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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Alcohol and Opioids

In the battle against addiction, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has become a strong support for recovery. MAT uses FDA-approved medicines and addiction therapy to create a personalized and effective treatment for those struggling with substance use disorders. With more virtual options available, these life-transforming services are now more accessible than ever. However, as of 2021, only 20% of adults are seeking MAT resources and only 13% of adults struggling with addiction seek treatment.

What is MAT?

Medication-assisted treatment is an innovative treatment that combines the use of addiction medication, addiction counseling, and behavioral therapies for a holistic approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. MAT has been particularly effective when it comes to treating opioid, alcohol, and prescription medication addictions.

The goal of medications for addiction treatment is to help ease your withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and help balance the brain’s chemistry. By managing these uncomfortable symptoms, you can better focus on maintaining sobriety, especially during the early stages of recovery.

Counseling and behavioral therapy are essential parts of MAT. They help you understand and change behaviors related to substance use, develop healthier coping strategies, and repair damaged relationships. These elements are crucial for uncovering the root causes of addiction and supporting long-term recovery.

Common Medications for Addiction Treatment

There are several medications commonly used in medication-assisted treatment. The specific medication used will depend on your individual needs and the type of addiction being treated. It’s important you speak with a licensed professional before taking medication for substance use for appropriate dosage, frequency, and reduced negative side effects.

A community member receives a prescription for Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT)
Buprenorphine:

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that is commonly used in the treatment of opioid addiction. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as opioids, which can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone:

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that is used in the treatment of both opioid and alcohol addiction. It works by blocking the effects of opioids and alcohol on the brain, which can help to reduce cravings.

Suboxone:

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. It is designed to treat opioid addiction by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while also discouraging misuse of the medication. The naloxone 

Other Medications:

Other medications used in MAT include methadone, an opioid agonist that is used to treat opioid addiction, and Disulfiram and Acamprosate, which are used in the treatment of alcohol addiction.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

There are numerous benefits associated with medication-assisted treatment. From reducing the risk of overdose to ongoing support throughout your sobriety journey, MAT helps you break free from addiction effectively without the negative impacts of quitting a substance abruptly.

1. Lowering the Risk of Overdose

One of the primary benefits of MAT is its ability to reduce the risk of overdose significantly. Certain medications used in MAT, such as buprenorphine and naloxone, can help prevent overdose by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain. So no matter how much of the substance you take, you won’t be able to overdose due to the antagonist nature of the MAT.

2. Reducing Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms

MAT can also help to alleviate the uncomfortable and often severe withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid, meth, and alcohol addiction. Quitting alcohol and opioids can wreak havoc on the body, sometimes making it impossible to stop use. Depending on how long you have abused the substance, the withdrawal symptoms can even be fatal. By reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, MAT can make the recovery process more manageable and increase the chances of long-term success.

3. Tailored Treatment Plans

When it comes to MAT, your treatment plan should be tailored to your unique needs, considering factors like substance abuse, co-occurring mental health conditions, and personal circumstances. MAT is one of the most flexible addiction treatment options, with the ability to adjust your treatment plan based on your stage of recovery.

4. Ongoing Support and Monitoring

One of the most beneficial aspects of MAT is ongoing monitoring. You may need more or less support as you progress through your recovery. Having an addiction healthcare provider with whom you schedule regular check-ins is essential for timely interventions in dosage, medication frequency, and even the type of medication.

Sound like Eleanor Health might be right for you?

What to Expect
What you can expect when getting started with MAT treatment at Eleanor Health.
A provider speaks with an Eleanor Health care team member to refer their patient for addiction treatment
Step 1
A call with our team at no cost to you
We will chat with you about our program and make sure it is the right fit for you. This call is judgment-free, private, and secure. We will ask you questions, such as: What health concerns are you calling about? Are there any barriers preventing you from receiving care? What insurance do you have?
A person scrolls through their phone
Step 2
Book your first appointment
If we sound like a good fit, we will schedule your first appointment in your first call. In most cases, we can see you within 2 days, if not same day or next day. This appointment can be virtual or in-person based on your preference. Depending on your insurance, it could also be at no cost to you.
Person attends a virtual therapy appointment
Step 3
Your first appointment
At your first appointment, you will meet with a care team member who will create your customized treatment plan. The care team member could be a nurse, a doctor, a therapist or a care coordinator depending on your specific needs.
Peer support
Step 4
The journey to feeling better
Depending on your needs we will schedule your next appointments and ensure you are getting the right care. Aspects of this journey include: therapy, prescription refills, peer coaching, health coaching, and on-going support to truly get better.

Commonly Asked Questions

While detoxification is not always required before starting medication-assisted treatment, it may be recommended in some instances. Detoxification, also known as detox, is a process that helps to manage withdrawal symptoms and prepare the body for MAT safely. During detoxification, the body undergoes a series of changes as it eliminates toxins and adjusts to the absence of the substance it has become dependent on. This process can be challenging and uncomfortable, as withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. 

The decision to undergo MAT should be made in consultation with an addiction specialist or healthcare provider. They will consider various factors, such as the type and severity of substance use disorder, your overall health, and your readiness for treatment. In some cases, detoxification may be necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of MAT. 

Depending on the substance abused, withdrawal can be fatal. For example, long-term alcoholism can result in seizures upon quitting drinking. This is why you can’t start a medication like Disulifram which makes alcohol putrid, because you will end up quitting alcohol cold turkey leading to potentially dangerous consequences. So while the goal is MAT, you will need to detox first and then start a medication.

These medications can assist in recovery by blocking or reversing the effects of opioids. They can be administered in the form of a tablet, film, implant, or injection. Injections will need to be administered at an Eleanor Health clinic.

Buprenorphine (Subutex, Sublocade)

Buprenorphine/Naloxone films or tablets (Suboxone or Zubsolv)

Naltrexone

Naloxone (Narcan)

Eleanor Health does not prescribe Methadone.

Learn more about medications for opioid addiction treatment.

These medications can reduce alcohol cravings but should not be taken while consuming alcohol due to serious side effects:

Acamprosate (formerly Campral)

Disulfiram (Antabuse)

Naltrexone (Vivitrol or Revia)

Learn more about medications for alcohol addiction treatment.

Eleanor Health accepts most major insurance plans including Aetna, Wellpoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicaid, and United Healthcare. If we don’t contract with your insurance plan, we will work with your out-of-network benefits to ensure you still benefit from insurance.
Call us or fill out this insurance verification form and one of our specialists will reach out to you to discuss what services may be covered and additional payment options.

Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) is considered to be highly effective. Studies have shown that MAT can reduce the risk of death from a substance use disorder by more than 50% and up to 90% of people who use MAT maintain their sobriety at the 2 year mark.

Learn more about Medications for Addiction Treatment

Discover important information about medications for opioid and alcohol addiction, including potential side effects and recommendations.

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We know reaching out can be hard. Call today to speak with one of our recovery specialists. We will listen, learn, and offer support – without judgment. We welcome every person in need of support and we believe in you and your ability to overcome addiction.