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What Are the Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment?

a woman sits and talks with her doctor about the benefits of medication-assisted treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) is an evidence-based treatment that is highly effective yet still misunderstood. Many traditional 12-step-based approaches to addiction treatment continue to believe that using medications replaces one addiction for another.

However, when used properly, the FDA-approved drugs used in MAT are highly effective in comprehensive treatment, particularly for opioid addiction. At MD M.A.T.T., we know that opioid addiction is a disease and that using medications like Suboxone is no different from using insulin to treat diabetes.

Our medication-assisted treatment program offers intensive treatment by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, counselors, and psychiatrists who are leaders in OUD treatment. We recognize that MAT is not for everyone and carefully screen prospective patients for our program. Call 410.816.9457 to learn more about the benefits of medication-assisted treatment.

Understanding the Benefits of MAT

At MD M.A.T.T., we focus on Suboxone treatment to help our patients overcome opioid use disorder. Our dedicated team relies on current research and evidence-based practices to ensure the best treatment outcomes for each patient who comes to us seeking recovery.

We know that medication-assisted treatment does not work on its own but is an integral part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program customized to each patient’s individual needs. The benefits of medication-assisted treatment can include the following:

  • Relief of withdrawal symptoms
  • Increased participation in treatment
  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Decreased illicit opioid use
  • Reduced criminal activity
  • Reduce the potential for relapse and overdose

MAT is proven to reduce the need for inpatient detoxification services, reduce risk-taking behaviors, including criminal activities, and significantly reduce overdoses and morbidity. The American Medical Association (AMA)  and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) both endorse MAT’s effectiveness in treating opioid use disorder.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Withdrawal

Most people with OUD have experienced withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild discomfort to what feels like unrelenting pain, depending on a person’s level of dependence or addiction. The fear of withdrawal symptoms is one of the most significant barriers to treatment. It is a primary reason people continue to abuse opioids even when they recognize the risks of OUD and want to stop.

Individuals who try to stop using opioids on their own find themselves stuck in a cycle of perpetual relapse because they cannot withstand the withdrawal symptoms. The commonly recognized stages of opioid withdrawal are:

  • The anticipatory stage – Within three to four hours after the last use, this is marked by increasing anxiety or fear about experiencing withdrawal, cravings, and drug-seeking behaviors.
  • The early acute stage – This stage begins eight to ten hours after the last dose. Symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, and flu-like symptoms. Cravings and drug-seeking behaviors become stronger.
  • The fully developed acute stage – Occurring one to three days after the last dose, symptoms are at their peak, with tremors, muscle spasms, insomnia, and digestive issues. This is when cravings peak.
  • Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) – This phase can last up to 24 months after the last use. While acute symptoms decrease, individuals may experience anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, and more. Cravings still exist, and individuals are highly susceptible to triggers for relapse.

MAT helps to minimize withdrawal symptoms by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain. Most often, Suboxone can be given 12 hours after the last dose of opioids, helping to minimize the most difficult stages of withdrawal. Patients not focused on withdrawal symptoms can better direct their attention to treatment and recovery.

Contact MD M.A.T.T. for Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

At MD M.A.T.T., we understand the challenges of opioid use disorder. We specialize in creating individualized treatment plans using Suboxone-focused medication-assisted treatment.

Our highly-trained team of doctors, counselors, and psychiatrists is dedicated to helping end the opioid epidemic. We believe that effective treatment for opioid addiction should be accessible to everyone. MAT helps patients overcome opioid use disorder and experience lasting recovery. Contact us at 410.816.9457 to learn more about the benefits of medication-assisted treatment.