Medication is sometimes used by many addiction treatment facilities to help clients manage the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. With that being said, many clients may be weary about using medications during treatment, feeling that it is counterproductive. Feeling weary about medication use when seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) is normal. However, they can actually help with withdrawal symptoms and even increase the chances of avoiding relapse.
Learning more about how medications aid in your recovery journey will help you determine if they are the right fit for you. Visit our website to learn more about our clinical services and intensive outpatient program (IOP) at West Coast Recovery Centers. We can help you or a loved one recover from addiction today.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) describes MAT as using “medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies.” It helps treat SUD and provides a whole-person approach to treatment and recovery. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of medications to treat SUDs, such as alcoholism and opioid addiction.
MAT is commonly used during the detox process. Detox is when the body becomes cleansed from addictive and toxic chemicals. That includes alcohol and drugs. Going through detox and weaning off these substances is critical to the treatment journey. It helps reduce cravings and prepare you for treatment.
The key to MAT is not to forget behavioral therapies. Therapy helps people learn healthy coping skills, improve communication, and achieve recovery goals. But where do medications come into play? Well, often, they are used to help manage physical symptoms experienced at the start of treatment.
Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms During Addiction Recovery
MAT is frequently used during detox because individuals typically experience withdrawal symptoms during the process. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the type of substance or substances, frequency of substance use, length of time using that substance, and co-occurring disorders. Some of the potential symptoms people may experience include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Aches and pains
- Intense cravings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense mood swings
You may experience one or many of these symptoms. But the real question you may have is how MAT can help reduce these withdrawal symptoms.
How Does MAT Help With Withdrawal Symptoms?
Some of the medications and behavioral therapies used during MAT can help treat a number of these symptoms. For example, some medications can block the effects of opioids, while anti-anxiety or anti-depression meds help with other symptoms. SAMHSA indicates that the combination of medication and therapy can help sustain recovery. Additionally, they claim MAT can:
- Improve client survival
- Increase treatment retention
- Decrease illicit opiate use and criminal activity associated with substance use
- Increase the chances of gaining and maintaining employment
- Reduce the risk of potential relapse
If untreated, withdrawal symptoms can cause several physical health problems, and while many try detoxing alone, this can be fatal. For that reason, detoxing in a facility is highly recommended. Clinical interventions, MAT, and around-the-clock care can help prevent adverse and fatal consequences.
But what about any potential cons of MAT?
Are There Drawbacks Associated With This Treatment?
Some of the potential cons to consider when looking into MAT include:
- The potential side effects of medications administered during treatment
- Risks of trading one dependency on a substance for another or type of medication
- MAT must be done with close medical supervision within a treatment facility
Once you have made your list of pros and cons and have determined whether MAT is a friend or foe, you can take the next step and seek treatment.
How to Know if Utilizing MAT for Withdrawal Symptoms Is Right for You
Upon entering a treatment facility, clients typically go through assessments and meet with clinicians to create an individualized treatment plan. This plan will be tailored to your needs and should address the substances you are using, frequency, severity, and other factors that may influence treatment.
Medication has been used to treat addiction for decades. And with modern-day research, clients can take comfort in knowing its effectiveness. Clients with concerns about using medication in their recovery journey should speak to a therapist or clinician immediately. They can help you better understand the benefits of using them to manage withdrawal symptoms and improve long-term recovery.
Once you have completed the detox process, we encourage you to consider our outpatient program at West Coast Recovery Centers. Upon discharge, we will work with you to create a treatment plan that leads toward the path to lasting, self-determined recovery. You can benefit from our different levels of care, which include a night and day IOP and a partial hospitalization program (PHP).
The road to recovery is possible. You just have to know where to start. Contact us to learn more about our programs, MAT, and withdrawal symptoms today.
Seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) has a lot of moving parts. Before you can actually seek treatment, you must recognize the signs and accept that you are struggling with addiction. Then, many must enter detox. Some may attempt to detox alone, but this can be extremely dangerous, as withdrawal symptoms can cause adverse effects and can even be fatal. Thankfully, clinical intervention and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help during detox by helping manage withdrawal symptoms. While people are sometimes weary of using medication during treatment, MAT can help improve long-term recovery and reduce risks of relapse. Call West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 to learn more or seek treatment today.