Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Research has shown the combination of medication along with psycho-social therapy is the best form of opioid addiction treatment for most people. Unfortunately, many people do not receive the treatment they need, either due to lack of access to providers, or due to misunderstandings and stigmas related to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
A common misconception is that MAT simply replaces one drug for another. However, this view does not reflect the reality of what MAT actually does and how the medications work. When a patient receives MAT, they are moving from using opioids in an unsafe, destructive and often illicit manner, to a highly regulated medication that has been FDA approved for the specific purpose of treating addiction. Medication is administered under the care of trained physicians and medical professionals. Additionally, the medications used in our Medication-Assisted Treatment programs differ in important ways compared to commonly abused pain pills or heroin. These medications provide relief for the physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid dependence while preventing the euphoric effects of other opioids.
The most commonly used medication used in MAT is Methadone. Methadone is an opioid agonist, meaning it activates the mu-opioid receptors in the brain. However, unlike other opioids, it does so in a way that provides withdrawal symptom relief and curbs cravings while blocking the high of other opioids. Methadone is a “full agonist” that fully binds to opioid receptors.
Methadone has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid use disorder. The most appropriate dosage will be determined by the needs of the patient in consultation with one of our physicians.
A Comprehensive Approach
Although medication plays an important part in the treatment of opioid addiction, support services such as counseling and behavioral interventions are fundamental components to CBHC treatment. With the support provided by our counseling team and clinicians, patients learn new coping skills and strategies to deal with triggers and environmental stressors associated with their addiction. When the needs of the patients go beyond what we are able to address directly, we work to connect patients to appropriate supportive services within the community.