doctor prescribing medication-assisted treatment

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment is the cornerstone of our work here at Direct2Recovery. As a substance use disorder management and treatment facility, we strive to create the best outcomes for all of our patients. That’s why we leverage medication-assisted treatment to increase the chances for those to recover. What is medication-assisted treatment? It’s their best chance to get a healthy life back!

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (shortened as MAT) combines medication and behavioral therapy, creating a holistic approach to treat substance use disorders.  It is a two-pronged approach to create the best environment and scenario conducive to recovery.

Why is Behavioral Therapy Necessary?

Addiction is a learned behavior that changes the brain. The brain becomes conditioned to continually want the substance. Without addressing this change, fighting addiction can be a losing battle! 

Through counseling and other behavioral health modifications, it has been shown to be possible to change the brain physically.  Changes in our environment, jobs, new friends, even starting new hobbies, all can alter the way our brain works in some way. In doing so, it is possible to undo some of the changes that occurred while addicted. Therapy helps recondition the brain closer to pre-addiction status.  This will better prepare the patient for a time when they may no longer require medication.

Why is Medication Necessary?

Treating substance use disorders with medication isnt the only way to go about it, but here at Direct2Recovery we know it’s one of the most effective for a variety of reasons. 

Addiction is also known as chemical dependency because users’ brains and bodies become adapted to the use of those substances. When users quit, their body can immediately experience withdrawal symptoms as the body tries to function without the chemical it had become dependent on.

For instance, in those who use opioids, the withdrawal symptoms can begin within 24 hours after the last use and include:

  • muscle aches
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • teary eyes
  • runny nose
  • excessive sweating
  • inability to sleep
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramping
  • Goosebumps
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dilated pupils 
  • blurry vision
  • rapid heartbeat
  • high blood pressure

Fighting of withdrawal symptoms can do a number on a person, and often it is the first huge hurdle in recovery. Some fail right then and there. Medication can help.

Medications that are specifically created to help recovering addicts, like Suboxone or Buprenorphine, are designed to replace opioids in the eyes of users’ bodies. It’s like switching from coffee to decaf, it’s different, but it’s still something. This allows recovering addicts to get through that crucial time and on the right track.

Medication can reduce cravings and withdrawal, but recovering from an addictive disorder requires a rewiring of the brain and for that, medication alone is not enough.  Attention to eliminating things in life that cause stress or depression will help minimize the chance of relapse.  Disassociating with friends who are in active addiction can be difficult but very necessary.  An experienced counselor/therapist will be able to teach other techniques that will further help undo some of the brain changes and conditioned learning that occurred while becoming and once addicted.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Works.

Quitting substance use is incredibly difficult and left to themselves only 10% of users will recover without any additional help. That’s why we bring everything together to give them the best odds.

Recovery by the Numbers:

  • 10% of users recover from addiction without additional help
  • 25% recovery with medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • 50% recover with a combination of Direct2Recovery’s MAT and counseling

This approach of integrated care takes each piece and brings them together in a comprehensive treatment plan to help our clients and give them every opportunity to reclaim their lives. Every effort can be powerful, but combining them together amplifies the potential.

Are you ready to reclaim your life? To start your journey to recovery? Do you or a loved one struggle with addiction? Contact our Phoenix outpatient rehab clinic today and start the next chapter.

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