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3 Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Patient talks with therapist about the benefits of medication assisted treatment

No single approach to addiction recovery can guarantee long-term sobriety, but medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has many benefits. If you or someone you love has experienced a relapse more than once, MAT may help you consistently abstain from substances. For more information about the medication-assisted treatment program at Vertava Health Mississippi, call 844.951.1931 today.

What Is a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program?

Medication-assisted treatment combines behavioral therapies, counseling, and medication to treat certain substance abuse disorders, mainly opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. There are strong advantages of medication-assisted treatment. In fact, several studies support the addition of medication to help those struggling with opioid and/or alcohol addiction.

MAT patients receive a specified dose of prescription medications on a strict schedule as part of their inpatient or outpatient treatment program. When choosing a MAT program, it is necessary to consider your overall care needs. Medication-assisted treatment isn’t a cure or an “easy” way to address addiction.

To remain in a MAT program and build a foundation for long-term success, you must also participate in traditional, evidence-based therapies.

Medications Used in a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program

The exact combination of medications each patient uses depends on several factors, including the severity of their addiction and their overall physical health. Each patient must undergo a complete medical evaluation before a physician can create a personalized treatment plan.

The most common prescription drugs used for MAT include:

  • Methadone: An opioid agonist used to alleviate cravings and block the pleasurable effects of opioids
  • Buprenorphine: A partial opioid agonist that causes similar but weaker euphoric effects and reduces cravings
  • Naltrexone: An opioid antagonist that blocks the euphoric effects of opioids and/or alcohol
  • Narcan/naloxone: A life-saving treatment for opioid overdose
  • Disulfiram: Causes extreme nausea/vomiting when alcohol is consumed
  • Acamprosate: Helps people with alcohol use disorder maintain sobriety post-detox

While medications help to reduce cravings and normalize physical function, counseling and behavioral therapy teach patients how to cope with the stressors and emotions that trigger the desire for substance use.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Reducing cravings is one of the biggest advantages of medication-assisted treatment, but it’s not the only one. The following benefits of MAT programs combine to give patients the best chance of recovery.

1. Improved Treatment Retention and Patient Survival

MAT saves lives. Patients who are having a positive recovery experience with minimal cravings have a greater chance of avoiding overdose and the long-term health effects of addiction. Feeling better physically leads to a more positive attitude and willingness to complete a treatment program. Studies have shown that medication-assisted treatment has a higher success rate for relapse prevention than other forms of treatment.

2. Decreases Violent Activity

The benefits of a MAT program go beyond just helping the patient – it also helps the community. Statistics show that 26% of all violent crimes involve an offender who is under the influence of drugs. Helping people recover from addiction is one of the benefits of MAT programs that have the potential to eliminate a large portion of drug-associated crimes and create a better community for everyone.

3. Improves Birth Outcomes for Pregnant Women Who Are Addicted to Opioids

Mothers who stop using opioids cold turkey during pregnancy risk putting their unborn child in fetal distress. Suddenly stopping drug use could cause miscarriage or premature labor. Opioid addiction during pregnancy also puts newborns at risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.

One of the benefits of medication-assisted treatment is that it allows pregnant women to safely taper off opioids while promoting better maternal health and birthing outcomes.

Discover the Benefits of a MAT Program at Vertava Health Mississippi

The goal at Vertava Health Mississippi is to help our patients by providing a comprehensive treatment program, including MAT, medically-supervised detox, and other evidence-based treatments. If you know someone who needs addiction treatment but is having difficulty choosing a MAT program, contact Vertava Health Mississippi at 844.951.1931.