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An individual’s motivation to maintain their sobriety can vary from day to day, but one of the most common reasons people leave treatment is their urge to abuse substances or alcohol. The purpose of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is to help ease these cravings so individuals can focus on their therapy. The longer people stay in treatment, the better their chances of long-term success, so MAT is just one of the many tools we utilize at Coalition Recovery to help our clients get their life back. If you’re looking into medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based therapies in Tampa Bay, connect with our team today at 888.707.2873 or reach out online.
Medication-assisted treatment uses medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to treat substance use disorders. These medications come in two forms. One, known as an antagonist, blocks the opiates from attaching to the brain receptors in the first place and prevents the user from feeling the opiate effects. The other, called an agonist, extends the effects over time, allowing the feelings of withdrawal to be neutralized longer. This counteracts the client’s need to use. Agonists are generally more effective but abusable. When combining both antagonists and agonists, such as Suboxone, the effectiveness is far greater.
Upon entering treatment at Coalition Recovery in Tampa Bay, you’ll be assessed by our doctors to establish a medical history and background. From there, our psychologist will prescribe medications to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and, at times, additional medications to help mitigate cravings. Of course, these medications are non-addictive and are extremely difficult to abuse. We understand MAT may not be for everyone, but we offer the service to anyone who believes it may better their treatment experience.
To understand how MAT works, it is easier to understand how these drugs work first. Opiates, alcohol, and benzos function by crossing the blood-brain barrier and attaching to brain receptors, triggering many neurotransmitters that produce highs and euphoric feelings. Addictions form when the user seeks these feelings of euphoria despite adverse consequences – causing dependence and a substance use disorder. MAT is a helpful tool to ease these struggles by stopping the effects of opiates in your brain. When your brain doesn’t get the feeling of euphoria from opiate use, it gradually ceases to crave the substance.
While MAT can be effective on its own, when used together with counseling, therapy, and aftercare, medically assisted treatment has been shown to improve the chances of success significantly.
It might seem counterintuitive to treat an opioid addiction with another opioid, but prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opiates, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the adversarial effects of the abused drug. The prescribed medications make it safer and more comfortable to stop using the substance entirely.
Combining medications used in MAT with anxiety treatment medications can be fatal. Types of anxiety treatment medications include derivatives of benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium. Rest assured, if you are under the care of a board-certified psychiatrist, he or she will understand these alterations and prescribe the safest and most appropriate medications.
Medication-assisted treatment has been proven to interrupt the cycle of intoxication and withdrawal, significantly reducing the following consequences of substance abuse:
Those struggling with opioid abuse should consider MAT, but medication alone is not sufficient. MAT needs to be used alongside behavioral therapy and counseling to give the best chance for recovery. Despite the negative misconceptions, MAT is one of the most effective ways to treat an opioid substance use disorder.
Coalition Recovery in Tampa, Florida strives to be ahead of the curve by continually adapting to new and better ways to treat addiction. Medication-assisted treatment is one of the many tools we can utilize to make the process smooth and successful. If you or a loved one is considering treatment, visit us online and complete our confidential form or call 888.707.2873 for private information. Coalition Recovery may or may not be the right fit, but we are willing to educate on the best options available. Don’t wait! Take back your life today.