WHAT IS MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT (MAT)?
Addiction and the recovery process are commonly marked by strong cravings to use even after successful completion of detox and treatment. These cravings, a normal occurrence for those struggling to get and stay clean, can interfere with treatment and increase the risk of relapse. Fortunately, certain medications have proven very successful in helping to stave off these cravings and promoting abstinence.
PROTOCOL FOR USE OF MAT
If you decide to enter an addiction treatment program, you will undergo an intake evaluation by a mental health professional. This intake evaluation will have 3 main goals:
Properly diagnose the substance use disorder.
Evaluate the severity of the addiction.
Assess for the presence of any co-occurring mental and physical health problems.
Once staff assesses your condition they will decide whether you are a good candidate for medication-assisted treatment. Per SAMHSA, you are a good candidate for MAT if you:
Have an official diagnosis of an addiction to alcohol or opioids.
Are willing to fully comply with prescribing instructions.
Lack physical health issues that the medication could possibly exacerbate.
Are fully educated on alternative options.
TREATMENT DOESN’T STOP AT MEDICATION
Medication alone is not enough to help a patient achieve and maintain abstinence in the long term.
Effective addiction treatment addresses the whole person and combines the use of:
Evidence-based behavioral therapies.
Relapse prevention programs.
Use of medications can help the patient to remain clean while the behavioral therapies address underlying issues related to substance abuse, help to promote a positive self-image, rectify negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and teach and build healthy coping skills. This therapeutic combination is at the core of medication-assisted treatment.
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