Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (Mat) Right for You?

If you have a problem with drugs, alcohol, or both and have decided to seek help, congratulations are definitely in order; you’re part of a minority committed to breaking the cycle of addiction and getting your life back on track. According to data published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, of the more than 23 million people in the U.S. with a substance abuse problem, only 10% ever bother to seek help. And there is a plurality of things that keep them from taking this first critical step on the road to sobriety, one of which is the nightmarish withdrawal symptoms that come with abruptly quitting drugs, alcohol, or both. Even those who have not been there personally know someone or have heard about how difficult withdrawal symptoms are when going through detox.

The Reality of Going Through Detox

Irrespective of your drug of choice, overcoming addiction almost always requires going through detox. And as a byproduct of that, you will invariably encounter an onslaught of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Now, before enumerating those symptoms, we should probably take a moment to discuss what it means to go through detox first. When an individual stops supplying their body with the drugs or alcohol that it has grown used to receiving, it will naturally begin the detox process, which entails slowly ridding itself of drugs or alcohol in your system and other harmful contaminants.

Depending on an individual’s drug of choice and the severity of their addiction, detox can take a few days or a few weeks. During those few days or few weeks, withdrawal symptoms will begin to present themselves. Some are so severe that many individuals quit rehab and abandon their dreams of ever achieving sobriety. Some of these withdrawal symptoms, many of which kick in within hours of an individual taking their final hit of a drug or swig of alcohol, include

  • Changes in mood and appetite
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Vomiting

Available data shows that the average relapse rate among individuals in rehab for a substance abuse problem is between 40 and 60%. And the vast majority of those who have relapsed say the previously mentioned withdrawal symptoms contributed to them doing so. While they might not always help, medication-assisted treatments offered by most licensed rehab facilities can reduce an individual’s chances of falling victim to relapse as they go through detox.

Is Medication-Assisted Treatment Right for You?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), also known as medication-assisted detox, is a godsend for many people trying to break the cycle of addiction. Most say they would not have made it through detox if they had to go without it. For those not in the know, medication-assisted treatment consists of round-the-clock monitoring by physicians or nurses and prescription-based drugs to help individuals get through detox safely. This aspect of addiction recovery is especially beneficial to those trying to overcome an addiction to opioids or alcohol. And this is because these two substances, in particular, can produce the most intense withdrawal symptoms when individuals stop using. If you have a problem with either of these substances, it is reasonably safe to say you’re a good candidate for medication-assisted treatments.

Prescription-Based Drugs That Are Part of the Medication-Assisted Treatments Offered in Rehab

The prescription-based drugs offered to individuals going through detox as part of a medication-assisted treatment will depend on the substance they were abusing before starting an addiction recovery program. For example, those detoxing from opioids are likely to be given one or more of the following FDA-approved drugs to help ease detox-related withdrawal symptoms:

  • Naloxone
  • Lofexidine
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Methadone
  • Suboxone

When individuals are trying to end their relationship with alcohol, on the other hand, and are struggling with alcohol-related withdrawal symptoms, they will most likely receive one or more of the following FDA-approved medications:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram
  • Acamprosate

Along with FDA-approved medications, many rehab facilities will provide individuals with electrolytes to combat dehydration caused by profuse sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting, all of which go hand-in-hand with the abrupt cessation of opioids or alcohol.

Bottom Line

In summary, medication-assisted treatments make achieving sobriety easier for those struggling with a severe addiction. The round-the-clock monitoring ensures individuals can receive immediate medical care should something go wrong during detox. Meanwhile, prescription-based medications help ease pain, dehydration, fatigue, and other withdrawal symptoms brought on by the abrupt cessation of drugs or alcohol. To learn more about medication-assisted treatments and whether or not such addiction recovery protocols are right for you, consider speaking with one of our associates today at 302-842-2390.

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Essentials mission is to renew lives impacted by addiction through personalized and complete behavioral healthcare. Our main purpose is to provide services and education to the client and family that will support long lasting recovery of mind, body, and spirit.