Taking the first step towards healing from substance use takes immense amounts of courage. It can feel intimidating to know where to start, what treatments may help you, and how to get the help you need. Luckily, you don’t have to figure any of it out alone. If you are seeking healing from using substances like opioids, alcohol, or nicotine, MAT may be the right choice for you. Before we discuss if MAT will help you manage your substance use, we first need to discuss the basics of what it is and how it works.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains, “Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is treatment for addiction that includes the use of medication along with counseling and other support.”
MAT is typically used to help people recover from opioid use disorder (OUD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), or nicotine addiction. Clinicians use MAT, along with other techniques, to help control the patient’s symptoms of craving and withdrawal.
These medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are considered safe when they are used appropriately. The medications used to help people in recovery will vary based on the type of addiction, severity of symptoms, and medication side effects. Your care team will work together to determine the proper dosage and combination of medications to use for your unique situation. These medications should be taken exactly as directed and should only be taken if they are prescribed by a trusted, licensed clinician.
If you’re not sure if MAT will help you, you could ask your care team about the following commonly used medications. Medications commonly used in OUD treatment include:
AUD treatment may include medications such as:
Furthermore, medications commonly used to treat nicotine addiction include:
It is important to remember that, as with any type of medication, there are side effects that could impact your overall health. That is why it is vital to work closely with your care team to discuss any other medications or substances that may impact your healing process. Ultimately, your care team will decide which medications might work best for you; however, it is equally important that you are informed of all potential side effects and treatment options.
The most effective way to utilize MAT is to combine it with complementary treatment techniques. Complementary treatments are therapeutic approaches that can work in tandem to produce a healthy outcome. These complementary treatments will vary based on the client’s need, clinician’s expertise, and available resources.
Treatment centers, like Sage Recovery, should, first and foremost, be pairing MAT with evidence-based approaches. The most commonly used evidence-based treatments typically include some form of psychotherapy such as:
All four of these forms of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, allow you to discuss your feelings and experiences with a licensed professional counselor (LPC). An LPC will be able to help you discover the reasons why you feel the need to use substances. Additionally, they will also help you healthily process any difficult memories, traumatic experiences, or unhealthy patterns in your life that could trigger relapse.
Group therapy is another form of psychotherapy in which a licensed professional will lead a group of people in a discussion about their substance use and healing process. This is an effective approach that is often used to help people connect with others who have similar life experiences. Group therapy allows people to feel understood and less isolated, all while creating a support system of like-minded people who can learn from each other’s successes and struggles.
In addition to evidence-based techniques, some treatment centers, like Sage Recovery, will combine MAT with evidence-based and innovative treatment approaches. Customizing treatment towards your specific needs, desires, and interests can significantly increase the chances of healing healthily.
Some of the innovative treatment approaches that Sage Recovery offers include:
Here at Sage Recovery, we understand that knowing what type of treatment is best for you can feel intimidating. With all the options and different types of treatment, it can be difficult to know where to start. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone! Our masters-level clinicians are experts in finding the right treatment for people who want to heal from their substance use. Whether you need outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, or residential treatment, our staff will be able to create a customized plan that works for you. When you’re ready to heal healthily from the hard things you’ve been through, reach out to us at (512) 306-1394.