Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction? Simply put, it can be a bridge between active addiction and recovery with complete abstinence, offering an additional line of defense during early recovery when the patient is most vulnerable to relapse. Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions about MAT and how it is appropriately used. First, many people wrongly believe that using the most commonly used MAT medication, Suboxone, is itself a cure for opioid addiction, removing the need for additional therapy. Another false belief is that using a medication like Suboxone is simply switching from one addictive opiate to another. Both of these statements are inaccurate and untrue; MAT has been proven in multiple studies to be a tremendous adjunct to therapy such as Intensive Outpatient Treatment, improving treatment retention and overall success rates.
How does this work? Well, early in recovery, the recently abstinent opiate addict may enter into an Intensive Outpatient Program and fully intend to remain abstinent but is nonetheless at very high risk for relapse. This is because the areas of the brain responsible for addictive behavior are still very active; they require up to several months to normalize, and during this period they are frequently able to “highjack” the client back into active addiction. One way to remove these cravings and increase the client’s chances of completing Intensive Outpatient Treatment is to begin treating that person temporarily with Suboxone, at a dosage just high enough to remove cravings, soon after beginning their Intensive Outpatient Program. This then allows the client to become stable on the medication while receiving invaluable clinical support and allows them to more fully engage in the critical Intensive Outpatient Treatment experience, which is what really facilitates addiction recovery. This, then, is the true goal of MAT; to increase the likelihood of the client completing a treatment experience such as an Intensive Outpatient Program, which is where the client really learns the tools they need to successfully recover from opioid addiction.
Following Intensive Outpatient Treatment, which typically lasts about two months, the client may transition into Individual therapy and/or an Aftercare Program, while they then work for an additional 6-12 months to truly build a strong recovery program. This is done while the patient is fully engaged in their normal lives, at work or school, and stable on their MAT medication support. Then, under medical and clinical supervision, the client can be slowly weaned off of the MAT support and is at this point more likely to successfully remain in recovery. At Resurgence Tampa Bay, we believe this is a very effective way to defeat opioid addiction. Call us today, so we can help restore the real you!
Forrest Arthur, MD received his Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University, followed by his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Following this, he completed his training in General and Trauma Surgery at Wayne State University. Dr. Arthur then spent the next 15 years practicing general, vascular and trauma surgery in St. Petersburg, where he had a successful practice and functioned as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at a major metropolitan hospital. Having experienced opioid addiction himself and learning first-hand what successful recovery involves, Dr. Arthur changed careers in order to help others deal with this deadly affliction. He has spent the last 10 years working in this field, working to obtain his credentials as a Certified Addiction Professional along the way, as well as completing fellowship training in Addiction Medicine. During this period, he specialized in working with other addicted professionals, and used his experience and empathy to help this population.
Resurgence Tampa Bay is a substance abuse mental health clinic with extensive experience in treating addictions and co-occurring diseases. Resurgence Tampa Bay offers individual therapy, outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient therapy, intervention and prevention services.
The opinions and statements in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of RTB. This blog is based on personal experience and reviews of information publicly available or identified in other database searches