As the opioid crisis devastated the country over the past decade, American physicians realized that opioid addiction treatment requires additional means to control it. The intense cravings associated with opioid use disorder (OUD) challenges people in recovery programs, despite their dedication.
Due to this condition, the addiction and recovery communities started recognizing the importance of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Besides, People on MAT still have to undergo therapy sessions and often attend group meetings, which are the basis of full recovery. However, health providers also use various medications to help users manage their cravings.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a term that describes the use of drugs, along with behavioral therapies and counseling. This process is useful for treating opioid use disorders (OUD) while helping some to maintain their recovery.
Currently, opioid use disorder requires MAT as the standard way of therapy. However, addiction recovery experts expect the production of further medications to control other types of drug addiction, such as methamphetamine.
Various medications used to treat opioid use disorder in addiction centers fall in the category of medication-assisted-treatment. Below are some of the most common drugs used for MAT.
Methadone is an approved medication for opioid addiction treatment given in low doses to prevent withdrawals and cravings. However, those who use methadone treatment need regular visits to their clinics to obtain prescriptions. The drug is highly effective for treatment programs requiring about six months.
Buprenorphine is another opioid medication safer than methadone. Its safety enables people using it for addiction treatment to obtain regular prescriptions and allowing them to visit their health providers every two to four weeks, or less frequently. Many people find this convenient rather than the daily visits offered by the methadone clinic.
Naltrexone acts by blocking opioid receptors in the brain. Many health providers prefer using it because it is not an opiate, unlike buprenorphine and methadone. Therefore, the chances of people abusing it are minimal. Usually, people use it as a daily pill, while others require once a month injection during treatment. Also, those struggling with alcohol use disorder find this drug beneficial.
The primary function of disulfiram is to discourage people from alcohol consumption. People who have performed a successful detox from alcohol use disorder are prescribed this drug. It is also a daily pill that blocks the metabolism of alcohol in the body. However, people should be careful not to combine alcohol and disulfiram simultaneously since it causes drug interaction problems such as vomiting, sweating, headaches, among other symptoms.
Acamprosate controls alcohol cravings. Before using this medication, a person should be sober and avoid alcohol consumption for about five days. Users usually take a pill three times daily.
A word from the Recover for Addiction Treatment
To control underlying conditions effectively, health providers use medications to treat addiction to increase the likelihood of maintaining sobriety.
However, it is crucial to work with a professional treatment provider near you with expert experience to treat both substance use disorder and co-occurring mental illness. Also, professionals rehab centers can help you obtain the necessary drugs to treat substance use disorder.
While medications are beneficial for opioid or alcohol use disorder, they are not the only available treatments. Additionally, MAT is useful when people combine medications with therapy and behavioral programs.