Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Drug AddictionOne of the most reliable and effective methods for helping addicts escape the grip of addiction and enter the world of recovery is buprenorphine based medication assisted treatment, or, MAT.
What Is MAT?Medication assisted treatment, or, MAT, is a physician lead approach to addiction treatment that utilizes specially categorized medication to make getting clean, staying clean easier. Once our patients are able to stop using and stay stopped, they can begin to get a hold of the concept of recovery and experience the healing that comes with it. The most common form of MAT involves the mixed opiate agonist/antagonist, buprenorphine, the key component of the brand name medication Suboxone. Another lesser-known addiction medicine is the opiate blocker naltrexone, especially as it is prepared in the monthly injectable called Vivitrol.
How Can Medication Lead to Recovery?Buprenorphine, naltrexone, and other medications can make it much easier for an addict to break from the cycle of getting high and coming down. They can help remove the addict from a world of criminality, stop the incredibly risky practice of injecting uncertain chemicals into their veins and eliminate the need to spend every dollar on drugs that are slowly killing them. Patients on buprenorphine or other medications of MAT feel physically and emotionally stable and are able to carry out normal, productive lives with jobs, careers, relationships, and families. Most of all, a patient enrolled in a properly run MAT program is enlisted in a whole regimen of counseling, education, psychiatric and medical care and the therapeutic fellowship of recovering people.
How does Buprenorphine work? Naltrexone?Like its predecessor methadone, buprenorphine can arrest the painful physical, mental and emotional symptoms withdrawal from opiates that make getting clean seem so impossible. But instead of proceeding to detox the new patient completely off of opiates, leaving him or her vulnerable to relapse, a good MAT program allows the patient to remain on buprenorphine while requiring that he participate in a formal program of education, therapy, health and fellowship – the lifelong work of recovery.
Naltrexone is an effective opiate blocker that makes using pointless and therefore totally unattractive. Naltrexone, especially when used in the form of a once a month injection (Vivitrol), is a great choice for the patient coming off of buprenorphine or who has chosen not to use buprenorphine or methadone at all. Naltrexone is also one of the only medications shown to help with alcohol addiction.
Is Buprenorphine MAT just trading one addiction for another?The experience of being on buprenorphine as a prescribed and carefully monitored medication is radically different from buying illegal drugs and getting high. It is true that, just like any opiate, a patient who uses buprenorphine for any length of time will become physically dependent and will suffer withdrawal symptoms that can be even more difficult than that caused by regular opiate dependence if suddenly stopped. But we use both the stabilizing effect of the medicine and the desire to avoid withdrawal as a way to motivate our patients to engage in the healthy and ultimately rewarding activities of recovery that will strengthen, inspire, and free the suffering addict.
Is MAT, buprenorphine, something that goes on forever?Not if we can help it. Buprenorphine and naltrexone are meant to be temporary supports that help stabilize and protect our patients from sinking deeper into addiction and all the destruction that comes with it. Our approach is to use the time and extra support that the medication gives to build in our patient’s the kind of recovery that will soon allow them to slowly, carefully, and with medical help, let go of it. We don’t rush and we don’t delay. We use MAT the right way with patient recovery and healing as our goal.
Medication Assisted Treatment in Richmond, VABuprenorphine can be a powerful tool in the fight against opiate addiction. When utilized in a comprehensive program with ASAM trained and certified physicians, MAT can bring not only abstinence but also real and lasting recovery. Our physicians are highly trained and extremely professional. But they are also personally invested in the concept of recovery. We want all of our patients to achieve real healing, real recovery and life that is happy, joyous and free.
To enroll or just learn more about a program that is truly being done in the right way, call us today at804.332.5950. We’d be happy to assist you with any further information. Get the support you need. You’re never alone; we’re only a phone call away.