How to Find Medication-Assisted Treatment Near Me
Before searching for “medication-assisted treatment near me,” there are some relevant factors to consider. Learn what to look for in treatment options.
Medication-Assisted Program (MAT)
Before searching for "medication-assisted treatment near me," it's essential to understand what a medication-assisted program (MAT) is and whether it's the best treatment option for your situation. Many people can be helped with MAT, but each person's recovery journey is different and requires different kinds of specialized care.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 1.27 million Americans currently receive medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted treatment is a well-researched, evidence-based program for treating certain kinds of addiction, primarily opioid and alcohol use disorders.1
The term "medication-assisted treatment" describes a type of addiction treatment program that combines counseling and other behavioral therapies and the use of medications.
Some medications are chosen to address physical and psychiatric health needs, some are meant to decrease discomfort during detox, and some reduce the risk of relapse.2
Because it addresses a person's physical, emotional, and mental health needs, MAT therapy is viewed as a whole-person approach to recovery. Its goal is to help individuals avoid the sometimes severe and painful withdrawal symptoms of certain substances.
When recovery is less painful and less difficult, individuals can focus on learning the skills that will help them stay sober.
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What is MAT?
How Does MAT Work?
The medications that are prescribed during MAT work by normalizing brain chemistry. They also block the euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol. Eliminating the desired “high,” reducing psychological cravings, and normalizing body functions help individuals build a strong foundation for long-term sobriety.3
What Can MAT Accomplish?
Medication-assisted treatment gives people with addiction disorders more tools for recovery success. MAT treatment can:
What to Expect with MAT
Medically assisted treatment programs are typically provided as outpatient services. Individuals must come to a clinic or treatment center to receive their prescriptions and participate in various psychiatric therapies.
The number of hours spent in therapy is determined in the treatment plan. Failure to participate in required therapies may result in being dropped from the MAT clinic program.
Depending on the substance and severity of physical dependence, it may be necessary for MAT individuals to attend a medically supervised detox program before beginning MAT.
Common MAT Misconceptions
Origin and the History of MAT
Medically assisted treatment is a well-established, well-studied approach to addiction treatment. What is known as medication-assisted treatment today began as "maintenance therapy" in the mid-1960s when methadone was given to opioid-addicted individuals to eliminate the use of illicit opiates such as heroin.
Research on more medications that might combat opioid addiction continued for another 20 years. In the early 1980s, the National Institute of Drug Abuse completed its testing on a drug known as naltrexone.
The Emergence of Naltrexone
Naltrexone was found to help motivate individuals to complete detox. However, on its own, naltrexone was not a reliable tool. Skipping the recommended dosage even once resulted in stronger cravings and the return of withdrawal symptoms.
Many people do not realize that today's opioid epidemic began in the 1990s when opioid painkillers first became widely available. As a result of the growing number of overdose deaths, the National Institutes of Health called for a reform of how medications were used to treat addiction. This led to expanding the research and development of medications used in MAT programs today.3
The Drug Addiction Treatment Act
The passing of the Drug Addiction Treatment Act in 2000 permitted the use of narcotic medications such as buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder. This allowed qualified medical staff to prescribe some of the medications used in MAT therapy.
Sadly, the alarming numbers of opioid overdose deaths in America highlighted the importance of MAT programs. The medical community and the public gained greater empathy and acceptance for those affected by the crisis.
MAT programs and support for them have expanded across the country. Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that MAT is available in almost every state.4
What Are Other Common Therapies Included in MAT?
MAT individuals receiving medication must, by law, participate in other forms of addiction counseling. Behavioral and psychological services are required along with vocational, educational, medical, and other treatments.
Medication is only one part of the overall program. Before looking for a MAT program near you, it's important to understand that MAT is not a cure for addiction. It's also not a substitute for doing the difficult emotional recovery work.
Below is a partial list of some therapies to expect in a MAT program.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective, evidence-based treatment used to help those with substance abuse disorders and others who wish to improve their quality of life. According to the American Psychiatric Association, CBT is based on three core beliefs, including:5
Unlike talk therapy, CBT focuses on the present, not the past. Learning the skills needed to solve problems and change one’s behavior is considered more important than understanding where dysfunctional patterns came from in the first place.
The Community Reinforcement Approach has been adapted for use with several populations but is frequently used as an intervention for those with alcohol or substance use disorders. The goal is to help people find better, healthier ways to meet their social needs.
Along with encouraging participants to engage in social activities, there is a focus on problem-solving, communication skills, and reducing stress. Individuals engage in therapy sessions and practice skill-building through homework assignments given by their therapists.
Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves two or more people instead of one patient and one therapist. One advantage of group therapy that is especially helpful for people struggling with addiction is the awareness that they are not alone.
It can be a powerful experience to hear from others who have gone through similar circumstances. In group therapy, participants empathize with one another without judgment or criticism. Participants benefit from peer insight and feedback from the professional therapist who facilitates the group.
Contingency management is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It uses vouchers, cash prizes, and other rewards to reinforce wanted behavior. For example, MAT individuals may be rewarded for having a clean urine test or making all their therapy appointments on time for a specific period.
The desired behaviors typically targeted by contingency management therapy include:
Individuals might receive vouchers for goods and services such as books, restaurant gift certificates, movie tickets, electronics, etc. In most cases, the voucher system starts with low-value items and builds up to more highly desired rewards with repeated good behavior.
Motivational enhancement therapy focuses on helping people find the motivation needed to change their harmful, negative behaviors. It's based on the transtheoretical model of change. This model is built on the premise that making lasting changes is not a simple process. Real change requires a commitment of effort, emotion, and time.
Motivational enhancement therapy recognizes six stages of change:
With this model, it’s believed a progression of small steps — not radical efforts — builds the habits that support lasting change.
Which Medications Are Used in MAT?
The exact medications prescribed for each individual vary according to the substance they are dependent on and their medical and addiction-treatment history. One of the many benefits of MAT therapy is the opportunity for individuals to work within an individually tailored program that addresses both their medication and psychiatric needs.
The combination and dosage of medications used during MAT treatment differ, but they typically include the list below.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist, which means it blocks or dulls the effects of opioids. By blunting their euphoric effect, methadone decreases the desire for opioid use. It also helps to reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. It's taken daily in either powder, liquid, or pill form. Methadone is safe and effective when taken as prescribed.
Buprenorphine is the first prescription medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Like methadone, it's an opioid blocker. It binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and prevents opioids from attaching to them, decreasing the severity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It may be prescribed as an injection, a patch, or sublingual tablets.
Naltrexone is highly effective at blocking the euphoric "high" of opioids. It also reduces opioid cravings. In addition to helping with opioid use disorder, naltrexone is also used to treat individuals with alcohol use disorder.
Because it can cause severe nausea and vomiting in people who are still alcohol-dependent, Naltrexone is typically not prescribed until after the medically assisted detox process is complete. It's not an opioid and is not addictive.
Acamprosate is used for those recovering from alcohol use disorder. It works by helping to recover brain function but does not ease withdrawal symptoms. Acamprosate is not recommended for people still drinking alcohol or using other substances. It comes in tablet form and must be taken three times a day.
Disulfiram comes in tablet form and is taken by mouth once a day. It's used to help treat severe, chronic alcohol use disorder. It causes unpleasant effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache, and sweating if mixed with alcohol. The intent of including disulfiram in medication-assisted treatment is to discourage drinking alcohol.
Effectiveness of Medication-Assisted Treatment
According to SAMSA, medically assisted treatment has been clinically proven to be effective in the following markers:6
Research also shows that MAT treatment programs may lower the risk of contracting hepatitis C or HIV by reducing relapse rates.
Entering a medication-assisted treatment program begins with discussing your options for addiction treatment with your recovery specialist.
During the initial evaluation, you can learn more about MAT, including the pros and cons and the treatment expectations. Each individual receives a complete physical and psychiatric assessment to determine other factors that may need to be addressed.
If you and your support team decide that a medication-assisted treatment program is the best option, you can expect treatment to occur over three phases: induction, stabilization, and maintenance.
This phase lasts one to three days. During induction, you will be in close contact with the MAT clinic staff and begin taking your prescription medications. Finding the right medications takes some time and experimentation. Be patient and work with the staff for the best results.
You may be asked to provide a blood, hair, urine, or swab sample for drug screening during induction and other treatments. Failure to follow instructions or missing appointments during induction may result in dismissal from the MAT clinic.
It may take several weeks to find the right combination of medications that works for you. During the stabilization phase, you'll be asked to work on treatment goals. Achieving those goals may indicate it's time to decrease your dosages. You will participate in counseling and other complementary programs if they are recommended.
There is no set time for when treatment will end. You and your provider are empowered to decide when the time is right for you. On average, people participate in medication-assisted treatment for 12 to 18 months, but many remain in maintenance for years.
Eventually, and with medical supervision, you will slowly taper off medications. Doses are carefully calculated to minimize any withdrawal symptoms. If at any time you feel you are at risk of relapsing, speak with your MAT staff right away.
What Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Therapy Work for?
Medication-assisted treatment is most helpful for people who have had at least one relapse in the past. It’s frequently recommended for those:
Medically assisted treatment has a higher success rate for long-term recovery than treatment programs that do not offer medication assistance. Relapse is part of the recovery journey. Participating in MAT helps reduce the cravings that lead to relapse and prevents overdose death.
Those at risk of opioid overdose aren't the only ones whose lives may be saved by medication-assisted treatment programs.
People with severe alcohol addiction can suffer from seizures, dangerously high blood pressure, and rapid heart rate. The medications used for MAT help regulate the central nervous system and reduce the risk of life-threatening symptoms.
How to Find the Best Medication-Assisted Treatment Near Me
The best medication-assisted treatment program is the one that fits your needs. Once you’ve decided that medically assisted treatment is the most beneficial option for your recovery, finding the program that provides the best care for your situation is important.
Consider the following questions when searching for a medication-assisted treatment program for yourself or a loved one.
Treatment at Boardwalk Recovery
Do not settle for just any "MAT near me." Our medication-assisted treatment program at Boardwalk Recovery is happy to answer these questions and more.
We know that the more information you have about our medically assisted treatment programs, the more confident you will be in choosing Boardwalk to support you through your recovery journey. Contact us today about medication-assisted treatment for opioid, alcohol, or stimulant use disorders.
IMPACT OF MAT