Medication Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse

Medication Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse

Recover from Alcohol and Drug Abuse with MAT

Many people who are dependent on alcohol and opiate drugs are afraid to seek help for their addiction because they can't imagine what their life would be like without the substance their addicted to. People who have never abused drugs or alcohol may have fears of addiction but many people who are dependent on alcohol or drugs have fears of treatment.

Today there are medications used in drug abuse treatment programs that are combined with a wide range of therapies that can improve your chances of a full recovery keeping you comfortable at the same time.

Using drugs during treatment of a disease is called pharmacotherapy. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) is a type of pharmacotherapy that describes any type of treatment that's used for substance use disorders that includes a pharmacologic intervention as a part of their treatment plan. When including MAT in substance abuse treatment, the main goal is for the patient to recover and to be able to fully function in society. This form of substance abuse treatment is very successful for anyone seeking recovery from opiates and alcohol dependency.

Medically assisted treatment for alcohol and opioid addiction has proved to be effective in the United States when combing medications with a comprehensive treatment program for people in need of treatment and recovery.

  1. MAT Combined With Comprehensive Treatment
  2. MAT improves the survival rate for those dependent on alcohol and opioids
  3. Addicts are much more able to retain what they're learning through treatment
  4. The opiate user is much less likely to use opiates
  5. Decreases hepatitis and HIV seroconversion
  6. Criminal activities are decreased associated with alcohol and opiate abuse
  7. Employment increases because the individual is able to work and maintain employment
  8. Childbirth outcomes are improved for the addict

There are several medications used for opioid and alcohol addiction. Medications used for alcohol addiction are Naltrexone, Disulfiram and Acamprosate Calcium. For Opioid addiction Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone medications are used during medically assisted treatment.


Vivitrol is the brand name for naltrexone. Naltrexone is a time released injectable medication that's administered once a month to the alcohol dependent patient that's stopped drinking during treatment. Naltrexone reduces alcohol cravings and helps the alcoholic avoid the urge to drink again. ReVia is the brand name for oral form of naltrexone that's used for the same purpose. Naltrexone is not designed for the alcoholic that's still drinking it's designed to reduce cravings for alcohol while the individual is receiving treatment for their dependency. Naltrexone is combined with comprehensive treatment therapies to reduce cravings and help maintain abstinence while working toward sobriety and recovery.

Naltrexone is also used for treating opioid addiction. When the individual has stopped using opiate drugs and working toward recovery naltrexone helps to reduce opiate drug cravings. Combining naltrexone with comprehensive treatment therapies increases the opiate user's chance for a successful recovery.


Antabuse is the brand name for Disulfiram which is a medication that's given to a chronic alcoholic while they're going through treatment to recover from their dependency to alcohol. Disulfiram is a medication that's taken by the patient to help them avoid drinking alcohol. If the patient drinks alcohol while taking Disulfiram very unpleasant side effects will occur.

Disulfiram is never given to a patient if they're intoxicated or without the patient's knowledge. The patient can't have alcohol in their system when taking this medication. The patient needs to wait for at least 12 hours after drinking before taking Disulfiram, this is very important. Disulfiram is used by the patient to help them avoid the use of alcohol but it's not a cure for alcoholism.

Consuming any amount of alcohol which includes small amounts while taking Disulfiram, the individual will experience the following very unpleasant effects:

  1. Face will become flushed
  2. Headaches
  3. Nausea
  4. Vomiting
  5. Chest pain
  6. Weakness
  7. Blurry vision
  8. Mental confusion
  9. Perspiring
  10. Choking
  11. Difficulties with breathing
  12. Anxiety

Acamprosate Calcium

When a patient is already abstinent before going into treatment for their alcohol problem Acamprosate may be given to them. Acamprosate helps to decrease the physical and emotional effects an individual goes through after they're abstinent from alcohol. Sweating, anxiety and sleep difficulties can be experienced for weeks or even months after they have stopped drinking. Once alcohol withdrawal is over and the alcoholic has stopped drinking, Acamprosate makes abstinence much easier on the patient while working on their sobriety and recovery.


Methadone is a man-made opioid that's been used for over 40 years relieving drug cravings and eliminating withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin and prescription opiate medication addiction. Methadone helps to relieve opiate withdrawal symptoms for around 24 to 36 hours in patients. Methadone drug therapy taken once a day is combined with comprehensive treatment and therapy to help the individual dependent on opiates maintain abstinence while they work toward recovery.


Buprenorphine is an opioid but the effects are much less than heroin and methadone. Using low doses of buprenorphine helps opiate addicted individuals stop their use of opiate drugs and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone is also used to treat individuals addicted to opiates. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone was approved for the treatment of opiate addiction on August 30, 2010. Suboxone tablets are dissolved under the tongue and never chewed or swallowed, suboxone sublingual film is dissolved under the tongue also. When combining comprehensive substance abuse treatment with suboxone treatment, individuals addicted to opiate drugs can successfully recover from their addiction.

Combining medications with counseling and behavioral therapy individual's addicted to drugs and alcohol stand a much higher chance of recovering from their dependency. Addicts are able to change their behaviors and the way they look at drugs or alcohol. Medication assisted treatment also helps the addicted substance user stay in treatment longer which reduces the chance of relapse and increases their success in recovery.

Many people complain about some of the medications listed above, especially methadone and say they're addictive and lead to dependency. If you're serious about getting help for your addiction to alcohol or drugs and you're willing to work hard to recover, you can and you will. Dedicated people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol recover from their addiction all the time. Counselors and Therapists are there to help in any way they can but it's up to you to work hard and be honest with them. If you're having a problem with a medication that's prescribed to help you during treatment it's up to you to let them know.

Counselors, Therapists and treatment staff members want to see you succeed and recover from alcohol or drug addiction and they will work with you no matter you're your needs are. Medication treatment therapy is designed to help the addict recover but if treatment medications are abused it will only make a person's life more miserable, decrease your health, increase relapse and stand in your way of a healthy substance free future.

Websites Used
PubMed Health

Topic Discussion

  1. Addict

    While going through this post I felt that you have done a lot of research on the topic, I appreciate your efforts and glad that I found your blog. Keep posting such informative content.

  2. Addict

    What is so great about a substance free future? It sucks

  3. Addict

    First off naltrexone isnt for withdrawels.i know i used it.secondly its used to stop addicts from using drugs or alcohol,and first was used just for alcoholics only til they find out it also used on heroin addicts like me. Whom is on methadone which sux. U get fat sweaty tired. Lazy. Its just a replacement for other drug being it does same dam thing. U think ur clean cause u get doses daily and are not sick. The reason ppl dont use is cause methadone and suboxone. Bupernorphines suboxen also. U withdraw just as much. As methadon, reason u ddont use is cause u are fullfilling them opiod receptors with a opiate get it ahh. Just lasts longer. And i see pol messed up on xanax and coke. All the time

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