Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of certain medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a unique approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. For some struggling with addiction, MAT can make a world of difference in long-term recovery. These clinics are also often known as suboxone clinics. The prescribed medication normalizes brain chemistry, relieves physiological cravings, and normalizes body functions without the abused substance’s negative withdrawal effects.

opioid addiction treatment

Why MAT and Suboxone Clinics Work for Opioid Addiction

Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) is typically used for opioid based addictions to substances like here in Arizona:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Vicodin
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Carfentanil

Opioids diminish the body’s perception of pain. However, they can also have an impact on other systems of the body, including altering mood, slowing breathing, and causing constipation. Opioid receptor binding causes the signs and symptoms of overdose as well as the euphoric effects or “high” with opioid use. MAT works by acting on the same targets in the brain as heroin and morphine.

For example, methadone and buprenorphine suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids at their receptor sites in the brain and is used only in patients who have already been detoxified.

More rarely, MAT can be used for alcohol use disorders. Three medications have been FDA-approved for treating alcohol addiction. One of these is Naltrexone, like how it works for opioids, it helps reduce cravings for both opioids and alcohol. 

What Medications Are Used in MAT?

Medications used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has approved several medications to treat opioid addiction and alcohol dependence.

As we mentioned before, a misconception associated with MAT is that it substitutes one drug for another. In reality, these medications relieve withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings. MAT programs provide a safe and controlled level of medication, this can help overcome use of an abused opioid.

Some medications used in MAT are:

  • Naloxone (Evzio, Narcan)
  • Naltrexone (Revia, Vivitrol)
  • Buprenorphine (Belbuca, Buprenex, Butrans, Suboxone, Subutex)
  • Methadone (Diskets, Dolophine, Methadose)

Our sites do not use methadone but other sites are known to.

Why Are MAT Programs So Successful at Treating Opioid Addiction in Arizona?

MAT programs are clinically driven. In Arizona, an annual average of about 31,000 individuals aged 12 or older had used heroin in the past year, in 2014– 2015. MAT is clinically effective. It provides a more comprehensive, customized program of medication and behavioral therapy.

The ultimate goal is lifelong recovery. Research has shown many positive effects of MAT. One such positive effect is that the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C is greatly reduced. This is in part due to the lower rates of relapse, which comes from having a good plan.

This treatment approach is also known to:

  • Improve patient survival
  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Decrease opiate use
  • Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment
  • Improve birth outcomes among pregnant women who have substance use disorders

When a person has become physically dependent upon an opioid based drug, there is the potential for withdrawal. This is common especially, if they attempt to suddenly stop taking their drug of choice.

These symptoms can be debilitating and include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drug craving
  • Weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Muscle, joint and bone pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Restless leg syndrome

These symptoms can be relieved by the administration of an opioid. Many may fall back into addiction simply to relieve the awful withdrawal symptoms. Fear of withdrawal is a significant reason why many people continue to use these substances.

The Most Common Misconception About Medication Assisted Treatment

A common misconception of MAT is it simply replaces one addiction with another. This is a common thought, but it is incorrect. MAT is NOT the substitution of one addiction for a new one. The medications are used in moderation under direct supervision just like small doses of methamphetamine are used in prescriptions for ADHD. Like any drug you get from your local pharmacy, it’s all about appropriate dose. Suboxone also has a “ceiling” meaning that it’s not possible to obtain a significant high.

Not everyone should be on suboxone, but you’re often a good fit if you meet some or many of the following criteria:

  • Addicted to opioids
  • Low-cost option
  • Option that takes Medicaid and Medicare
  • Need flexibility for work

Our trained staff will work with every individual client to assess their needs and determine whether MAT is the best option for them. Another point to note is that MAT is not the end of treatment. While it can help in the recovery process, it is not the only treatment method needed to achieve long-term recovery. MAT is most effective when used in tandem with education, evidence-based behavioral therapies, relapse prevention programs, and other treatment methods, which is why Pinnacle Peak Recovery provides both in a single program.

What is the Difference Between MAT Programs and Traditional Rehab Programs?

It is important to remember that not every type of treatment is ideal for everyone. Each person will benefit from having a tailored approach for themselves. There are various other types of treatment for addiction other than MAT and each has its own benefits.

Some options in treating drug addiction include:

  • Behavioral counseling
  • Medication
  • Medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skill training
  • Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues like depression and anxiety
  • Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse

Various care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services as needed. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.

Successful treatment has several steps:

  • Detoxification
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Medication (for opioid, tobacco, or alcohol addiction)
  • Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues like depression and anxiety
  • Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse

Suboxone clinic time commitment is vastly different from a traditional rehab setting. For example, when attending traditional rehab you can expect to have a 3-8 hour day for your recovery treatment plan. For MAT clinics in Arizona, you can expect 5-10 minute visits and 15-30 minutes behavioral health consult visits. During MAT, your initial visit will be longer, which is like a traditional setting. However, this visit is filled with questionnaires and in-depth medical assessments. These are important for verifying that MAT is the correct treatment option for you and to get insurance approval. Also, you can expect to have some semi-frequent clinic visits in the beginning as you get used to the medication and your provider monitors your progress.

Another way it is different from other traditional rehabs is with how payment can work. The actual cost to an individual varies depending on the state where the person lives, health insurance coverage, and other factors. For example, 31 state Medicaid programs, including Arizona, cover methadone maintenance treatment and suboxone clinics.

When it comes to both MAT and traditional rehab, there is the potential for insurance co-pays and other costs associated with using insurance coverage for your recovery treatment. A lot of insurance companies now cover and prefer MAT programs over traditional types of rehab. The provider will have information about total cost and payment options. We currently accept both private insurance, employer-sponsored insurance, and Medicaid for our MAT programs. We are in-network with various insurance providers as well. Our staff will happily help you navigate the process of paying for your MAT treatment, and there is often no out-of-pocket cost to patients.

Where Can I Find A Rehabilitation Center Near Me in Scottsdale, Arizona?

Finding a rehab anywhere in the U.S. that can effectively treat you or a loved one can be very difficult. Going to a safe and experienced MAT clinic or rehab is crucial in order to ensure you or a loved one can start their journey to long-term recovery.

Pinnacle Peak Recovery, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, is here for you or a loved one struggling with mental illness and addiction. We’ve been providing high quality mental health services to those across the country, and have a strong group of alumni right here in the Phoenix area who can serve as a support system. Our alumni can attest to the fact that we are dedicated to investing in quality care. We also offer a full continuum of care, from detox to outpatient. 

If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, call Pinnacle Peak Recovery at: 866-377-4813 to get help today.