Get Support
 / What is MAT

What is MAT

What is MAT?

Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of FDA-approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a "whole-patient" approach to the treatment of substance use disorder. Research shows that a combination of medication and behavioral therapy can successfully treat these disorders, and for people struggling with addiction, MAT can help sustain recovery. MAT is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain medications, but can also be used for alcohol, smoking, and other substance use disorders.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is considered the “gold standard” for treating opioid use disorder. Research has shown that those in recovery from opioid use disorder with MAT cut their chances of dying in half compared to those who are not using MAT. Patients treated with MAT are more likely to stay in recovery long-term than patients treated without MAT or with counseling or therapy alone.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) works for most people with opioid use disorder who try it. You and your provider will determine what treatment plan will work best for you, including the type and dosage of medication, and frequency of appointments. 

How long you stay on medication-assisted treatment is dependent on your unique situation and history of drug use. While some of our patients can taper off their medication and maintain a stable long-term recovery, others find they need to stay on medication indefinitely. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that is treatable, but unfortunately, not curable. Just as many people with diabetes will need insulin for the rest of their lives, many people with substance use disorder will need medication for the rest of their lives as well.

No, it's not. A common concern and misconception associated with MAT is that it substitutes one drug for another. Instead, these medications relieve the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body. MAT programs provide a safe and controlled level of medication to overcome the use of an abused opioid. And research has shown that when provided at the proper dose, medications used in MAT have no adverse effects on a person’s intelligence, mental capability, physical functioning, or employability. Unlike people who are addicted to opioids or other substances, people who are dependent on buprenorphine lead normal lives; take care of their families, maintain friendships, excel at their jobs, go back to school, and pay their bills. 

Buprenorphine binds to and partially activates opioid receptors. This partial activation means it is less likely to cause dangerous side effects and/or the euphoria that are often caused by opioids that fully activate opioid receptors. This means that buprenorphine is safer and less likely to cause euphoria than opioids that fully activate the receptors. However, buprenorphine does activate these receptors enough to remove withdrawals and cravings, which helps people feel normal. Methadone binds to and fully activates opioid receptors. This full activation means it is more dangerous and more likely to cause euphoria than buprenorphine. However, there are many patients who are still good candidates for methadone, such as extremely heavy opioid users. It is important to also understand that buprenorphine is typically a prescribed medication that is picked up at a pharmacy whereas methadone must be dispensed from a clinic if it is used for the treatment of opioid use disorder.  

Get Started

You're just one step away from starting or restarting your recovery journey with Ideal Option. We've helped thousands of people get their lives back. Let's make yours one of them. 

Request a call