Heroin addiction and opiate addiction, which treatment professionals refer to as opioid use disorder, are physical and psychological disorders in which the body and brain become dependent on opioids. This disease has been around for a long time. From opium to Carfentanil, it is a disease that ignores demographics attacking people of all races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. Opioid use disorder is a disease that’s stealing thousands of lives a year. It is a disease that requires a multifaceted treatment approach. Fortunately, treatment professionals are better equipped to treat this illness. One way is through medication-assisted treatment or MAT. Over the past decade, MAT program benefits have become clear. Here at Harmony Hills, our team of experienced and compassionate counselors, therapists, and medical professionals can guide you through the process.
MAT Program Benefits and Medications Used
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) refers to evidenced-based effective medications prescribed and administered by treatment professionals that can help recover someone with opioid use disorder. They work on the brain receptor – the mu-opioid receptor – that yearns for opioids. They allow an individual to regain control over their life. As of now, there are three medications FDA approved to treat opioid use disorder. They all have good evidence that people can lead to more functional and effective lives with proven decreases in blood born infections, crime, homelessness, and unemployment:
- Methadone: Methadone is a full opioid agonist – this means it binds to the mu-opioid receptor and fully activates it. It helps by occupying the receptor so that another opioid can’t. People on methadone are dosed daily out of specialized clinics. The methadone attaches to the receptor all day and prevents withdrawal and cravings, allowing them to effectively go about their day.
- Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial mu-opioid agonist. It binds to the same mu-opioid receptor but only partially activates it. It still helps prevent withdrawal and cravings but doesn’t have a full effect like other opioids. This allows for a decreased risk of overdose and death. Buprenorphine can be prescribed, which means it may be even easier for someone to return to their daily life and not have to go to a clinic daily. It is often combined with naloxone to help prevent misuse.
- Naltrexone: Naltrexone works by also binding to the mu-opioid receptor. Unlike the above two medications, though, it completely blocks the activity of the receptor. It holds onto the receptor tightly and prevents other opioids from binding, which means if someone tries to use an opioid, it likely won’t work. This allows people to effectively know that they cannot get high and relieves the cravings to use in time. It is also available as a prescription of either an oral medication or a long-acting injectable once a month.
How Is MAT Different?
MAT is most effective in combination with psychotherapy and recovery support. When people use opioids, they escape – not feel the pain of withdrawal, not feel sadness, anxiety, physical pain, not experience the world. People effectively using MAT take medications for the opposite reason. They are in treatment to regain their lives, feel emotions, work, and function in society. This is how they differ. They help people engage instead of running away.
These medications are all effective options, each with its own positives and negatives. It is important that whatever you decide, you speak with your healthcare provider. Everything has risks, and nothing is perfect, but the evidence supports that medications can help. If you or someone you know is suffering, don’t let them go at it alone. Don’t let them stay in the shadows, ashamed of their disease. Reach out to Harmony Hills today at 855.494.0357 for our opioid addiction treatment program. We want to help.
Need Help for Substance Abuse?
Every individual struggling with addiction at a substance use treatment center has unique challenges facing them, making their path to recovery different from everyone else’s. Our experienced and compassionate team at Harmony Hills offers a wide range of therapeutic options to treat substance use disorder or addiction. We understand giving individuals options means they stand a better chance of identifying, overcoming, and healing from the disease of addiction. Some of the therapies we offer include:
- 12 step therapy program
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- EMDR therapy
- Family therapy program
- Group therapy program
- Individual therapy program
- Relapse prevention therapy
- Trauma therapy program
All of these and other treatments are offered across all our programs. Reach out to us today by calling 855.494.0357, and we’ll answer your questions and concerns. Let us help you or a loved one heal and get back to living a healthy life.