Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Help With Cravings?

Tuesday, May 16, 2023 | By Andrew Bramlett

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Are you struggling with drug addiction and finding it hard to resist cravings? Addiction is a chronic disease, and overcoming it can be an uphill battle. However, there is hope in the form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

But how effective is Medication Assisted Treatment when it comes to managing cravings? In this week’s blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of MAT and whether or not it’s a viable solution for those fighting the cravings of addiction. 

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Exactly?

Medication-Assisted Treatment is a drug addiction treatment approach that combines medications with behavioral therapies and counseling. It is commonly used for individuals battling opioid and other drug addictions.

The medication aspect of MAT involves the use of FDA-approved prescription drugs such as Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid use disorder and other addictions, including alcohol. 

In the case of opiates, these drugs work by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids bind to, but they do not produce the same euphoric effects.

More Than Just Medication

Medication Assisted Treatment also involves behavioral therapy and counseling sessions conducted by trained professionals who help patients address underlying issues contributing to their addiction. The combination of medication and therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing relapse rates and improving overall outcomes for individuals seeking recovery from opioid and other addictions.

It’s important to note that while Medication Assisted Treatment may not be suitable for everyone struggling with substance abuse disorders, it can be an essential tool for those who need it. Ultimately, working closely with healthcare providers can determine whether MAT is right for an individual on a case-by-case basis.

How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?

Medication-Assisted Treatment works by combining the use of approved medications with behavioral therapies and counseling to treat addiction. The goal is to reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and improve the overall quality of life for individuals struggling with substance use disorders.

The medication used in MAT depends on the type of addiction being treated. For example, methadone or buprenorphine may be used for opioid addiction, while naltrexone may be prescribed for alcohol dependence.

These medications work by either blocking the effects of addictive substances or reducing withdrawal symptoms. By doing so, they help individuals focus on their recovery without being distracted by intense cravings or physical discomfort.

MAT is Only Part of a Recovery Plan

However, it’s important to note that medication alone is not enough to fully overcome addiction. Behavioral therapies and counseling are also necessary components of MAT because they address underlying emotional issues that often contribute to substance abuse.

Additionally, MAT should always be closely monitored by a healthcare provider to ensure proper dosing and minimize potential side effects. When used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, Medication-Assisted Treatment can significantly increase an individual’s chances of successful long-term recovery from addiction.

Pros And Cons of Medication-Assisted Treatment 

Like any other method, Medication-Assisted Treatment has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros Of MAT:

  • One of the primary benefits of MAT is that it can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making recovery more manageable for patients. 
  • Additionally, medications used in treatment can block the euphoric effects associated with substance abuse, which reduces the likelihood of relapse. 
  • MAT also provides greater flexibility to healthcare providers by offering multiple options to fit individual needs.

Potential Cons of MAT:

  • There are also some potential drawbacks to consider when exploring MAT as an option.
  • Some argue that MAT “replaces one addiction with another” but MAT is often used only for detox and is proven effective for longer use. 
  • Moreover, some side effects such as nausea or dizziness may occur during treatment.

While Medication-Assisted Treatment may not be perfect for everyone battling addiction, it does offer significant advantages over other methods and should always be considered as part of an integrated approach towards overcoming substance use disorder.

What Are The Alternatives to MAt?

For those who are seeking alternatives to medication-assisted treatment, there are a few options available. One of the most popular is behavioral therapy, which can help individuals learn coping mechanisms and develop new habits to overcome their addiction.

Another alternative is holistic treatments such as meditation, yoga or acupuncture which have been shown to reduce stress levels in patients and improve overall well-being. These methods focus on healing the body and mind through natural means rather than relying on medication.

Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide individuals with a community that understands what they’re going through and offers support beyond just medical treatment.

Family therapy sessions can also aid in recovery by improving communication within families. It helps address underlying issues that may contribute to drug use while providing guidance on how best to approach loved ones struggling with addiction.

Of course, many of the therapies mentioned above work alongside MAT as well. 

Although medication-assisted treatment has proven effective for many people battling addiction, it’s not the only option available. There are several alternatives out there depending on each person’s unique situation and needs.

Find Relief From Addiction With MAT

Medication-assisted treatment can be a helpful tool in managing cravings and overcoming addiction. It works by reducing the symptoms of withdrawal and making it easier for individuals to focus on their recovery journey without being constantly plagued by intense cravings.

However, like any form of treatment, medication-assisted treatment is not perfect. There are pros and cons to consider before making a decision regarding this type of therapy. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that addiction recovery is a unique process for each individual. What works for one person may not work for another. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to call today. With the right resources and support system in place, it’s possible to overcome even the most challenging obstacles and achieve long-lasting sobriety. Contact us at (877) 958-5354.

 

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