Is medication-assisted treatment effective? This article will discuss its effectiveness for treating various substance use disorders (SUDs) and where you can find help in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Substance use disorder is a mental health disorder that alters the brain, leading to uncontrollable urges to use a substance despite the negative consequences.
It is a serious public health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. In 2021, 46.3 million people aged twelve or older in the United States had an SUD.1
One of the most challenging aspects of treating SUD is preventing relapse. It can occur due to various factors. Some are cravings, withdrawal symptoms, stress, triggers, and co-occurring mental health issues.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. It uses FDA-approved medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and help prevent relapse.
Is medication-assisted treatment effective for individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders and substance use disorders?
Another study published in 2018 found that MAT can effectively help individuals with co-occurring severe mental illness and AUD. The results showed reduced hospitalizations and emergency department visits and improved adherence to medications.4
Is medication-assisted treatment effective for everyone? As with all treatments, the effectiveness of MAT varies from person to person.
Some people may have medical conditions, allergies, or interactions that prevent them from taking MAT medications. Others may not respond to medications well, requiring alternative treatments.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that activates the same receptors as other opioids but does not produce euphoria.
The medication reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. Methadone is taken orally once a day under medical supervision at a licensed clinic.
This medication is a partial opioid agonist that binds to the same receptors as other opioids but has a lower potential for abuse. Buprenorphine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids.
Qualified physicians and nurse practitioners can prescribe buprenorphine, and patients can take it at home as a tablet or film under the tongue or cheek.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that binds to opioid and endorphin receptors in the brain. The FDA approved this medication for opioid and alcohol addiction. It prevents relapse by eliminating any reward from using opioids and blocks the effects of alcohol.
Medical professionals can administer naltrexone as a monthly injection (Vivitrol) or daily pill (Revia).
This medication restores the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain affected by chronic alcohol use. Acamprosate reduces withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and dysphoria, that can trigger a relapse.
Patients recovering from AUD typically take two tablets of acamprosate orally three times a day.
This medication partially activates nicotine receptors in the brain while blocking nicotine from binding to them. Varenicline reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings while diminishing the rewarding effects of smoking.
Patients recovering from nicotine addiction typically take varenicline orally twice daily for up to twelve weeks.
MAT is not a standalone treatment. While medication-assisted treatment includes medication and behavioral therapy, there are still other components needed for a full, successful recovery. Medical professionals often integrate it into holistic treatment plans to treat physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Other therapies can include alternative or complementary modalities that can support the recovery process. These can include mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture, art therapy, music therapy, exercise, nutrition, and more. These therapies can help reduce stress, increase relaxation, boost mood, and improve physical and mental health.
Advaita Integrated Medicine offers MAT as part of our comprehensive treatment program for substance use disorders. Our facility in Raleigh will provide you with an individualized assessment and treatment plan that can include medication management, counseling, and other evidence-based therapies to address your specific needs and goals.
AIM has a team of qualified professionals trained and experienced in providing MAT safely and effectively. We also provide ongoing support and aftercare services to help you sustain your recovery long-term.
Is medication-assisted treatment effective? MAT is an effective solution for treating SUDs and can help people achieve and maintain recovery.
Is medication-assisted treatment effective for you? Find out today with Advaita Integrated Medicine.