While millions of Americans struggle with addiction, only about 10% get the help they need. Among those who do get help, 40-60% relapse at some point in their recovery.
Addiction can cause life-altering consequences ranging from physical and mental health problems to social and legal challenges. It’s vital for individuals to have access to treatment that not only gets people in the door by promising relief for withdrawal symptoms but also treatment that really works. One evidence-based addiction treatment approach that can both alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse is called medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
If you or a loved one are interested in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) support programs in North Carolina, please contact Next Step Recovery today.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and How Does it Work?
Medication-assisted treatment, commonly referred to as MAT, is an integrated form of addiction treatment that combines medications with behavioral therapy and counseling. Medications aim to alleviate discomfort, reduce drug cravings, and stabilize brain chemistry while behavioral therapy and counseling help individuals process difficult emotions, treat mental health conditions, and learn healthy coping skills.
While medications alone cannot cure addiction, this type of comprehensive approach has been proven to:
- Improve treatment outcomes
- Reduce the rate of relapse and overdose
- Improve treatment retention
- Decrease criminal behaviors associated with substance use disorder
Medications used in MAT may include:
- Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone)
- Sublocade (buprenorphine)
- ReVia (naltrexone)
- Vivitrol (naltrexone intramuscular)
These medications are combined with a variety of group and individual therapies, including, but not limited to:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Motivational Interviewing (MI)
- Contingency Management (CM)
- Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
- Family behavior therapy
- Trauma-focused therapy
- Holistic therapies (adventure therapy, music, art, yoga, meditation, nutrition, and others)
Who Should Consider MAT?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may not be right for everyone. It typically isn’t used in people with mild substance use disorders or those who are addicted to stimulants or benzodiazepines. There are only MAT drugs approved to treat opioid and alcohol use disorders.
MAT is best for people who are struggling with a severe addiction to opioids or alcohol and those who are considered to be at high risk for relapse. For example, if you’ve been addicted to heroin for several years and have relapsed more than once in the past without MAT, you may be an ideal candidate for medication-assisted treatment in North Carolina.
What to Look for in a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program in North Carolina
The best medication-assisted treatment programs won’t rely on medications alone to treat your addiction. They will employ a variety of evidence-based therapies and supportive services that are designed to help you succeed. When looking for a MAT rehab in North Carolina, you’ll want to make sure the program has the following.
Many MAT medications can’t be started until you’ve detoxed, but detoxing alone can be extremely difficult. Detoxing at a medical detox program will give you access to medications for your symptoms and supportive care. Some medications like Suboxone may be started 1-3 days into the detox process.
Individualized Medication Management
Everyone is unique and what works for you may not work for the next person. As a result, it’s important to choose a program that offers individualized care and medication management. What this looks like is targeting treatments, services, and medications to your unique needs. This may also involve regular doctor’s visits to discuss your medication compliance, adjust your dose, talk about how well you’re liking the medication, or switch medications if needed. People may stay on MAT medications for various lengths of time, so your MAT should be tailored to your individual medical needs.
The most trusted and credible medication-assisted treatment programs in North Carolina will be accredited by a distinguished accrediting organization such as the Joint Commission or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). These accreditations signify the rehab center’s ability to provide safe and effective treatment.
In addition to medications and behavioral therapy, the best MAT programs will include additional services in their program to help clients succeed in their recovery. These services may include:
- Case management
- Mental health counseling
- Psychiatric care
- Sober housing
- Aftercare support
- Relapse prevention planning
- Alumni program
Find out if Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is Right For You
While Next Step Recovery is not a MAT provider, we support the use of MAT and can provide MAT clients with the therapeutic support programs they need to sustain recovery. MAT support programs like ours are tailored to meet your individual needs and we recommend men who are at high risk of relapse for MAT programs. By combining medications like Sublocade and Vivitrol with evidence-based therapies and peer support, you can achieve and maintain your recovery.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and ready to take the first step toward recovery or would like to learn more about medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in North Carolina, please contact us today.
- American Medical Association (AMA): 90% who need substance-use disorder treatment don’t get it, Retrieved March 2023 from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/overdose-epidemic/90-who-need-substance-use-disorder-treatment-don-t-get-it
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Treatment and Recovery, Retrieved March 2023 from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Medications for Substance Use Disorders, Retrieved March 2023 from https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Medications, Counseling, and Related Conditions, Retrieved March 2023 from https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions