What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Not all addictions are the same, and if there has been one that has proven itself to be more aggressive and lead to relapse, opioid and alcohol addiction rank at the top of the list. Luckily, Harmony Ridge provides individuals with the proven method of Medication-Assisted Treatment to help curb the intensity and frequency of cravings during early addiction.

For a long time, methadone has been the most commonly used, and well-known medication that was used in the fight against opioid addiction. However, it has been discovered how addictive and potentially fatal and detrimental it can be to someone’s health, so since then, many other forms of medication designed to assist in the decrease of opioid addiction have come onto the scene, with better results and less damaging physical side effects.

  • Opioid overdoses killed more than 42,000 people in 2016
  • Despite people attributing it to Fentanyl, the CDC reports that over 40% of those deaths were due to prescription opioid medications.
  • Between 2016-17, over 45 U.S states reported Emergency Room visits from opioid accidents increased by over 30%

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

MAT programs are medications that are approved by the FDA and are combined with counseling, behavior therapy, and other alternative forms of therapy used in substance abuse treatment. They have been found to be the most beneficial for people overcoming alcohol and opioid use disorders, as well as for people who are trying to quit smoking.

Why is Harmony Ridge a Step Ahead?

In some circles, they are a controversial topic, but the results that they have shown for many people overcoming addiction has placed it in very high regards in the current fight against opioid use. Throughout a large percentage of the rest of the substance abuse centers in the country, medication-assisted treatment programs are something that aren’t often utilized. This is primarily due to the idea that the addict will be replacing one thing with another, for example, they got off the heroin or alcohol, and become addicted to a pill instead.

Because of this line of thought, there is an alarming rate of relapses with opioid users and alcohol users, especially in those who are considered “Chronic Relapsers”.

  • In the United States, only 23% of publicly funded substance abuse programs offer any form of an FDA medication to treat substance use.
  • Less than half of that number of privately owned treatment facilities offer the programs to their patients, despite its proven results.

Although it is a hot button issue that is controversial to many, aren’t the amount of opioid overdose deaths something to be concerned with as well? It appears that for these “chronic relapsers”, a 30-day stay and the “abstinence only” method will no longer work for them. Medication-assisted treatment programs are somewhat of a more aggressive approach to a problem that could literally take the lives of people if they did not have access to it.

patient and doctor

The MAT Process at Harmony Ridge

Whenever any individual begins the program at Harmony Ridge, the individual must first meet with a licensed psychiatrist to determine if there is a necessity for that individual to be on a medication-assisted treatment program. If it is determined that the individual would benefit or has had difficulty with relapse in the past, the most proven method of action is to place that individual on a taper program.

These Medications include:

Medications that come with the MAT program are considered “Controlled Medications”, meaning they will be administered by professionals at the facility, who will be able to closely monitor the individual to keep aware of any potential warning side effects, a need for a dose change, or if it appears that the client may be trying to take advantage of their medication.

As the individual continues to undergo behavioral, cognitive, and psychotherapy during their stay, their dosage of the medication will slowly be tapered off every few days until eventually, it will be safe and comfortable to completely stop taking the medication altogether.

This length of taper usually corresponds to how frequently and how much of the drug or alcohol they were using during addiction, as it will often take an extended duration of time for those cravings to go away. The taper is supposed to last for about as long as the initial cravings and short-term withdrawal side effects present themselves in the individual, usually ranging anywhere from 1-6 months, depending on the individual.

The Ultimate Goal

Contrary to popular debate, Medication-assisted treatment programs are not designed to keep addicts hooked to things. If that were the case, the taper method would not be utilized! In actuality, the point of MAT programs is to make the initial duration of early sobriety as painless and uncomplicated as possible, so the person is able to see some sort of hope for their future.

It is very difficult for an addict who is newly sober to ever be able to visualize a happy or joyous future for themselves without the use of drugs and alcohol. Especially once a bump in the road comes up that they have to deal with, and they discover for the first time what it feels like to experience emotion and not just bury it under booze or drugs. These seemingly simple ideas are most often what causes addicts to give up the fight and resort to a relapse.

By using medications to help guide these individuals through their very early recovery, to try to ease the process and reduce the frequency of cravings, they are given a much higher likelihood of maintaining long-term sobriety. Harmony Ridge is one of only a very few amount of substance abuse treatment centers that is willing to take the road less traveled on a method that not everyone favors, but one that saves lives.

Get Help Today

Residential rehab is an excellent choice for treatment, as it connects you to medical and psychiatric professionals, provides you with a safe environment, and allows you to work on the challenges you are facing.

We understand that addiction is painful, confusing, angering, and depressing. We know how you are feeling, and we know that we can empathize with your situation. By reaching out to us today, we can connect with you in a way that helps you begin your own journey towards recovery. We will be there to support and guide you every step of the way.

Do not wait any longer. Call us right now to find out how we can help you say goodbye to your active addiction and hello to a life of recovery. We can help you.