A Closer Look at Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

The latest numbers provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimate that at least two million people in the United States are dealing with an opioid use disorder. Opioid use disorder includes addiction to both heroin and pain medications that contain opiates. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be one of the most effective ways to overcome opioid addiction.


The Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment is a unique form of outpatient treatment for opioid addiction. Highly effective, the treatment process offers several advantages for those undergoing treatment.


Low Cost

The costs of different types of MAT treatment can vary according to the medications and methodologies used and the state where you live. However, in general, MAT is considered to be a low-cost option for opioid addiction treatment, especially when compared to the costs of residential detox and treatment programs. For example, methadone treatment with daily visits costs on average $126 per week on average nationwide. By contrast, residential treatment programs can be as much as $17,000 per month and more. Even more important, insurance, including programs like Medicaid, often covers the full cost of MAT.


Controlled Conditions

MAT is a controlled route to recovery. Medications are dispensed daily at the beginning at a controlled facility, which means there is no danger or temptation to take more medication than prescribed. Most people find that they can be more successful with avoiding opioid substances with the controlled dispensing of their MAT because they are not experiencing withdrawal symptoms.


No Need for Detox

Detox is the process of an abused substance leaving the body, and the process can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. Normally, people who have been accustomed to using an opioid every day are advised to enter a medical facility for supervised detox. With MAT, those undergoing treatment are getting medications that specifically keep withdrawal symptoms at bay even though the abused substance is not being used.


Scalable Treatment Plans

Not every substance-use disorder is the same. Each individual that enters treatment can have their own personal history, medical concerns, and more that will affect how the treatment should proceed. MAT is considered a scalable way to address opioid addiction. Those in treatment can have their doses of assisting medicine adjusted until they feel more at a normal, sober state and do not experience opioid cravings. For example, someone who is just starting with methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) may start at a low dose and work with their doctor to gradually raise the dose until they make it through the day comfortably.


No Life Interruption

MAT does not require a patient to enter a residential program that can make it impossible for them to go to work or handle family commitments. The patient can simply obtain their treatment by visiting the provider as recommended, but continue to go to work or take care of their children.


What medications are used for MAT treatment?

Three primary medications are used for medication-supported treatment for opioid dependency: buprenorphine, naloxone, and methadone. While all medications have their advantages, methadone, an opioid agonist medication, is perhaps the longest-standing option for medication-supported treatment for addiction.

Methadone maintenance treatment has actually been in use since 1964 to help people struggling with various substance-use disorders. Numerous studies have shown that treatment with combined MMT and therapy is effective for preventing relapse. MMT is also considered safe for pregnant women with minimal effects on the developing baby.


Does MAT really work?

MAT has been examined numerous times for its efficacy for people who have an opioid addiction and has been proven to be effective. According to SAMHSA, MAT has been shown to:

  • Reduce the risks of overdose
  • Decrease the use of illicit opiates
  • Increase the likelihood of staying in treatment
  • Help individuals find and retain employment
  • Reduce risks of contracting certain diseases, such as hepatitis C and HIV
  • Improve birth outcomes for women who are pregnant with a substance-use disorder

MAT is actually considered one of the most effective ways to treat people who have a substance use disorder by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.


Find your path to recovery with MAT in Rolling Meadows, IL

At Recovery by Therapeutic Interventions, we’ve been helping patients struggling with opioid addiction for more than two decades. Our Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) has been the key to many patients finding their own paths to recovery, and we’re here to do the same for you. If you would like to know more about MAT, reach out to us for more information.


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