT drugs, like buprenorphine, are replacers. Essentially, buprenorphine is a type of opioid that is released in small amounts to activate the same receptors that are activated when they take opiates. These drugs are used to eliminate cravings and to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Since the brain’s opioid receptors are being activated, but the drug does not produce a high, the link between the brain’s reward system and achieving a high is broken over time. This is referred to as opioid replacement therapy (ORT).[3]

Blockers, on the other hand, include medications like naloxone and naltrexone. These are opioid antagonists that will block the euphoric effects of opioids if they are taken while a person is on naloxone or naltrexone. Therefore, if an opioid is taken, the individual won’t feel the high from it. This option can deter individuals from relapsing because they know they will not be able to get high.[4]

Addiction specialists in Palm Beach feel as though MAT is an asset because it allows those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction to begin their journey of sobriety and reduces the risk of relapse.

An Integrated Approach to MAT

The key to medication-assisted treatment lies in the word “assisted”. MAT guidelines encourage the incorporation of behavioral therapy and medication in addiction treatment. While medication can be beneficial for most, comprehensive addiction treatment is crucial to help individuals achieve long-term sobriety. For this reason, a whole-patient approach is the best way to utilize MAT drugs.[5]

A whole patient approach suggests that individuals suffering from drug or alcohol addiction must receive therapy to heal their mind, body, and spirit. This involves using a wide range of behavioral therapies to uncover the underlying root causes of addiction. In many cases, individuals will be suffering from a co-occurring mental illness that requires special attention in treatment. In other cases, there are underlying emotional issues or trauma that must be tended to. In addition, medications cannot change the behaviors of an individual. Instead, cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) can be used to help individuals identify thought patterns, behaviors, and learn how to change their behaviors.[5]

Aside from behavioral therapies, an integrated approach to MAT should also include education around the disease of addiction, relapse prevention education, and the implementation of healthy coping skills. In order for one to recover from addiction, they must understand the physical and mental manifestations of addiction. Then, in order to maintain long-term sobriety, each individual must be fully equipped with relapse prevention tools and healthy coping mechanisms.

The primary purpose of MAT drugs is to help individuals deal with cravings and withdrawals. This allows each individual to be fully engaged in their therapy and be clear-headed enough to learn about addiction, relapse, and their emotions. Therapy and comprehensive addiction treatment are at the core of medication-assisted treatment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Palm Beach

At Comprehensive Wellness Centers in South Florida, addiction specialists understand the importance of a whole-patient approach in MAT. By developing a personalized treatment plan specific to each client’s unique needs, we aim to provide the best care possible to each and every individual. We use MAT hand in hand with integrated addiction treatment and behavioral therapies to give our clients the best possible chance at attaining long-term sobriety.

“Providing you with the personal attention and ethical care that you need and deserve is the foundation of our successful, personalized treatment program. We don’t just say we give personalized care, we deliver it. Contact our dual diagnosis center in Florida and you will begin to experience a community of care that exists to cater to your every need.”